Devon is full of quaint and beautiful little towns and villages, including the village of Ottery St Mary in East Devon. This delightful corner of Devon is located near the Jurassic Coast and easily reachable from towns like Sidmouth and Exmouth, making it a great place to spend a few hours. If you’re planning a trip this autumn, here are five things you might not know about Ottery St Mary.

Ottery Saint Mary is best known for hosting the Tar Barrels

This annual event is thought to have originated from the Gun Powder Plot but no one is really sure. To this day, residents run through the streets carrying burning barrels of tar, leading visitors through to a huge bonfire. It is one of the biggest fundraising events in the town’s calendar.

It is the birthplace of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a famous English poet who was born in Ottery St Mary in 1772. The site of his former home can still be visited and his legacy can be seen around the town, there is in fact a statue of him on the grounds of St Mary’s Church.

It is a haven for literary lovers

It isn’t just the connection to one of our best loved poets, Ottery St Mary also appears in the Harry Potter books as Ottery St Catchpole, the home of the Weasley family. Author JK Rowling attended university in nearby Exeter and was likely inspired by the unusual name and also likely by the town’s pixie legends, speaking of which…

Pixies are banished every year

Much like the Tar Barrels, every year the people of Ottery celebrate Pixie Day where local children dress up and re-enact an old legend where the town’s bell ringers are kidnapped. The day culminates with the pixies being banished.

Want to find out more about Ottery St Mary and visit this autumn?

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Find out more about Ottery St Mary