Ottery leaflet language move to boost tourism

A GERMAN version of Ottery St Mary s free Heritage Walking Tour guide will be launched next month.

A GERMAN version of Ottery St Mary's free Heritage Walking Tour guide will be launched next month.

A civic reception, given by town mayor Councillor Glyn Dobson, and Ottery town council, for 53 visitors from Ilsfeld in Baden Wurtemberge, South Germany, during a twinning visit, is being used to launch the German version of the guide.

It will take place at Otter Nurseries Garden Centre on Saturday, May 2.

For some years Ottery's tourist office has handed out the free guide in English to visitors to the town.

With so many German and French visitors to the town, Phyllis Baxter, who runs the TIC, thought it would be nice to have the guide translated "as good PR for visitors," and enlisted the help of Ottery St Mary Twinning Association who have translated it into French and German.

The guide enables people to take a 60-minute walk through the history of Ottery St Mary, ranging from the 11th century St Mary's parish church, identifying the Samuel Taylor Coleridge connections and visiting the unique Tumbling Weir.

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Phyllis said: "The Association has been absolutely marvellous. Without their help I would have had to pay a lot more. Someone is going to do a Spanish one too."

Two residents have sponsored the French and German guides and 1,000 of each are being printed by John Gaffeny. Otter Nurseries is sponsoring a revised English version with new photographs.

Keith Spittlehouse, twinning association secretary, said: "So far as we are aware our small town is the first in East Devon to produce guides in foreign languages for our European visitors."

The Ilsfeld visitors will be in Ottery between Friday, May 1 and Monday, May 4, and a full programme of activites have been planned.

"Some of the visiting students and teachers spending the day at Kings School, while others will be touring the Elizabethan House and Gardens at Sand near Sidbury and peeping behind the scenes at Otter Nurseries Garden Centre," said Keith.

The two towns have been twinned for less than a decade with this year seeing a record number of Germans coming to Ottery.

Phyllis said many foreign visitors came to the town by coach to visit the church, which has been featured in two TV productions based on Rosamunde Pilcher books Magie der Liebe and Rosen im Sturm.