Countess Wear, for many years, was a small village, approximately two miles south of the City Centre of Exeter.
So why's it called Countess Wear?  That’s a bit of a story!
It goes back to the year 1272AD when the then Countess of Devon, Isabella de Fortibus, built a weir across the River Exe to harness the power of the water for her mills.  This caused a few problems for the local area, as it suddenly meant you couldn’t get ships into the Exeter, that had, up to that point, served as a thriving port.  There was originally a gap in the weir for shipping, but this was blocked by Isabella’s cousin and successor, Hugh Courtenay.  After a wrangling that lasted 250 years, a decree by King Edward VI it was mandated that the river should be re-opened.  Hence the name Countess Wear.
The village originally comprised a series of cottages around the mill, presumably for the workers involved in this thriving new industry.  Many of these still survive and, the mill buildings are still there and worthy of a short walk to take a look.  There are still many lime kilns dotted around the area too.
Now forming part of Exeter, Countess Wear is a leafy suburb, with housing to suit most budgets.  Due to its position within the City, it is seen as a particularly convenient location for both working in the City and for access to the Estuary and the nearby motorway network.
The housing to the North of Bridge Road consists of several historic cottages and grander houses, together with significant infill from the 1930s to the 1970s,  To the south of the suburb, there are two developments.
Firstly, the Lower Wear was built post-war to meet the increasing housing needs of the country after the war.  This housing estate consists of a range of conventionally built and pre-fab-type housing, providing spacious and affordable housing.  (If looking at properties on this development, do your research on the various pre-fab styles and check whether the necessary improvements have been made.)
Secondly, Countess Wear also incorporates the recently built development known as Newcourt, the Rydons and Seabrook Orchards.  These developments include a range of modern housing, including many ‘state of the art’ eco houses.  At the far end of this development, you will find one of Devon’s largest shops – Ikea.
The housing to the North of Bridge Road is seen as highly desirable.  With excellent links and plenty of green space around, this is considered to be one of Exeter’s most desirable suburbs and compared to neighbouring St Leonards and Topsham, is considered better value.
When it comes to leisure, few areas offer so much.  With the River and Riverside Country Park, King George V playing fields, the nature reserve off Topsham Road and Ludwell Valley Park, the area is a dog-walking haven.  These parks and reserves provide wonderful leisure space for those who enjoy the countryside.
There’s the river and Exeter Shipping Canal too.  You can walk along the toe path to Topsham, drop in for a pint at the Turf or the Double Locks, or pop your Kayak in for a quick paddle.  And being at the top of the Exe Estuary, access to the beaches at Dawlish, Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton is relatively straightforward.
For those who don’t mind having their walks disturbed, you can take a round of Golf or enjoy a meal at Exeter Golf and Country Club.


Why not explore some other areas that Exeter has to offer?