BUSINESSES in Overton are hoping to attract tourists visiting a gin factory into the village by creating a heritage trail about famous north Hampshire novelist Jane Austen.

Overton Business Association (OBA) has discussed Bombay Sapphire’s gin factory, which is set to open at Laverstoke Mill in May, and ways it could attract some of the 100,000 people expected to visit the site each year to Overton.

Overton parish councillor Peter Baker, who presented the OBA’s ideas to Overton Parish Council, said: “We discussed using this wonderful opportunity of these thousands of people going through the village to make Overton a tourist venue by exploiting the fact that Jane Austen came shopping here when she lived in Steventon.”

A letter sent by Jane Austen to her sister details her trip to Overton in 1798, when she bought garments from a village shop.

Cllr Baker said that the OBA hoped to set up a heritage display panel with a picture of Jane Austen and details of her links to Overton.

It would include a footpath map entitled ‘Walking in the footsteps of Jane Austen’ which would include the various spots in Overton which she visited, including St Mary’s Church, where her brother James was mercer.