Discover smugglers, mistresses & Nelson

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Exmouth is justifiably proud of its rich history. One of the best ways of finding out more about the town’s impressive past is by following the Blue Plaque trail.

These distinctive oval plaques can be found all around the town. They give a great insight into Exmouth as it once was.

If you follow the trail you’ll discover that sinister smugglers were often found sneaking their contraband down Watery Lane – trying to avoid the attentions of the authorities.

You’ll also learn about the underhand business dealings of Mary Ann Clarke, mistress to The Duke of York, who lived in Chester House (formerly Manchester House) on Imperial Road. Yes, he was that Grand Old Duke of York – from the nursery rhyme!

Trail followers will discover that Exmouth was also the home of Admiral Nelson’s estranged wife Lady Francis ‘Fanny’ Nelson, who lived on The Beacon.

Our highlights:

  • Children will love the tale of Nancy Perriman, who disguised herself as a boy to go to sea during the Napoleonic wars. This ‘Powder Monkey’ lived to the age of 98 at Pilot Lights in the town.
  • The Beach House, formerly The Barn Hotel, is well worth finding. With its distinctive ‘Butterfly’ shaped design, it is believed to be one of the world’s oldest ‘Arts and Crafts’ buildings.
  • Lower Halsdon Farm was donated to The National Trust by farmer Stanley Long, to ensure the land by the Exe Estuary stays protected from development. Why not pop into the farm for an excellent cream tea or get involved in one of their open days?

What the locals say…

“You’ll be amazed when you find the old wharf (Mona Island). It’s always puzzled me how far away it is from the sea.”

Photography credits: Digital Exmouth Group

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  • A free activity for all the family, groups and individuals.

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