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The Exe Estuary

Sketching across The Exe Estuary, this post has me sat in my car sketching out of the windscreen. Parked up at Exmouth‘s Imperial Road Car Park. Looking northwards over The Duckpond and the wide horizon of Cockle Sands to the red cliffs of Lympstone. Unfortunately, A new food defence wall has been built here, so you can no longer sit in your car looking out across the view.
I was back in the same spot several times throughout the year. I found it interesting to see how the same scene of the Exe Estuary changed, with different weather, tides and skies.

Featured sketch above:

Northwards up the Exe Estuary

February 15th – Watercolour & Pen ~ A5
This sketching spot was recommended by my friend Annie knowing that I was sitting in the car, sketching at lunchtimes, with the slumbering small boy in the back. It’s low tide, a quiet day and not many people out & about.

The Lunchtime Sketches

This is a series of sketches, when the only way to get my baby son to have an afternoon nap, was to put him in the car and drive. Nothing else worked very well. So I would give him his lunch, make some sandwiches for myself and drive off somewhere. For my own sanity, I drove to different places to sit in the car. Eating my lunch and sketching.

Materials Used

I have mostly used a A4 Winsor & Newton, field sketch pad. 6B pencil, a waterproof fineliner pen and my trusty Winsor & Newton, watercolour field paint box. Plus a couple of round brushes – sable no.6 & a no.1

Watercolour painting looking north up the Exe Estuary.

Exe Estuary 2

February 19th, Watercolour ~ A5
Sun and squalls. Both Oystercatchers and Fishermen were out and about looking for worms.

Watercolour sketch looking up the Silent Exe Estuary.

Silent Exe Estuary

March 14th, Watercolour ~ A5 Sold
Another cloudy/foggy day, it has been like it all week.
All is quiet and still today, the cloud hanging over the landscape, seeming to silence the world.

Watercolour sketch on the Exe Estuary, High tide, birds & rain.

High tide, birds & rain

March 25th, Watercolour ~ A5 Sold
Heavy rain on the Exe Estuary. High tide today and a lot more birds because of it, Gulls, Oystercatchers, Moorhens and Dunlin (presumably no dog walkers to disturb them). Hope spring starts soon, I’m getting fed up of these grey wet days.

Watercolour looking out across Exmouth Estuary Beach.

Across Cockle Sands

April 1st – Watercolour, A5
A better day today, weather-wise, could this be spring? Parked sketching out of the car looking north, across Cockle Sands. Low(ish) tide.

Watercolour sketch looking across Cockle Sands from Exmouth.

Cockle Sands

August 6th, Watercolour
The tide is flooding into the Exe Estuary. It’s an overcast day with lots of people about. I am struck by the ‘greenness’ of the estuary. I have since found out that there is extra weed growth in the estuary and surrounding beaches because of the nitrates being washed down the River Exe from farmland further upriver.

Watercolour sketch looking out across King's Lake, part of the Exe Estuary.

Kings Lake

August 26th, Watercolour ~ A5
It’s an overcast day, but at least it’s dry at the moment. The green on the estuary still looks a bit odd, but it’s not quite such a strong colour today and there is more water reflecting the sky. Kings Lake is part of the Cockle Sands expanse.

Watercolour painting looking out across the Exe Estuary with Drizzle blowing in.


September 14th, Watercolour ~ A5
Looking out on low cloud and a steady drizzle today (not quite as threatening as this sketch would suggest – I went a bit darker than intended). Lots of birds today on the estuary and a couple of kite surfers too – around the corner.

Watercolour Sketch of Grey Skies over the River Exe.

Grey Sky

November 12th, Watercolour ~ A5
A very grey day, with a strong westerly wind and showers. Lots of geese rooting in the mud in the middle distance. When the ‘little fella’ awoke, we spent a great afternoon ‘chasing the wind’ on Exmouth beach in the showers, all done up in our coats and hats. The fun had to end though when a larger wave flooded the little lad’s welly!

Watercolour sketch of the Exe Estuary


I have added this sketch as it is in a very similar spot and seems to wrap things up nicely.

Strolling along the Exe Estuary

September 6th, Watercolour ~ A5
The ‘little fella’ has now started school – for this week in the mornings only. He is very excited, so to calm him down, we are out walking along the Exe Estuary.
Parked up at Exmouth and set off along the cycle path, before heading along the shoreline.
The tide and sun are out, but there is a slight autumnal feel in the air. We stroll along looking at shells, seaweed, flotsam and jetsam etc. Sitting down to have a drink and a biscuit or two.

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