River Axe (Lyme Bay)

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River Axe, Axminster, Devon

The River Axe is a river in Dorset, Somerset and Devon, in the south-west of England. It rises near Beaminster in Dorset, flows west then south by Axminster and joins the English Channel at Axmouth near Seaton in Lyme Bay. During its 22-mile (35 km) course it is fed by various streams and by the tributary rivers Yarty and Coly.

It is a shallow, non-navigable river, although its mouth at Axmouth has some boating activity.[1]

In 1999, a section of the river extending for 13 kilometres (8.1 mi)—from the confluence with the Blackwater River (ST325023) to Colyford Bridge (SY259927)—was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It was described as supporting "an exceptionally diverse aquatic and marginal flora".[2] The river's diversity comes from its active geomorphology, which has created a number of natural features that support niche ecologies; it also comes from there being a limited number of trees on the river bank, allowing in light; and also the riverbed stability in the lower reaches of the river.[2] A majority of the SSSI runs through Devon; only 150 metres runs through Dorset.[2] The underlying geology of the riverbed is alluvium with areas of valley gravel, clay, shale and marl. The fish life in the river is considered of European interest;[2] aquatic life more generally includes salmon, bullheads, otters, medicinal leeches and kingfishers; all are of particular value, as is the diverse aquatic and marginal plant life. The geomorphology of the meanders south of Axminster are the particular geological interest.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Parish Biodiversity Audit for Axmouth" (PDF). Devon County Council. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "River Axe SSSI citation" (PDF). 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°42′44″N 3°03′25″W / 50.71222°N 3.05703°W / 50.71222; -3.05703