Tumbling Weir, Ottery St Mary, Devon
Sometimes it’s nice to explore the back streets of a town, to head away from the shops and discover the tucked away places. Go for a wander in Ottery St Mary and you’ll no doubt stumble across the Tumbling Weir behind what used to be a working mill that produced woollen cloth, silk and brushes in its time. It’s obvious why it’s called Tumbling Weir – it’s a circular weir, made of cast iron and built to take excess water form the mill leat through a short tunnel and back into the River Otter.
You see, there was once a flourishing wool trade at Ottery, which sadly went into decline in the 18th century, unable to compete with cheaper production in the north. So a new mill was built in an effort to provide work for the townspeople, but to power it the mill pond had to be raised by over 2 metres – the tumbling weir was installed to help maintain the water level. It’s fascinating to see purely because circular weirs are such a rarity and you can’t help but marvel at the ingenuity of it.
Just along the path is the Tumbling Weir Hotel and Restaurant, a peaceful spot for lunch, especially if the sun is shining and you can sit in the garden.
All information correct at the time of writing