Many thanks to your name here for facilitating this camera's location and to the Westcountry Rivers Trust for capitally funding its installation.
The River Axe is a 22-mile (35 km) long river that flows through the counties of Dorset, Somerset, and Devon. It originates in Dorset and runs south until it reaches Lyme Bay through the Axe Estuary in Devon. Although the river is shallow and not suitable for navigation, there is some boating activity at its mouth in Seaton. The name "Axe" comes from a Common Brittonic word meaning "abounding in fish" and is related to the Welsh word "pysg" (a variant of "pysgod"), which means fish.The River Axe has several sources located south of Chedington in Dorset, near the origin of the River Parrett, which flows north to the Bristol Channel. From there, the Axe flows west through Mosterton and Seaborough before turning south and forming the boundary between Dorset and Somerset. Along this section, it passes by the villages of Wayford and Winsham, as well as the former Forde Abbey. Approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Axminster in Devon, it merges with the Blackwater River before entering Devon. It is then joined by the River Kit, and after passing through Axminster, it meets the River Yarty and continues south, passing the villages of Whitford and Colyford where it joins the River Coly. At this point, the river widens to form the tidal Axe Estuary. The estuary flows past Axmouth village on its eastern bank, then passes through a high shingle bank to the east of the seaside town of Seaton, finally entering Lyme Bay on the English Channel.In 1999, a 13-kilometer (8.1 mi) section of the River Axe, from its confluence with the Blackwater River to Colyford Bridge, was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England, the conservation body in England. This section was recognized for supporting a remarkably diverse aquatic and marginal flora. The river's diversity is a result of its active geomorphology, which has created various natural features supporting unique ecologies. The limited presence of trees along the riverbank allows light to reach the water, and the stability of the riverbed in the lower reaches contributes to the ecosystem. The majority of the SSSI is located in Devon, with only a small portion extending into Dorset. The riverbed consists of alluvium with areas of valley gravel, clay, shale, and marl. The fish life in the river is of European interest, and other notable animals include salmon, bullheads, otters, medicinal leeches, and kingfishers. The river also sustains a diverse range of aquatic and marginal plant life. The meanders south of Axminster are particularly significant in terms of their geomorphology.While the Axe Estuary is now relatively shallow and impractical for navigation, it was historically important for shipping. Axmouth village, located about 1 mile (1.6 km) inland, was a major port by the mid-14th century and played a significant role in the country's shipping trade, accounting for 15% of it. During low tide, the remains of a late medieval fishing boat can still be seen in the river, southwest of Axmouth village. Over time, the estuary became shallower, and a shifting shingle bar formed at its mouth. In 1870, Axmouth Harbour was developed at the river mouth, although it is closer to the town of Seaton than to Axmouth village. The harbour and the entire estuary are within the parish of Axmouth.To the west of the estuary, there are a series of low-level nature reserves collectively known as Seaton Wetlands, including Seaton Marshes, Black Hole Marsh, Colyford Common, and Stafford Marsh. These reserves comprise freshwater grazing marshes, intertidal lagoons, scrapes, ditches, and bird hides, providing habitats for a diverse variety of birds and mammals such as otters. The embankment of the former Seaton branch railway, now carrying the Seaton Tramway, separates the reserves from the estuary. The tramway offers open-topped trams that provide excellent views of both the estuary and the reserves. To the east, the estuary is bordered by the steeply rising land of the hills behind the Jurassic Coast and the Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliff.The Axe Valley has yielded evidence of early human activity in the form of Lower Palaeolithic handaxes. The Broom gravel pits near Holditch produced over 1,800 of these handaxes during quarrying in the late 19th and early to mid-20th centuries. Recent archaeological investigations suggest that these artifacts are approximately 300,000 years old. Similar artifacts have been found in the gravel pits around Chard Junction.