Route Section Number 3:

Lyme Regis to Exeter

West of Lyme Regis, the SW660 offers a wonderful sequence of rolling high cliffs of various colours. They rise and fall between the river mouths at each of East Devon’s charming old seaside towns. 

The red sandstone cliffs and sea stacks around Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton mark the end of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site – but for savvy drivers, the route continues around the Exe Estuary to offer breath-taking landscapes.

Unlike the M5, don’t whizz past the Exe without appreciating this largely unsung tidal valley with world-class panoramic views. And if there’s time to take an urban break from the coastal roads, the thriving and historic cathedral city of Exeter makes a good stopover.

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Best Picnic Spot

The high heathland to the east of the Exe estuary is known as Woodbury Common. Park near the ancient hill fort known as Woodbury Castle to find good walking and bike trails. Best of all are the views down to the sea at Sidmouth and Exmouth, and particularly the sunsets across the estuary.

Did you know?

The chunk of East Devon between the Rivers Exe and Sid is sometimes called ‘Raleigh Country’. The swashbuckling Tudor seafarer, explorer, politician and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh was born in the heart of this rural area, in East Budleigh. Explore this pretty thatched village to find Raleigh relics in the church – and a good pub called, of course, The Sir Walter Raleigh

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Route Highlights

Axmouth, Seaton and Beer

Once an important international port, Axmouth is now a sleepy waterside village of stone cottages. Look for the photogenic spot where the River Axe curves through pebbles to the sea.

Sidmouth

Framed by high red sandstone cliffs, Sidmouth’s elegant Regency houses and hotels line a classic esplanade with a busy labyrinth of shopping streets behind. They lead northwards towards the picturesque Sid Valley.

Exmouth

The two miles of seafront from a glossy yacht marina at the mouth of the Exe to the weathered red cliffs at Orcombe headland make an interesting drive – or a bracing walk.

Topsham and the Exe Estuary

Villages lining the Exe Estuary offer pubs with watery views, boat trips and scenic walks. Explore and you’ll see why the estuary landscape is a little-known highlight of the west country.

Exeter

With its iconic Gothic Cathedral in a relaxed pedestrianised Close, vibrant river waterfront and a huge bustling shopping zone, Exeter is one of the west’s urban highlights.

Discover somewhere new

The small town of Budleigh Salterton is a rarity on the SW660 route.

It stands on the Jurassic Coast between popular holiday beaches at Ladram Bay and Sandy Bay and has its own two-mile pebble beach. Yet Budleigh has hardly any tourist development at all.

It’s worth visiting to see its highly protected, conservation status and the town’s downright dislike of commercialism. There’s no seafront hotel, no amusements or pubs by the beach. Instead, the tourist office stresses that Budleigh has a ‘courteous atmosphere’ that includes one of Europe’s largest croquet clubs, a gloriously quirky thatched museum and flower-bedecked stream running down the High Street.

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