Once upon a time this sleepy Devon town was plagued with mischievous pixies…
When: Saturday nearest Midsummer’s day. Sat 23rd June 2012.
Where: Ottery St Mary, Devon, England.
Pixie Day is a lovely age old tradition with its roots back in the 15th century. The day commemorates the tale of Ottery St Mary’s mischievous Pixies being finally banished from the town, where they caused havoc trying to prevent the church bells from being installed (Pixies don’t like the sound apparently).
They cast a spell over the monks who were bringing the bells to St Mary’s Church redirecting them towards the road leading to the cliffs. Just as the monks were about to fall over the edge, one of them stubbed his toe on a rock and said “God bless my soul”, and immediately the spell was broken. The bells were then hung in the church and the pixies fleed into exile.
Every year since then a hundreds of pixies (made up of local Cubs and Brownies) come to town on the Saturday closest to Midsummer’s day. They try to capture the bell ringers but so far they haven’t succeeded and there is much merriment and jubilation by all.
The celebrations begin in the early afternoon when a large fete opens on the Land of Canaan with traditional English games and stalls. There is Morris dancing and fireworks too.
Find out more on the official Pixie day website.
Devon Food & Drink
Devon is the home of the Devonshire clotted cream tea. This rich, heavy cream with a yellow top was made as an alternative way of using the high-fat milk produced by the local cows. According to local historians the Devonshire Cream Tea was created by 11th century Benedictine monks at Tavistock Abbey. When the Abbey was severely damaged by plundering Vikings in the year 997 it had to be rebuilt, and the monks fed the labourers with high calorie meals of homemade breads (scones) topped with clotted cream and strawberry preserve. Drink Scrumpy, the local potent cider.
Travel to Devon
Exeter (the nearest city about 20kms away) does have a small airport by you may need to fly into London and travel to Devon. Book flights and hotels in Exeter with ebookers.com. You may need to search for flights and hotels separately.