Tour Around to Otterton
Otterton is a small
village of about 600 souls tucked into the
folds of the hills to the east of the river
Crossing the nineteenth
century bridge over the river you discover
the charm of this delightful place.
Picture postcard pretty
Passing the water
mills, a vista opens to the village green
with its row of thatched cottages and the
distinctive church towering majestically
The village street with
a very varied selection of cottages and
farmhouses is just the sort of picture
postcard village holiday makers crave.
From ancient to
typical Otterton farmhouses
with their beautiful traditional
brick...all are here for the tourists to
twentieth century buildings, which
intersperse the more ancient ones seem to be
part of the natural evolution.
evolved over the past 1,300 years. The
Saxons first settled here and by the time
the Normans arrived Otterton was the largest
settlement in the South East of Devon.
over the estuary of the Otter
Yes - Budleigh
Salterton, Sidmouth, Exmouth and Topsham
were virtually non-existent! But Otterton
Mill was already in operation.
At that time
the river Otter had a large open estuary
with direct access to the sea and in fact
Otterton was a port.
Otterton was a port. Today of course all
this has changed dramatically. The river
silted up centuries ago and Otterton turned
landowners amalgamated it into their vast
estates in Devon. This estate-motivated life
continued into the twentieth century, but by
1970s the cottages were being sold off.
A prominent landmark when leaving the B3178
to enter the village is the "Bicton
Scriptural Direction Post" (or Brick Cross
for short), a pillar in the centre of the
crossroads, surmounted by a cross with
religious inscriptions. It was erected in
1580 by the Sheriff of Devon who had to
order the burning of a witch and stands
where three parishes met at that time.
In 1743 Lady Rolle added plaques naming the
places to where each road leads.
ones who live here
glorious South Devon coastline
High Peak looking towards Sidmouth
holiday homes and others came to retired
folks like myself.
are those still owned by the estate or the
council and these are occupied by the
Otterton is a thriving community and has an
excellent primary school (70 plus pupils). We
have a very popular youth club, snooker club,
football team and the garden club.
The pub is the
warm welcome at the local pub
We are twinned with
Vieux in Normandy and have developed close
strong links with our French counterpart. We
hold many events that take place on the
Green and the village hall is usually fully
The Kings Arms Inn
is the local hostelry and the local Mill,
still milling and baking, is somewhat of a
butchers, bakers , blacksmiths and garage
shop have closed in the last ten years, but
there are still no signs of Otterton going
the way of many small villages in England.
It is still tied deeply to its heritage.
tourists flock to this area every year. Some
to enjoy the coastline and beaches, others
to hike around the countryside.
The local B&Bs
and holiday complexes become "home" for
these visitors for a mere two weeks - if
they are lucky.
I on the other hand
live here and every day can enjoy walks
along the river banks, cliffs and drink in
the panorama I first experienced when I was
just a 15-year-old lad!
Ahhh... home sweet home!
dramatic red cliffs at Ladram Bay
and Robert H Jones have written a small book
"All About Otterton - behind the picture
postcard" published by the Keverel Press.
Images are courtesy of this publication.