#RunningIsFunning : Exeter Quay in 10k

Emily Macaulay has been busy plotting another run route for us.  This time, it’s 10k round the Quay, I think I might have a go at this one!

This one offers a 10K, flat option that is completely car free – though it can get very busy on some of the paths with families, children learning to cycle, dog walkers, walkers, cyclists, scooters, skateboarders, other runners, swans…you get the idea.

Exeter Quay : 10K – flat (fast if you want it) traffic free

Down and around the Quay is a good running option in daylight or early evening. There’s very limited street lighting otherwise so the winter evenings are best avoided. If you live near the Quay perfect, if not there’s a car park each side of the river and bus stops and St Thomas railway station is a stone’s throw. Plus (and this can be a big bonus for some) there are public toilets on the Quay (just next to On The Waterfront) for any last minute needs.

Let’s start by heading past On The Waterfront and run with the river on our left, head over the small wooden bridge next to Samuel Johns smokehouse and then head along the footpath under the big blue (Cricklepit Bridge). Watch your footing here. I’ve never seen so many swans in one place as I have at Exeter Quay and they totally believe they have the right to be on the path (I’m not arguing with them).

As you continue along this path, for about three quarters of a mile, you can enjoy sights of the river and the fab graffiti work on the underside of the Exe Bridges. 

#RunningIsFunning : Exeter Quay in 10k

Usually you can run on at this point to a slipway on your right but at the moment the path is closed immediately after the second road bridge. Go up the steps as directed and turn left along the pavement of Bonhay Road, past Mill on the Exe and then hang a left over the bridge towards the large stone circle, straight round that, over another bridge and then left again, down the slope and onto the footpath along the river (still on your left) back in the direction from whence you came. 

Keep on running with the river to your left until you’ve passed under both the road bridges of Exe Bridges. Again there is currently a footpath closure here and usually you would continue the footpath hugging the river that does a kind of S shape around the Malthouse, just keep following it. At the moment you are forced up a ramp on your right and then follow the road past Malthouse, the taking the left hand road (Haven Banks) round to the Climbing Centre. Cut through the green space outside Bar Venezia and the new Boat Shed and turn right back onto the footpath, with the river on your left, and keep going past the outdoor climbing tower on your right.

Cross over the bridge to your left towards that HUGE red and white thing and turn right, continuing on the footpath, now with the canal on your right, and flood basin on your left.

The great thing about this route is the long uninterrupted stretches so just continuing running following the main path. Keep to the right to avoid the cyclists on their part of the path. As the main path bends round to the right follow it and briefly enter the gravel car park. You’re turning left here and heading towards Double Locks. The nice tarmac path is explicitly a cycle path. Personal request – plllleeeease don’t run on the cycle path. Particularly if you have headphones in. There is a perfectly adequate pavement alongside the road (track).

So you are running along now with the canal on your right and going all the way to the swing bridge at the end, passing Double Locks as you go. Do keep your eyes open along this stretch (who runs with their eyes closed?! But you know what I mean). In my times running here I’ve seen (more) swans, moorhens, coots, herons, and a real highlight of an American black stoat, that sat and watched me.

At the swing bridge the route is no more complicated. Run up onto the bridge, turn right, cross the canal (not the road) and turn right again to drop down onto the footpath. This is a one person wide job and at certain times of year can feel a little like jungle exploration but unless you are crippled by hay fever it is all good fun. And you’re following this path all the way back past Double Locks and to the end of the path where you reach the bridge that everyone hates driving over. Turn right to cross the bridge and immediately left through the car park, you’re staying on the gravelly path that hugs the canal (now on your left). 

#RunningIsFunning : Exeter Quay in 10kYou’ve got the idea now, just keep going on this path. As you get near to the end there’s a new tarmac path on your right leading straight onto a bridge.

#RunningIsFunning : Exeter Quay in 10k

Cross the bridge, follow the path to the right and then cross the second bridge. Follow the path round and at the dog bin (for their poo, not the dogs themselves). Turn left….you’re on the home straight now! This stretch with overhanging trees is a prime spot for bats in the dusk – enjoy.

The path goes over a small bridge at the Weir, past the Port Royal and through an open gate at the bottom of Colleton Hill. This is your cue to kick into a sprint finish. Whatever speed you’ve been doing you can always find a bit extra, it’ll all be over soon. Keep heading forward – I’d choose the path rather than the cobbles but each to their own – and dip for the finish line by the toilets again. 

Bit of a disclaimer at this point. A 10k is 6.2miles. This route usually registers at around 6miles. So just run round in circles a bit at the end. It’ll only be non-runners that wonder what on Earth you’re doing. And you’re done. Stretch a bit or it’ll hurt the next day. And rest. Relax. And enjoy that grin. You’re proving #RunningIsFunning.

Note: 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.


Read more of Emily’s runs here

Running is funning instalment 1


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.

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