OTFORD villagers are celebrating this morning after being honoured with the prestigious UK Roundabout of the Year award.
The picturesque duck pond roundabout beat off stiff competition to wrestle the award from last year’s winners, the Holgate Windmill roundabout in York.
Otford will now take up pride of place on the cover of the 2014 Best of British Roundabouts calendar.
Revealing the winner on Chris Evans’ morning show on Radio 2, Kevin Beresford, president of the UK Roundabouts Appreciation Society, branded the duck pond as “quintessentially the most English roundabout I have ever seen”.
“Normally I describe a roundabout as an oasis on a sea of asphalt but this has turned that statement inside out,” he said. “We’ve got an island made up of water surrounded by land, how bizarre!”
Roundabout enthusiast Mr Beresford, who travelled across the country to judge the entrants, dismissed concerns for the safety of the ducks who call the roundabout home.
“That road is not busy,” he added.
“I had never heard of Otford, Kent, to be honest but when I turned up it was the hottest day of the year and it was such a pleasant little village, beautiful pond and a little church.
“It’s quintessentially the most English roundabout I have ever seen.”
Other roundabouts to have been honoured with a place in the calendar include one in Lewes known locally as ‘Brian the Snail’ and one featuring a horse sculpture at Chepstow Racecourse in Monmouthshire, Wales.
The residents of the duck house on Otford Pond have been a feature of the village for several years now and are always well-received by visitors to the village.
Parish council chairman John Edwards-Winser admitted he was surprised to see Otford recognised nationally but is glad the picturesque village is now receiving the attention it deserves.
”Otford is a beautiful place to live and the duck pond is the jewel in our crown,” he said. “It doesn’t matter which way you drive into the village, you’re greeted with outstanding views.
“A lot of work goes into keeping the duck pond and the entire village clean and beautiful so I’m really pleased to have that work rewarded.
“The pond is a real source of pride for the village. Sometimes you take these things for granted but every once in a while something like this happens to remind you how lucky you are to live here.”
The attractive pond with its willow trees forms a natural roundabout in the centre of the village and is thought to be the only duck pond in the UK to have been granted listed status.
The pond is thought to date back to Anglo Saxon times, when it was possibly used as a drinking hole for local livestock.