Jude was unwell again today, but Dillan very much liked the idea of a trip to the Exeter Ship Canal, so we quickly bundled the bikes into the car and drove to Starcross. Conditions on the coast were a bit chilly at 6°C but there were occasional breaks in the cloud that let through some glimpses of sunlight.
The ride up the cycle path from Powderham was a little trickier than usual as there seemed to be a lot of cyclists out for a spin today, but the views across the mudflats of the Exe Estuary were spectacular as always. There were far too many people out walking to risk riding on the towpath from Turf Lock, so we stayed down on the cycle path, missing out on the canal views as a result. We joined the canal for the section to the bridges, however, and continued on to the Quayside shops.
For coffee we called in to the Welcome Café, originally started up by Roger Olver who used to run the Primrose Café at Lustleigh. Roger retired a couple of years ago but both rooms in the café were packed with cyclists and walkers. As we sampled the generous portions of apricot flapjack and top-notch coffees, we could well understand why!
We pressed on past the Quayside shops, detoured around the path repairs at Pizza Hut and then carried out our traditional tour of the riverside park up to the railway bridge before returning to Pizza Hut for one of the best veggie pizzas we have ever tasted – and with a 41% discount as well using a code we happened to receive this morning.
Fed and watered we returned via the other side of the quay, where shops like the Craft Cellar and the Coffee Cellar vied for passing trade. A speedy ride back to Starcross brought us back to the car for 3.15 after a thoroughly enjoyable day.
View to the Exe Estuary from the cycle path near Turf Lock
The Exe Estuary
Dillan at Turf Lock, where the Exeter Ship Canal meets the Exe
Leaving the Welcome Cafe near Exeter Quayside
The riverside path by the Exe in Exeter
The River Exe
Leaving Pizza Hut in Exeter
Returning homewards via Exeter Quayside