Party for Ottery’s �1m ‘Coleridge Bridge’ opening

The town turned out in force for the opening of Ottery’s new million-pound footbridge and cycleway.

In honour of the new crossing over the River Otter there was a party held on bank holiday Monday at the Land of Canaan.

After Mayor Glyn Dobson cut the ribbon on the newly-named ‘Coleridge Bridge’, Reverend Tim Treanor was be on hand to bless the cycleway and footbridge, which stretches more than 70 metres to The King’s School.

Charlie Plowden from East Devon District Council was the master of ceremonies accompanied local resident Anitra Lockwood in the first person to cross the bridge after she won a competition with the Town Council.

After a search to find the bridge a name, hers was plucked from a hat of the people who had suggested naming it after Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the famous poet born in Ottery

The �990,000 budget for the ‘Coleridge Bridge’ came from a mixture of council money, the lottery fund and the Department for Transport, as well as �200,000 from Sainsbury’s and more than �100,000 from the Thorne Park Estate in money supplied by local developers.

It is hoped the bridge will not only encourage more walking and cycling in the town but will improve safety for The King’s School pupils as it will take them off the narrow Barrack Road pavement to and from the town centre.

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After the opening dozens of Ottery residents got the chance to walk over ‘Coleridge Bridge’, before decamping to the Land of Canaan for a celebratory party.

The local Women’s Institute were on hand with a cake stall, and the Rotary club held a duck race from the new bridge along the Otter to the Millennium Footbridge.

There are also plans to build a set of poetry stones alongside the bridge, spelling out Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous poem ‘Kubla Khan’, in what would be the longest engraved poem in the world.