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Dawlish Town in Devon

Photograph of Dawlish


Dawlish is a town in South Devon. It lies about 12 miles southwest of the city of Exeter and currently has a population of about 13,000.

Dawlish stands at the mouth of a small river, known as Dawlish Water or 'The Brook'. It lies between Permian red sandstone cliffs, and is fronted by a sandy beach with the South Devon Railway sea wall and the Riviera Line railway above.

Behind this is a central public park, The Lawn, through which Dawlish Water flows.

The first settlers of the area were probably fishermen and salt makers who ventured down to the coast to net fish and gather salt. Salt was abundant in rock pools and salterns were constructed to dry brine and produce salt. The high-quality salt was stored in sheds or saltcellars. It is thought that the name 'Dawlish' has its origins in celtic times, the Brythonic name, 'Deawlisc' means 'Devil Water' - alluding to the blood red colouration of the brook after heavy rains.

During Roman times and the coming of the Anglo-Saxons, salt making seems to have been transferred to nearby Teignmouth with settlers moving up the valley to concentrate on agriculture. Evidence of these early farming settlements can be found at Aller Farm, Smallacombe, Lidwell and Higher and Lower Southwood.

The town particularly around the seafront, has much in common with the resort towns in South Devon, a classic of Regency and early Victorian style. Also worth noting are Manor House and Brook House (both about 1800) and some of the cottages in Old Town Street surviving from the old village. During the 18th century, it grew from a small fishing port to become a well-known seaside resort, its history can be discovered at the Dawlish Museum.

In 1830, Isambard Kingdom Brunel designed his atmospheric railway. It opened on 30 May 1846 and ran between Exeter St. Davids and Newton Abbot. There were pumping stations at Exeter St. Davids, Countess Weir, The Turf, Starcross, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Bishopsteignton and Newton Abbot. The first passenger train ran in September 1847. However the project was besieged with problems and was abandoned in September 1848 in favour of conventional trains.

Charles Dickens is also thought to have visited here and used Dawlish as the birthplace of Nicholas Nickleby.

Tourist Information

The nearest source of local information is available from Dawlish Tourist Information Centre.

Events near Dawlish

Wed, 7 - Sat, 10 Nov (ca. 12 km)

A Midsummer Night's Dream

arrow All Devon events

Dining out near Dawlish


The New Colosseum, Teignmouth


Prezzo, Exmouth, Exmouth


The Elizabethan, Luton, Newton Abbot


Orestone Manor, Torquay


The Cary Arms, Torquay


Gemelli, Torquay


Steps Bistro, Torquay

Local Accommodation


Cottage Holidays

There is a great choice of cottages for rent in the local area. Take a look at the beautiful cottages in Teignmouth, Exmouth, Dawlish and Kingsteignton.

Holiday Parks

Holiday Parks

Stay at a nearby Holiday Park and keep the kids amused all day! Parks in the vicinity include those at:




arrowBudleigh Salterton



Plenty of hotels are available locally. Consider those in the local towns:






Caravan Holidays

In the vicinity is a choice of camping and caravan sites offering high quality, affordable holiday accommodation. Consider camps in Newton Abbot, Paignton, Brixham and Moretonhampstead.

Nearby Attractions


There's plenty more to explore in this area, too! Find more attractions and things to do nearby:


	arrowCarlton Theatre


	arrowOld Walls Vineyard


	arrowExmouth Pavilion

	arrowSavoy Cinema

	arrowA la Ronde

	arrowWorld of Country Life

Newton Abbot

	arrowTuckers Maltings

	arrowAlexandra Cinema

	arrowBradley Manor

	arrowOrchid Paradise

	arrowHeathercombe Gardens




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