RSPB Winter Avocet Cruises, Exe Estuary (2019/2020)

Saturday 9 November to Sunday 9 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


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. Come and enjoy our popular RSPB birdwatching cruises along the stunning Exe Estuary in Devon.

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 unmistakeable 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.

Cruises are tide dependent, so the boat can't wait for late arrivals.  These cruises are renowned for the variety of birds you’ll get close-up views of - including the stylish avocets.

Our cruises last approx. 1.5 hours and 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.

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

Bookings taken via link further down.  


Important Information

  • Booking is essential via booking link at the bottom of this page. 
  • These cruises sell out quickly as there are only 40 spaces available per sailing.
  • 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 07511164793.
  • We suggest that you bring extra warm (windproof) clothing and waterproofs - the Exe Estuary can be a very cold place even when the sun is shining in winter!
  • When booking please provide a valid phone number and e-mail as your booking confirmation will be sent via e-mail. We need a valid phone number (landline and mobile) in case we need to get hold of you urgently to update you with changes/cancellation. 
  • Our data protection statement is at the bottom of this section and within the booking process.
  • There are no refreshments facilities on board. Our 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. 
  • 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 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 07511164793 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 


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 2019

  • Sat 9th  10.35
  • Sun 10th 11.15
  • Thurs 14th 13.45
  • Fri 15th 14.15
  • Sat 23rd 9.40
  • Wed 27th 13.15

 December 2019

  • Sun 8th 9.35
  • Wed 11th 12.05

 January 2020

  • Wed 8th 10.45
  • Thurs 9th 11.35
  • Fri 10th 12.25
  • Sat 11th 13.15
  • Sun 12th 14.05
  • Wed 22nd 10.55
  • Thurs 23rd 11.50
  • Fri 24th 12.45
  • Sat 25th 13.30
  • Sun 26th 14.10

 February 2020

  • Thurs 6th 10.05
  • Fri 7th 11.10
  • Sat 8th 12.10
  • Sun 9th 13.05




The Avocet Cruise Team

Exe Estuary Reserve Office

Station Road





*please note that if calling or emailing us about a booking, spaces for that date may run out before we are able to deal with your booking request, your space is only confirmed when you have received a booking confirmation email.



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

  • Saturday 9 November 2019
  • Sunday 10 November 2019
  • Thursday 14 November 2019
  • Friday 15 November 2019
  • Saturday 23 November 2019
  • Wednesday 27 November 2019
  • Sunday 8 December 2019
  • Wednesday 11 December 2019
  • Wednesday 8 January 2020
  • Thursday 9 January 2020
  • Friday 10 January 2020
  • Saturday 11 January 2020
  • Sunday 12 January 2020
  • Wednesday 22 January 2020
  • Thursday 23 January 2020
  • Friday 24 July 2020
  • Saturday 25 January 2020
  • Sunday 26 January 2020
  • Thursday 6 February 2020
  • Friday 7 February 2020
  • Saturday 8 February 2020
  • Sunday 9 February 2020

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 50.682151, -3.465879 (Google Maps)
  • Postcode: EX3 0JJ
  • County: Devon