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It's paradise for birdwatchers and sailors

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 23, 2013

Topsham High Street has a great deal of charm, as do the boats and birds    on the River Exe

Topsham High Street has a great deal of charm, as do the boats and birds on the River Exe

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Is Topsham a suburb of Exeter or a village in its own right? The jury's out, but one thing is certain – it is a lovely place to live.

Crammed along the east side of the River Exe, Exeter's former port has a population of around 5,000. The town is prized for its architecture, scenery and nearby nature reserves for wading and migrating birds.

Topsham's distinctive Dutch-style houses date from the time when this was an important harbour for cotton and wool exports. These grand gabled houses were built by sea captains to European designs, using bricks brought over as ballast from Holland.

The town is bustling but peaceful today, but was the scene of a notable naval assault during the English Civil War. Major warships, such as HMS Terror and HMS Cyane, were built here in the early 19th century.

Topsham is a bird-watcher's paradise, within walking distance of an important RSPB nature reserve for over-wintering seabirds.

Many quirky and interesting people choose to live in Topsham, giving it a vibrant community, with its own community-funded outdoor swimming pool, monthly magazine, Slow Food market, cinema club and much more.

Dick Pym, the footballer, was born here in 1893. He was a goalkeeper in the first ever Wembley FA Cup Final in 1923. Both members of the folk group Show of Hands live in Topsham, as does Bill Pertwee, ARP Warden William Hodges of Dad's Army fame.

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