The Turf

Outside the pub

boat outside the pub

Outside the pub in shunshine

tables outside the pub

Outside the pub at sunset

Sail Boat

Now winding down to our end of season hours
we will be opening lunchtimes only from the 20th of September.

Our bonfire night this year will be held on the first of November from when we will be open weekends only.

The pub will be closed from the 1st of December until mid February.

History and Background

The Exeter Ship Canal was the first canal to be built in Britain since Roman times, the first section dating back to 1566. It enabled vessels to navigate to the wharfs at Exeter Quay for the River Exe was obstructed by shoals and fishing weirs, purposely enlarged by the Countess of Devon, Isabella De Fortibus, so trade would be diverted to the Port of Topsham from which she derived an income!

Over the years the canal was extended and enlarged until in 1824 it was recommended that it should be extended a further 2 miles down the Estuary to Turf. In 1827 the extension was opened along with The Turf Hotel providing accommodation for the Lock Keeper, and the crews of the many sailing vessels that were to enter the Canal.

The canal remains very much the same today as it was then except that the towpaths are no longer used by horses to tow craft the 5 miles from Turf to Exeter.

Coasters continued to use the Canal until the late 1960s with the last commercial vessel finishing in 1998.

During the 70s Exeter City Council closed The Turf, and it was feared that it would be demolished. Thankfully, The Exeter Maritime Museum obtained a listed building order and set about restoring this unique building.

The present owners, Clive and Ginny Redfern, have been at Turf since 1990 and have continued to renovate and improve this fascinating and historical slate hung, timber framed building being careful to retain its many interesting features and ensuring it is still a proper pub.

Situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty and protected by The Exe Estuary and surrounding wetlands being deemed by English Nature a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Protected Area (SPA), Turf is one of the few pubs in the country that cannot be accessed by car. Walking, cycling and by boat are the means employed. There are also 2 ferries from Topsham and one that operates along the Canal from Double Locks. For places to park and directions see map.

The pub enjoys a huge beer garden bordered by the Exe Estuary on one side and Turf Locks on the other. 2 large outdoor BBQ's which can be hired.

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Opening Times


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Bed and Breakfast

Available until the end of September


£5 per night,
£2.50 for children

Breakfast of bacon & egg toastie tea / coffee £5