RSPB Avocet cruises on the Exe Estuary (2018/2019 season)

Thursday 8 November to Tuesday 5 February

Selected dates and times only. Full details below.

Price: Adult RSPB member £15.50, Adult non-member £18.50, Child member £8.50, Child non-member £10.50

Booking essential

Come and enjoy our popular RSPB birdwatching cruises along the stunning Exe Estuary in Devon. Cruises are tide dependent so the boat can't wait for late arrivals. Both our standard and Dawn cruises (see link below for Dawn cruises) last approx 1.5 hours with the Dawn cruises then finishing with breakfast at Passage House Inn, Topsham. These cruises are renowned for the variety of birds you’ll get close-up  views  of - including the stylish avocets.

Throughout the cruise, expert commentary is provided by knowledgeable RSPB volunteers who will keep a close eye out and help you spot the various species of waders and wildfowl that either flock to the Exe to overwinter, or call the Exe their home.

The avocets have never failed to put on a show since our Avocet Cruises started in the late 1980s. They normally congregate between the Turf Inn and Topsham. Because the estuary narrows here, you can get incredibly close to these wonderful two-tone birds, which are the unmistakable emblem of the RSPB.

Black-tailed godwits are another spectacle on the Exe - these elegant visitors from Iceland are usually seen in a flock. There's just something about these birds that brightens up a day.

The Exe Estuary is a special place and is internationally protected for wildlife, including the thousands of birds that flock here in the autumn and winter. The RSPB is working with partners to protect the Exe for wildlife and the local community.

Booking essential. Click here to book on Eventbrite's booking system.

These cruises sell out quickly as there are only 40 spaces available per sailing.

Cruise dates and departure times from Trout's Boatyard, Topsham

Note: Prompt departure due to tide constraints - this means ALL sailings must depart on time.

November 2018   December 2018 
Thursday 8, 1pm                Monday 3,9am
Friday 9,1.30pm         Tuesday 4,10am
Thursday 22,  11.45am  Thursday 6, 11.45am
Friday 23,12.30pm Friday 7,12.30pm
Saturday 24,1.15pm Saturday 8,1.15pm
January 2019  February 2019 
Friday 18, 9.45am Friday 1,10am
Saturday 19,10.45am Saturday 2,11am
Sunday 20,11.45am Sunday 3,12 noon
Monday 21,12.45pm Monday 4,12.45pm
Tuesday 22,1.30pm Tuesday 5.1.15pm

Thursday 31, 


 Cost for Standard Cruises: 

•    Adult RSPB member - £15.50
•    Adult non-member - £18.50
•    Child member - £8.50
•    Child non-member - £10.50

Take this link for full details about our Dawn cruises on the Eventbrite booking system. 

The money from these cruises is directly helping to save nature on the Exe and in the South West. Thank you for helping to give nature a home. 

Additional information:

•     All tickets are non-refundable unless the cruise has been cancelled due to extreme weather (sometimes cancelling on the day of departure). All bookings are accepted on this basis. In the event of such a cancellation, a full refund of the ticket price will be made, or the booking transferred to an alternative sailing by mutual agreement. Although every effort will be made to sail, the final decision will remain with the skipper of the boat. A recorded message detailing latest sailing and weather information will be available prior to every cruise on 01392 453770.

•    We suggest that you bring extra warm clothing (windproof) and waterproofs - the Exe Estuary can be a very cold place in winter!

•    There are no refreshments facilities on board. Our mini cruises utilise the Topsham to Turf ferry with a maximum of 40 seated people. The seats are around the perimeter of the boat and some people like to sit in the middle, on the ‘lockers’. On this boat, as there is very little room for movement, there are no facilities for refreshments due to health and safety concerns.

•    There is no toilet for public use on board. There are public toilets on The Quay (There is a toilet for the skipper’s use but it doesn't meet health and safety requirements for the general public.).

•    Dogs are not permitted on board, apart from Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs.

•    Disabled access. Access from the jetty to/from the boat can present difficulties. Our boat owner/skipper welcomes passengers with restricted mobility but the safety of all our passengers is of paramount importance. Therefore, a degree of mobility (assisted if necessary) is required when boarding or moving around the boat. Wheelchair users must be accompanied by someone who can assist them in the event of an emergency. Please contact us on 01392 432691 before booking if anyone within your party has a condition that could make boarding or moving around the boat difficult. We can then seek specific advice from the skipper.

•    These cruises are not suitable for children under 8. All children (8 and over) must be accompanied by a responsible adult

•    Parking: There is extremely limited street parking in Topsham. There are pay and display car parks but as Topsham is a quaint village and popular destination these often fill up very quickly. It can then take considerable time to find suitable parking. Please allow time for all eventualities so that your walk from your car to Trout's Boatyard has you there at least 15 minutes before the boat sails. The skipper cannot delay the sailing for even five minutes as this would increase his risk of getting stuck in the mud at some point.

 For group bookings (parties with 8 or more people) or any other enquiries, please contact us on 01392 432691 Monday - Friday, 9am- 3pm. (A/phone after 3pm)


Trout's Boatyard is at Topsham and is situated between Topsham's Lighter Inn on The Quay and St Margaret's Church steps. Full directions are provided in your confirmation e-mail when you book via Eventbrite. (Booking link above.)

Full list of dates

  • Thursday 8 November 2018
  • Friday 9 November 2018
  • Thursday 22 November 2018
  • Friday 23 November 2018
  • Saturday 24 November 2018
  • Monday 3 December 2018
  • Tuesday 4 December 2018
  • Thursday 6 December 2018
  • Friday 7 December 2018
  • Saturday 8 December 2018
  • Friday 18 January 2019
  • Saturday 19 January 2019
  • Sunday 20 January 2019
  • Monday 21 January 2019
  • Tuesday 22 January 2019
  • Thursday 31 January 2019
  • Friday 1 February 2019
  • Saturday 2 February 2019
  • Sunday 3 February 2019
  • Monday 4 February 2019
  • Tuesday 5 February 2019

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 50.681769, -3.465374 (Google Maps)
  • Postcode: EX3 0JJ
  • County: Devon

Contact us