Sunday, 20 March 2011


Seaton and Axmouth are two very different communities on either side of the mouth of the River Axe. Seaton is a resort, complete with promenade and an assortment of restaurants, takeaways and gift shops, while Axmouth is a charming little village with whitewash cottages and a couple of cosy pubs. Seaton is above all known for its tramway, which trundles along the lower Axe valley, taking tourists to the village of Colyton. This is one for the birdwatchers, because it offers great views of the birdlife along this stretch of the Axe, which includes redshanks, curlews and common sandpipers.

It is hard to believe today, but Axmouth was in Roman times one of the busiest ports in the country, in fact it was the southern terminus of the Fosse Way. Notable arrivals over the years have included the Phoenicians and the Danes, who came with aggressive intent but were defeated by King Athelstan in a battle in nearby Axminster. In the ensuing centuries the port took on a vital role in the export of wool and iron from the region. However, its decline came about as a result of a buildup of rubble resulting from landslips. Landslips are a feature of this part of the south coast, and in 1840 the delightfully named “The Penny Magazine Of The Society For The Diffusion Of Useful Knowledge” published a drawing and detailed description of a particularly notable landslip which had occurred near Axmouth, declaring that “the devastation and the ruin produced, and the disruption of the whole district extending nearly one mile and a half, are equal, with the space, to the effects of many volcanic eruptions of Southern Europe or of Mexico”*.

For events in the area see here.

Map of the area.

* Charles Knight, Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (Great Britain).

File:Axmouth Church and surrounding properties - - 530066.jpg
Axmouth. Photo by Dave Skinner, via Wikimedia Commons

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