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We are dedicated to Exeter’s canal.

Membership of the Friends is open to everyone

who values and loves this historic waterway,

whether as a user on the water, for recreation,

or simply strolling along its peaceful banks.

 News Stories

Find what you want..!

What is a Liveable Waterside development if it doesn’t contribute to the life of the waterway?

Changes to plans for the Water Lane housing development at Gabriel’s Wharf on the Exeter Ship Canal mean representations have been listened to – but not enough. To make progress, the Friends propose ongoing consultations on the waterway to be made a condition of outline planning approval. 

Exeter Wouldn't be Exeter Without the Ship Canal

The Canal should have a profile in shaping the Exeter of the future, the Friends of Exeter Ship Canal have said in their response to the draft of the City Council's 20-year plan. Click here to read the response.

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Water Lane – New Approach Needed for the Canal

The Friends welcome the development of Water Lane, but point out that the water of the Canal and Basin is not separable in terms of use from the land that borders it.

What happens on this land indelibly affects the waterway’s ability to function. For there to be a true waterside community at Water Lane there must be a true living waterway. The Friends believe the new community can be integrated beneficially with the working waterway if

the overwhelming case for a strategic approach to the

Canal is also accepted by the City Council. Read more…..

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Water Lane: Not the Way

The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal have objected strongly to the outline application to the City Council for redeveloping the Water Lane area. It will mean the closure of Gabriel's Wharf – a vital component of the Canal – and the end of maritime activity at what is now Exeter's only remaining shipyard. 

 

We have also strongly objected to the way the developers presented the application so as to bring about the closures and change of use without alternative approaches being discussed. Read the Friends’ case here …

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It’s here! The Route Map to the future of Exeter Ship Canal and Exeter’s Heritage Harbour

Inspired by the Friends of Exeter Ship Canal, commissioned by Exeter Canal and Quay Trust (ECQT), and written by Nicola Dyer of the independent consultants Greenwood Projects, the Exeter Ship Canal and Heritage Harbour Route Map has been published.  

Its aim is to establish common objectives and initiatives for the City Council, Harbour Board and ECQT for the canal and basin to bring 21st century working life to their maritime traditions and buildings, deliver for the city’s benefit, and contribute to a greener, healthier, more enjoyable life.

As with all maps, the Route Map is a direction of travel. Start now …

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Alarm bells ring for the Canal and Heritage Harbour

The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal have commissioned an independent report into plans to close Gabriel’s Wharf on the canal and build over part of the canal basin, and have sent it to the City Council. Read the disturbing contents here....

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The Friends Object to Planning Application

The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal object to the planning application for the Haven Banks/Water Lane comprehensive redevelopments. We believe that the proposed redevelopment stands in direct contrast to aspirations for the revival and long-term future of the canal, its basin, and the surrounding waterside area. Read more.....

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Water Lane: Not the Way

The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal have objected strongly to the outline application to the City Council for redeveloping the Water Lane area. It will mean the closure of Gabriel's Wharf – a vital component of the Canal – and the end of maritime activity at what is now Exeter's only remaining shipyard. 

 

We have also strongly objected to the way the developers presented the application so as to bring about the closures and change of use without alternative approaches being discussed. Read the Friends’ case here …

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Our Waterway City Ambition

Consultation on Exeter City Council’s draft 20-year plan closed on December 19th. Our response details how the Ship Canal, its Basin and their environs can help accomplish all of the plan’s key outcomes. The city’s waterways can play an essential role in the Exeter of the future, offering a living heritage which should be at the heart of planned, zero carbon growth, new directions for employment, and the overall quality of living, working and well-being in Exeter’s neighbourhoods

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New IWA report highlights the benefits of waterways 

A major new report on ‘Waterways for Today’ by the Inland Waterways Association brings together evidence why maintaining and regenerating waterways is so important for us all. Benefits range from the economy and environment to the value of waterways to communities and people’s well-being. The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal are corporate members of IWA. See what the report says here …

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Canal’s revival endangered by homes plan

The planning application for 434 new homes in Haven Banks could thwart the revival of Exeter Ship Canal. The plan would cause mayhem for canal users, visitors, businesses and residents. Here’s our response to the application....

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Urgent call to extend Water Lane consultation timetable

Water Lane’s development represents a unique opportunity to get it right for Exeter for generations to come. We believe several aspects urgently need more assessment and consultation time, including a feasibility study of the full potential of Gabriel’s Wharf as a maritime facility, re-evaluating the canal frontage at SecAnim, accommodating greater waterside access and reducing building heights. See our letter to the developers....

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Call for twice-hourly train service at Marsh Barton

The Friends are calling for a forward thinking timetable at the new Marsh Barton railway station. Due to open in winter 2022, it will be critical for the proposed Haven Banks and Water Lane housing developments, both of which are targeting sustainable transport over car ownership. It could also encourage more visitors to the canal. Read our lobbying letter here......

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Exeter Harbour – A new outlook for Exeter Canal Basin

A new plan and a fresh vision for the Exeter Canal Basin is published today, 10 January 2022. The aim is to bring back the interest and vibrancy of maritime activity to Exeter and give the Canal Basin economic and visitor focus as a busy harbourside for the city. The plan can be found here….

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Exeter Canal Transport Trust Red Wheel Unveiled by Lord Mayor of Exeter

Today [27 September 2021] marks the unveiling of the Red Wheel recently awarded by The Transport Trust to Exeter Ship Canal. The unveiling was conducted by The Right Worshipful the Lord Mayor of Exeter Councillor Trish Oliver, with Judy, Lady McAlpine (the NTT President) also in attendance. There was also a good gathering of Friends members to witness the event. Watch the full video here...

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New life for an important canalside site 

The SecAnim factory that processed animal waste alongside the canal has closed. The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal believe this important canalside site should incorporate waterway-related use in future. Read our background report on the site here...... and send us your ideas for the site's future......

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Making the Canal Matter Again to Exeter

The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal publish a new vision for the future of the canal [read more] as they achieve national 'Heritage Harbour' status for the historic waterway. Read more...

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This show is a one-off!

The First Cut or Isabella’s Revenge—the musical that tells the story of Exeter Ship Canal from the first shovel of earth to its last commercial use—is being revived for three nights at Powderham Castle in September. Book here.

THE FIRST CUT (POWDERHAM CASTLE) POSTER_

‘In the interests of Exeter, think again,’ the Canal Friends urge the City Council and Canal Trust  

The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal have called on the City Council and Exeter Canal and Quay Trust to rethink the office plan for Maclaines Warehouses and work together for the future of the waterway which is one of Exeter’s unique assets. Read more…

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EXETER CANAL AND QUAY TRUST SAYS ‘NO’ TO FRIENDS’ VISION FOR THE BASIN

The proposal by the Friends of Exeter Ship Canal to begin the revival of the Canal Basin with an exciting scheme for boatyard and community activities in the empty Maclaines Warehouse was rejected by Exeter Canal and Quay Trust in favour of turning the historic waterside building into offices. Read the reasons the Trust gave here........

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BRING BACK A MARITIME BUZZ TO THE CANAL BASIN 

The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal have an exciting plan to revive the life of the Canal Basin, starting with Maclaines Warehouses. It involves communities and maritime businesses, as well as the city council and Exeter Canal and Quay Trust getting their act together. Read more…

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FRIENDS OBJECT TO OFFICES PLAN AT THE CANAL BASIN

The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal have strongly objected to a planning application to turn empty Maclaines Warehouses on the Canal Basin into offices. They are the last unoccupied buildings on the Basin and should be returned to uses that will complement and revive the waterway, the Friends say. Read the letter to the planners here.

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A better future for Exeter Ship Canal?

Exeter City Council has commissioned consultants to advise on a masterplan for the future of Exeter Ship Canal. The Friends believe this is an opportunity to revive the canal by improving its use as a waterway. Here is what the Friends sent to the council and the consultants when they were appointed. Read more... 

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Canal Friends start on 
work boat refurbishment

Read about the project in our June newsletter

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SPOT THE PLOT - HIMALAYAN BALSAM

The Inland Waterways would like your help in spotting this invasive plant... Read more...

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Read 'The Guardian' article on the canal revolution

'How waterways reveal the truth about modern Britain': an article in 'The Guardian' on 26 July 2019 – read more...

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Exeter Ship Canal joins the Silver Propeller Challenge

Please read our press release

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News

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Enjoy and navigate the canal

The quay as depcted in _An Account of Ex
The canal history and heritage...

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Volunteering

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Useful links

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About us

The entrance to the Basin

The Ship Canal, 1855

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