Pixie Day, Ottery St Mary, Devon

Once a year, close to midsummers day in June, it’s Pixie Day in Ottery St Mary. This is one of those age old customs that is kept alive and brings people to the town from far and wide; there’s a huge sense of fun about it and a very lively air pervades as lots of happy children dressed as pixies run through the town.

So, what’s it all about? Well, legend has it that once upon a time the only folk who lived in Ottery were the pixies – until humans moved in and the church was built; the pixies could not bear the sound of the bells ringing because they believed that every time they rang one of their kind would die! They set upon a mission to stop the bells from ringing – they captured all the bell ringers and imprisoned them in a cave on the banks of the River Otter, still known as Pixies Parlour.

The bell ringers managed to escape and the story has led to the annual re-enactment of Pixie Day, accompanied by stalls and entertainment and in the evening, a barbecue. It’s one of the days in the town calendar that everyone looks forward to, as with Tar Barrels in November.

All information correct at the time of writing

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