Ottery St Mary
For details of places to stay and things to do in Ottery St Mary, Devon, please try the links on the left.
Ottery St Mary is set amid some of East Devon's most beautiful countryside and yet is also close enough to the coast to take advantage of all that the World Heritage Coastline has to offer.
A town steeped in history and legend Ottery St Mary was the birthplace of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who was born in 1772 and penned such famous works as the 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and 'Kubla Khan'.
Visit Ottery St Mary on November 5th and you can witness the town's famous Tar Barrel event. Said to have originated in the 17th century, possibly as a pagan cleansing ritual, wooden barrels are soaked in tar in the weeks prior to the event and are lit and then either rolled or carried through the streets of Ottery on the shoulders or backs of local people. All the town's narrow streets and alleys are packed with onlookers keen to feel the heat!
The beautiful medieval Church of St Mary, modelled on Exeter Cathedral, has been voted one of the top 20 finest churches in England. The interior of the church is a fine example of medieval craftsmanship, containing an astronomical clock dating from that time and still in working order. The ancient stocks used for public punishments in Ottery St Mary's past are located in the churchyard.
Ottery St Mary has a superb range of shops and restaurants, a monthly farmers` market. a leisure centre and places to visit that include the Tumbling Weir, built in 1790 to harness the River Otter and so supply power to a Georgian textile factory.