A huge part of Topsham’s identity is the water. The town is bounded by two rivers: the Exe and the smaller Clyst. The Exe Estuary provides the perfect backdrop for our town and is a focal point for visitors, residents, and businesses alike.

It’s doubtful that anyone watching the legendary sunset over the estuary would not hanker for a day messing about on the river. The moored boats seen from the Topsham Quay and Trouts Marina are an indication of the town’s attraction to all types of water lovers.

Please be aware that the estuary is tidal, so remember to always check the tide times and take note of guidance for each activity to make sure you have the most enjoyable, and safest, experience possible.

Whether you’re a sailor, a paddlesports adventurer, a keen fisherman, or would rather take a serene boat trip down the river – there is something for everyone here.


Topsham’s history is steeped in boating, and boasts its own sailing club with a full sailing programme for members of all ability levels, whether you’re into racing or cruising. There is a very active social events calendar too with a relaxed informality that makes everyone from beginners to experienced sailors feel equally welcome. Contact the Topsham Sailing Club for more information.

For boatyard services and marine engineering on site, locally owned business Trouts Boatyard offer a comprehensive service with expert advice from their brilliant team.

Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddleboarding

There’s a growing community of paddlesports enthusiasts in Topsham. There are many places to launch a kayak or stand-up paddleboard (SUP), although experience and knowledge of the tides is a must and currents can be very strong.

If you are experienced, the town is a perfect starting point for some great kayak or SUP loops that take in the Exeter canal, the estuary and one or two fine refreshment stops.

At high tide, you can launch from any of the public slipways along Topsham’s waterfront as far as the rec, or from the pontoon at the quay. It can be difficult to launch at low water so have a look before you plan a trip. If you’ll be out for a while and on a circular route, you’ll need to ensure there’s enough water to dock back in Topsham.

Do not be tempted to walk your crafts through the mud – you may risk sinking in it. Always carry a whistle in case of emergency, and it is advisable to carry a handheld flare and wear a bouyancy aid.

Topsham Ferry and Turfs Lock Ferry

The Topsham Ferry has been taking passengers across the Exe just near the aptly named Passage Inn for literally centuries, and so it continues today (though not always every day or throughout the year). Passage across the Exe is dependent on the tides, of course: you can travel as a foot passenger, with your bicycle or pram, and dogs are very welcome.

The Topsham-to-Turf Ferry is a ferry service that runs usually from April through October, carrying passengers from Topsham (access via Trouts Boatyard) to Turf Locks, a wonderful pub that can only be reached by boat, bicycle or on foot (no direct car access). Here you’ll find the first ship canal dug in Britain, a way for the city of Exeter to bypass ships having to stop and unload at Topsham Quay.


If you prefer a swimming pool to the estuary, then Topsham pool will be perfect. Located next to Matthews Hall, the open air pool is a wonderful way to get some exercise or entertain the family.

For those looking for an early start and uninterupted lane swimming, then the Nutters Club kicks off before breakfast and will be a good place to start. Other swim sessions include fun in the water with the inflatables, and also adult swimming at different times of the day. For all the information you need visit Topsham pool’s website.

River Trips

Throughout the year  Topsham-to-Turf Ferry offers not only plies up and down to Turf Locks, it also offers RSPB bird watching cruises.

Stuart Line cruises offer Round robin cruises departing from Topsham and Exmouth, which involve a one hour cruise, exploring at your leisure and returning by train or coach.