Business as usual on the Quay as canons return

Businesses on Exeter’s historic Quay are reminding people that the area is still open for business despite ongoing building work being carried out.

Work on the multi-million pound Flood Defence Scheme has been going on at the Quay for some time now but for the shops, restaurants, bars and attractions down by the waterside it’s still business as usual.

Work isn’t due to be finished until next spring. When completed the defences will offer homes and businesses in the area protection against flooding from the River Exe.

The work is being carried out by the Environment Agency and is being supported by Exeter City Council and Devon County Council.

A set of cannons, originally built for the Russian Army to be used at Archangel but returned to Exeter without being fired – were returned to the Quay, outside the Custom House, on Monday 4 December. The two cannons have been missing from the Quay for some time, whilst their carriages have been rebuilt. Traders on the Quay are keen to make a noise about the restoration of the canons and encourage more people down to the waterside.

“There’s so much to see and do down here,” said Alan Williamson, of Exeter Canal and Quayside Trust, who have funded the restoration.

“Nothing has changed, it’s still business as usual. The area is being improved for years to come, businesses will be better protected in the event of a severe flood.”

Heather Baker of Saddles & Paddles, said she was pleased that the flood defences were progressing well. “My own shop has come very close to flooding several times so I’m grateful for the protection it will offer for the future.

“It’s also great to see the canons returning to the Custom House - they’re such an iconic feature of the Quay for visitors and locals. The winter is a lovely time here on the Quayside, with lots of great places to shop, eat and drink in the run up to Christmas and in the New Year.

“There’s been many exciting new shops opening in recent years - as well as gifts shops, restaurants and cafes, we have hairdressers, a chiropractors, craft workshops, a bakery and a cookery school!"

David Lockwood, of the Boat Shed, said: “When you think of Exeter’s beautiful quay, you think of glorious Summer evenings, beer by the river and protecting your ice cream from the seagulls. But, for me at least, it has as much to offer in Winter. You can avoid the crowds hustling in the city centre for a more peaceful lead up to Christmas - delving into the delightful independent shops, finding a bargain and before sipping on a gorgeous hot chocolate."