Ottery St Mary
Hidden in the quiet depths of the Otter Valley is Ottery St Mary, a tiny town in the heart of East Devon. Although it’s only a very small town with a population of just over 6,000 there’s a lot on offer.
Its principal claims to fame are the 14th century parish church, the unique Georgian tumbling weir and that it was the birthplace of the poet and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Many years ago it was also a market town but because it’s a little off the beaten track the market fell out of favour.
Nowadays there’s a Farmers’ Market held on the first Friday of each month in the Hind Street car park. You can choose from an amazing range of local produce; meat, cheese, eggs, poultry, fish, cakes, fruit and veg. All grown and produced here in Devon. You can also buy locally produced meat at K&M the butchers in the square.
There are some excellent places to eat – don’t miss having a cream tea in Seasons traditional tearooms while you’re here - and an excellent variety of shops to browse if you feel like some retail therapy.
One of the oldest businesses in Ottery is Coles. They have two shops, one selling fabrics and knitting wools, the other with a comprehensive range of ladies and gents clothing.
There’s a large car park in the Land of Canaan and from there you can walk along the mill leat to see the tumbling weir. The Tumbling Weir Hotel, just across the leat, does bed and breakfast.
In June of every year Ottery St Mary celebrates Pixie Day on the Saturday closest to the longest day. Children from the local Brownies and Cubs, dressed as pixies, capture the bell ringers of St Mary’s and drag them from the church to the square. Once they are in the square a re-enactment of the pixies' banishment takes place.
The evening climaxes in the Land of Canaan where a huge fireworks display takes place.
The people of Ottery are very fond of fireworks. There’s another display in the autumn after the annual illuminated carnival and a really huge firework display on Tar Barrel night, which is always 5th November.
The best way to enjoy the sights and sounds of Ottery is to take the town walk, leaflets are available from the Tourist Information Office in the square. As you walk around you will find boards with more information about the town.
We look forward to seeing you very soon in Ottery St Mary.