Dawlish is a traditional seaside town, with a wonderful golden sand beach on its doorstep. The town offers a range of amusements and is centred around The Lawn and Brook, which is home to the famous black swans. Just a few miles down the road is Dawlish Warren, a beautiful nature reserve with a blue flag beach.

Things to do in Dawlish

Dawlish is a great family holiday destination, with a long sandy beach which is perfect for summer day swimming, exploring rock pools or sand castle building. Dawlish Town Beach is just a short walk from the town centre, full of golden sand perfect for families and days on the beach. Dawlish Warren Beach  and Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve is just under 2 miles away and has beautiful sand dunes and is a bird watchers paradise. 

The town has plenty of interesting shops and a brook that runs through the centre of a wide open green, The Lawn, which is great for games and picnics. The brook is home to a range of birds as well as the famous black swans which can be found swimming sedately along the river, the swans have been residents in Dawlish since at least the early 1900s. 

If you love to cycle – you will love the cycling routes in and around Dawlish. The Exe Estuary Trail offers off road cycling for 16 miles from Dawlish Warren to Exmouth, along some of the most stunning coastal scenery. 

There are also plenty of coastal walks from Dawlish along the South West Coast Path – you can either head left to Dawlish Warren and Exmouth, or right to Teignmouth and Torbay

The South Devon Railway Line runs through Dawlish, this is considered one of the most scenic railway lines in Britain, it runs along the coast from Exeter to Newton Abbot providing wonderful views along the Exe Estuary and out to sea. The line runs along the coast under the distinct red brown cliffs and through series of dramatic tunnels, literally a few metres from the shoreline. 

History of Dawlish

The first inhabitants of Dawlish were fisherman and salt makers. This industry continued through the Roman occupation, and the town also benefited from farming in the surrounding countryside. It was the railway that transformed the town, allowing many more visitors to enjoy its classic Regency and early Victorian styles.

Dawlish sits in the middle of South Devon Mainline, part of the Great Western Mainline, which was built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The line was first constructed as part of the Atmospheric Railway, a system of using atmospheric power to propel trains with the use of pumping stations, pipes and flaps, this system proved impractical and costly and was abandoned. Pumping stations and exhibits can be seen along the line and in local museums, but the railway, bridges and tunnels he built can still be seen along the route today. 

Something a little different

If you follow the South West Coast Path and the sea wall to the east of the town you will reach Dawlish WarrenDawlish Warren is a seaside resort situated around a split of sand, sand dunes and nature reserve. With amusements and facilities found nearby, as well as a range of accommodation providers, it offers a great day trip destination. 

Information courtesy of Visit South Devon retrieved 12th April 2022

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