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Welcome to Otterton

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Welcome to Otterton - a village with a strong community spirit and a fascinating History.

Well known for its beautifully thatched roofs and quaint cob and brick cottages, Otterton is sheltered by the idyllic Otter valley. It boasts one of the oldest working Water Mills in the country  and a mostly Victorian built church with a distinctive tower. The tower at the East end of the present nave is believed to be a remnant of the monks’ priory that was pulled down during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Although Otterton has been inhabited since the Stone Age, its name came from the Saxons who arrived circa 700AD. “Oetre” meant water and “ton” meant farmstead or settlement, so those eminently practical people ran the two words together to make Otterton. Over the next 300 years they made Otterton one of the most successful rural communities in the South West of England. However as the river filled with silt, the port of Otterton began to rely more on Agriculture. It was even mentioned in the famous Doomsday Book of 1084AD.

The River Otter also provided valuable salt marshes and Limestone was burnt in the Lime Kilns at Ladram Bay to make mortar for building. Nowadays, the shingle beach at Ladram Bay is used by locals and tourists for leisure purposes as it is a holiday resort, but the red sandstone stacks in the bay have seen many changes over the years. Smugglers were active in the 18th Century. In order to avoid the Excise Men, they sailed to France, bringing back barrels of brandy and other contraband into the Bay. They became very clever at hiding it in caves and tunnels and on the roof of Salem Chapel at East Budleigh. Thankfully, nowadays drinks are not so hard to come by. The Kings Arms is well placed in the centre of the village and Otterton Mill is now a famous restaurant with Artisans’ workshops and an Art Gallery.

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