A long-awaited new bridge across the River Clyst at Topsham

A new traffic-free bridge alongside the busy and narrow road bridge in Topsham means more primary school children can walk, cycle or scoot to school
The challenge

The Exe Estuary Trail is a largely traffic-free path between Exmouth and Exeter which gives cyclists and walkers a peaceful alternative to the busy A road and a wonderful route alongside the Exe with its famous birdwatching site. However, there was one remaining unsafe section where walkers and cyclists faced heavy traffic on the narrow stone bridge over the River Clyst at Topsham.

The solution

I cycle lots more and it’s much easier. Before the bridge was built, we had to stop and get off our bikes to cross the road. I have more freedom now and can go at my own pace. It’s much better than sitting in the car.

- Louis Michaelson (aged 11)

Sustrans worked with Devon County Council to build a new foot and cycle bridge across the River Clyst giving walkers and cyclists a viable alternative to the unsafe road crossing. The bridge was carefully designed in wood to be in keeping with its setting alongside a heritage structure and the bird reserve. The bridge provides a vital link connecting the communities south and east of Topsham to the town and onwards to the city of Exeter.

The difference

As well as making the Exe Estuary Trail safer for leisure trips, the route now offers easier access for everyday journeys to workplaces, schools and local shopping at Dart’s Farm or in Topsham. People are using the route to cycle or walk to work and it has also given parents the confidence to let their children travel to school under their own steam. 43% of people using the route could have used a car for their journey, saving 14,500 car trips in 2012.

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