Aerial photo of works on Mamhead slipway

EDDC paying for larger slipway which will return maritime leisure to Exmouth

Exmouth’s new £1.2 million Mamhead Slipway is nearing completion and contractors working on behalf of East Devon District Council are aiming to complete the complex engineering feat to re-establish maritime access in the late autumn.

The council is funding the restoration of the slipway on the River Exe which will be larger and more practical than the previous structure and will bring more maritime business to the town.

In a major technical undertaking, work started on the new slipway in late February this year. The old slipway – which was closed in 2012 due to public safety – was demolished and contractors Raymond Brown Ltd have been working against the clock to build the new one.

The Exe is home to thousands of migrating birds which arrive in the Autumn from the Arctic regions and because of the vital role that the estuary plays in the survival of these bird species, the council has needed a special licence to build the slipway. The licence allows work to be carried out in the estuary during the summer season only and the contractors are due to finish works in the Exe itself shortly.

Since early May, the contractors have built a sheet pile coffer dam in the estuary, installing a granular fill and have cast the slipway slabs. Huge piles – large interlocking metal sheets – have been installed. The longest piles used were 15.7m – the height of more than three London double decker buses! Piling is now complete, and the slabs for the lower half of the slipway have been cast. Divers have cut back the piles and the end of the slipway can now be seen.

Earlier in the construction process, the contractors worked on the former Mamhead Gardens area to develop the site for vehicles and trailers to be able to manoeuvre in preparation for reversing down the new slipway to launch or recover their craft.

The next phase of the works, before completion, will involve casting the remaining slabs, installing flood gates and reinstating the footway, street lighting and signing. When completed, the new slipway will be 38 metres long, and 12 metres wide.

Councillor Philip Skinner, Chairman of the Exmouth Regeneration Board, said that he was delighted that the slipway was nearly complete. He said:

Mamhead Slipway will be a larger, safer and more resilient facility for people to use for decades to come. This is a great investment for the town from the district council and will open up the area to water users from the area and further afield to use, which will be a huge boost to Exmouth’s economy.