A Brief History of Dawlish

Dawlish is a seaside town on the South Devon Coast, with the first inhabitants being fisherman and salt makers in the 18th century. Famous for the long stretch of railway line along the sea wall which was built in 1846 transforming the town and allowing more visitors to enjoy the town as a summer holiday.

Schools & Education

Dawlish has 2 primary schools as well as 2 further schools in nearby villages Cockwood and Starcross. There is one secondary school with a capacity for up to 900 children.

Travel & Transport


  • Accessed from the A379 from Exeter and the M5


  • Dawlish Rail Line in on the Exeter to Plymouth line with links to Cornwall and London


  • Local bus routes from Exeter to Newton Abbot & Torquay run regular from town

Lifestyle & Entertainment

Dawlish is a great family holiday destination and is busy during the summer months, with sandy beaches, amusements and local boat trips around the bay to keep the children entertained. The town is centred around The Lawn and Brook, which is home to the black swans who have been residents in Dawlish since the early 1900s. Dawlish Warren Beach and the Nature Reserve are just under 2 miles away and can be accessed by road, cycling along the coast path or walking along the seawall.

Dawlish town centre has a good selection of shops, pubs and cafes and The Shaftesbury Theatre in Brunswick Place runs shows and films throughout the year. The local leisure centre is a short walk from the town with a swimming pool, indoor sports facilites, outdoor tennis courts and football pitches.

There are plenty of stunning coast walks and footpaths from Dawlish to Teignmouth, Shaldon and Torbay one way and Dawlish Warren, Starcross and Exeter to the other. The Exe Estuary Trail is popular for cyclists which leads to the historic city of Exeter. 

The City of Exeter is a 20 minute train or 30 minute car journey away with a wide choice of restaurants and bars and high street shops. Alternatively, enjoy the fresh air and go for a long walk in Dartmoor National Park, which is just a 30 minute drive away.

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