Tour Around to Otterton
is a small village of about 600 souls tucked
into the folds of the hills to the east of
the river Otter.
the nineteenth century bridge over the river
you discover the charm of this delightful
the water mills, a vista opens to the
village green with its row of thatched
cottages and the distinctive church towering
village street with a very varied selection
of cottages and farmhouses is just the sort
of picture postcard village holiday makers
ancient to modern
typical Otterton farmhouses
with their beautiful traditional
cob, brick...all are here for the tourists
to rave over.
the twentieth century buildings, which
intersperse the more ancient ones seem to be
part of the natural evolution.
has 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.
the estuary of the Otter
- Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Exmouth and
Topsham were virtually non-existent! But
Otterton Mill was already in operation.
that time the river Otter had a large open
estuary with direct access to the sea and in
fact Otterton was a port.
about Otterton today?
originally Otterton was a port. Today of
course all this has changed dramatically.
The river silted up centuries ago and
Otterton turned to farming.
major 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
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.
lucky ones who live here
glorious South Devon coastline
High Peak looking towards Sidmouth
became holiday homes and others came to
retired folks like myself.
there 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.
pub is the hub
warm welcome at the local pub
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 booked.
Kings Arms Inn is the local hostelry and the
local Mill, still milling and baking, is
somewhat of a tourist attraction.
the 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.
dramatic red cliffs at Ladram Bay
of tourists flock to this area every year.
Some to enjoy the coastline and beaches,
others to hike around the countryside.
local B&Bs and holiday complexes become
"home" for these visitors for a mere two
weeks - if they are lucky.
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
Ahhh... home sweet home!
Gerald Millington 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