#RunningIsFunning : A series of run routes in Exeter by Emily Macaulay

I met Emily whilst volunteering for TEDXExeter in 2016 so I was thrilled when she asked if she could become an Exploring Exeter contributor. As a keen (but fair weather runner) myself, Emily’s running routes are very handy!  She will be sharing them as she finds them so keep your eyes peeled for her blogs. Here’s her first submission..


Exeter is a great city in which to be a runner. And by runner I don’t mean you’re training to be the next Paula Radcliffe or Usain Bolt. I mean you like to put on a pair of trainers, get out into the fresh air, and put one foot in front of the other (slightly faster than walking). 

It’s a great city for running because it has a bit of everything. You can go flat, you can push yourself on hills. Stick to road, hit the trails. In this series I’m hoping to give you some taster ideas of routes you may like to try in and around the city.


Salmonpool Lane and the Pitch and Putt : 4miles – flat, traffic free

The first run the series is a nice and mainly picturesque 4miles. It is flat so you can go at whatever pace works for you, though it is a bit narrow / winding in places to enable a really fast run.

Start at Exeter Quay under the open shed. Head away from the Quay past On The Waterfront with the river on your right. Continue along the main footpath passing the Port Royal and the Weir. As you continue you wiggle through a couple of fences designed to slow cyclists and then the path hits a T-junction. Turn left with Belle Vue park on your right and then cross over the residential road to keep following the footpath. 

As the path starts to narrow and the overgrowth by the river is apparent on your right it is worth keeping an eye out for otters. I’ve heard more than one rumour that they can be spotted in this area.

The footpath continues with a short very narrow stretch with high fences either side of you. Best to not have headphones in at this point as cyclists coming the other way will be on top of you before you know it. The path ends and you’re in a residential street, cross straight over and run round the edge of Salmonpool park. Don’t cross the river but take the path to the left of the river and follow it through a wooded a section before it ends in a new housing estate. Keep following the older grey footpath up towards Topsham Road, the school metal fencing on your left and the new housing in your right. 

As you hit Topsham Road this is the short bit of the route that is less attractive. It’s also downhill, so perhaps make it a fast bit too. Turn right on Topsham Road and then cross at the pedestrian crossing (you have to as the path runs out). At the Crematorium cross back over and run up the main entrance. After only 0.05miles, turn left on a footpath marked by the “green circle footpath” signpost.

Follow this footpath as it skirts the edge of the Pitch and Putt. Watch out for any wayward golf balls! I love the little stream on your right here. It beautifully edge the tranquillity of the crematorium. Keep following the path until you reach a fork and turn right, bending back on yourself.

You’re still following the “green circle footpath” at this point so keep an eye out for those signs. There’s a brief bit here that feels odd, almost as if you’re running through someone’s front drive, but stick with it and you’re then back on a clear footpath, now with the river on your right (the crematorium is the otherwise of the river). This is a really lovely stretch though can be a touch uneven under foot. As you come to the end of the covered path turn left and you’re back out in the open. Follow this path over the big bridge and beyond. You’re then on the home straight and heading towards the Quay in the distance.

This is a lovely stretch to run on. There’s lot going on so even if you’re tiring a bit keep your eyes peeled. Remember, head up and breath in through your nose, keep going!

As you reach the end of the path you cross the lock and turn right (keeping the river on your right) and run behind Haven Banks Activity Centre and the Boat Shed. This is the trickiest part of the route in so far as you can see the finish just the other side of the river. No sneaky jumping on the Butts Ferry though…over the big blue bridge, turn right and over the small bridge too. And you’re there, done. Don’t forget to stretch – you’ll be pleased you did the next day. And if you’re on Twitter let me know how it went. Use the hashtag #RunningIsFunning cos, you know, it is.

Disclaimer: There are a lot of flood defence works going on around the Quay at the moment so this route is accurate at the time of submission but may be subject to small diversions at a later date.


About the author: Emily Macaulay MBE

Emily moved to Exeter in 2004, after University, from the South East (she’s an Essex girl at heart – if not in shoes) and has settled ever since. 

Having worked in the criminal justice system for over ten years Emily then took her career in a different direction and works in the city centre for a charity providing a public service. She loves being part of a small city where she has access to a breadth of sporting and culture options, and still with easy access to the rest of the country too. Running, and sharing a love of running, is a passion for Emily and that which she will be sharing with readers here.

For more running posts see:

The Exploring Exeter running chronicles part 1

I am a rubbish runner but..

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