Wednesday, 22 November 2017

We’re a Trencherman’s Awards 2018 winner!

We attended an awards ceremony at the fabulous Salcombe Harbour Hotel recently to find out if we’d scooped one of the top awards and we weren’t disappointed!

Thanks to your kind votes and continued support, we were named as the Best Dining Pub, beating off stiff competition from across the Westcountry. So, a HUGE thank you to you for voting for us!

Here's a look at some of what happened on the night:


Thank you to Guy Harrop for the photographs.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Star-studded stay at The Swan for Dark Skies Festival

We’re offering star gazers the chance to stay during Exmoor’s first Dark Skies Festival from October 19 to 29 this year (2017).

Being located on the Devon side of Exmoor we offer easy access to some of the key astronomical events taking place in the National Park during the festival.

Exmoor National Park is Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve. It’s a brilliant place to stargaze whether you own a telescope or not as the lack of light pollution on the moor means there’s plenty to be seen with the naked eye. We’re delighted to be supporting this star-studded event, which will raise invaluable awareness of this part of the world and the beauty of the night sky.

We all spend so much time looking down these days with all the technology linked to our daily lives and there is something wonderful about switching off from the outside world for an hour or so, and just looking up for once and contemplating the universe.

Exmoor’s international dark sky designation means it is one of the best places in the country for stargazing, as it has very little light pollution and is often cloud-free. Fewer than 10% of residents in the UK can see a natural night sky with stars above them, according to the Campaign for Dark Skies.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

We’re doing a demo at Taunton food & drink fest

We will be hosting a free cookery demonstration in Taunton this month (September, 2017) as part of the 2017 Feast Taunton event.

We’ll be at The Castle Hotel in Taunton on Saturday, September 30 at 12.30pm to take part in the food and drink festival.

Feast is a wonderful celebration of the Westcountry’s best homegrown, reared and produced food and drink, as well as featuring some of the region’s top chefs who use these fantastic ingredients in their cooking and we’re delighted to have been asked to be involved.

The event, which runs from September 29 and October 1, is designed to help raise the profile of everyone involved in the industry from livestock farmers to the area’s microbreweries and vegetable growers.

We hope lots of people turn out for our free demo and, also, for the daily workshops. There will be lots of topics to get expert advice on and skills to learn. Our cooking demo will include some great tips and recipes for you to take home too.

There will be something for all the family at Feast including activities for children scheduled throughout the Saturday and Sunday. There will also be two very special dinners featuring some of the country’s top chefs including Michael Caines on September 29, followed by the Great British Menu chefs’ feast on Saturday evening featuring Jude Kereama, Josh Eggleton, Dominic Chapman and Emily Watkins.

To find out more visit

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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

British eggs are brilliant

People don’t realise how often eggs are used, where they can be used and that they aren’t just an item for the breakfast table. We’ve been sourcing our free range eggs from John and Mandy at Exe Valley for more than 10 years now and they provide a fantastic, tasty product combined with a great service.

We strive here to champion local producers and we’re keen to let our diners know where their food comes from and how they are also supporting the areas’ farmers when they eat with us. We’re also keen to involve children so they understand where their food comes from and how easy it is to make homemade food from scratch. So, we’ve popped a simple, fun recipe together for a light sponge below, using eggs and it’s below for you to download, and try at home with your kids and grandkids.

New research published in June’s issue of Complete Nutrition says that, as well as containing high quality protein and fatty acids, there are a number of key nutrients found in eggs – including vitamin D, B vitamins, selenium, iodine and choline – that are not present in many other foods, and in which many population groups are known to be deficient.

The report’s author Dr Carrie Ruxton explains: “The evidence is pointing to a specific role for eggs in health, as nature’s very own multivitamin. This may mean that health professionals could be justified in actively promoting the consumption of eggs.

“As recent government data shows, eggs are a veritable natural pharmacy of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and protein, putting them on a par with most of today’s so-called ‘superfoods’. Yet eggs are much more affordable and versatile.”

Now we and Exe Valley Eggs are planning to do more to publicise the benefits of eggs. We hope to have a collection of recipes available for people to download in the autumn to link with British Egg Week 2017 from October 9 until 15. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

Eggs are ‘nature’s multi-vitamin’

We have joined forces with an egg producer in the area this month (August, 2017) to help highlight the benefits of eating British eggs.

We are working with John and Mandy Widdowson from Exe Valley Eggs near Stoodleigh to promote the use of free range eggs.

Eggs contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals and are one of the best sources of high quality protein. There are only around 80 calories in a large egg, which means they are great if you’re on a diet or want to eat healthily.

Also new research out in June’s issue of Complete Nutrition, highlights the growing scientific literature linking regular egg consumption with tangible outcomes such as muscle function and vascular health. Its unique combination of high quality protein and essential vitamins and minerals means it could be called ‘nature’s multi-vitamin’.

Exe Valley Eggs sells to retailers, restaurants, caf├ęs, pubs and hotels across Devon. The family-run farm supplies eggs laid by hens that roam freely during the day in fields above the Exe Valley. The farm is inspected to RSPCA welfare standards by the organisation’s independently certified farm assurance scheme.

The business was established more than 25-years-ago as a partnership between John and Mandy and John’s in-laws Brian and Gay Grimston. The entire family, including the Widdowson daughters Nicola and Lucy, have played their part in the life of the farm, but John, with the backing of a dedicated workforce, now has day-to-day responsibility.

John says: “We were one of the first farms to recognise the benefits of providing hens with overhead outdoor cover, which gives them the confidence to range more freely. This provides them not only a healthier lifestyle, but a chance to enrich their diet from natural pasture.

“We initially planted more than 5,000 trees and the immediate success of our project was such that it led to the creation of a specific brand of Woodland Eggs now sold by a major supermarket.

“When the hens do go indoors they have the best of feed and facilities including large, straw-strewn scratch areas where they can continue to do what hens like best. They live in five separate flocks spread across the farm which also encourages them to enjoy the natural life.”

Check out our next blog for a handy recipe and more info on the benefits of using eggs.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Walk on the wild side in Devon’s heartland

Mid-Devon may not sound an inspiring location for walkers but it’s a wonderful place for amblers and ramblers alike.

This area of mid-Devon is often overlooked as people drive through it to the North Devon coast, but it’s a great place full of hidden challenges for ramblers and somewhere off the beaten track for walkers of all abilities to explore.

Anyone keen to find somewhere that the hoards have yet to discover should head this way. are still vast expanses of moorland here where you won’t see another soul when you’re out walking.

Our pub is a wonderful base for walkers. We think we’re pretty unique too, as we provide top-notch accommodation and award-winning, seasonal food, as well as help and advice regarding particular walks for those staying with us. It’s a haven for walkers here and a foodie heaven all wrapped into one.

Our part of Devon and this side of Exmoor is perfect for walkers of all abilities. There is plenty to see and do and miles of easily accessible footpaths. Not far from us is the 117-mile Two Moors Way, which traverses the whole county, coast-to-coast, from Plymouth to Lynmouth.

We’re also close to the Devon bit of the South West Coast Path, which has wonderful, breath-taking views. There are lots of circular walks here too, perfect for all abilities.

Guests very often treat themselves, at the end of a long day walking, to a meal before settling into one of our guest rooms for a good night’s sleep, before continuing with their outdoor adventure the next day. We also welcome walkers just wishing to stop off for lunch too.

Bampton is also on the Exe Valley Way walking route and on the West Country Way cycle route. It boasts easy walking around the town, including a ‘Town Trail’, and in the summer, it has floral displays for visitors to see too.

To find out more, please call us on 01398 332248 or visit our website:

Thank you to Steve Lee for the image of Bampton. 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Recipe for sea trout

•    1 sea trout pinned and scaled approx. 1.5 – 2 kilo
•    250g sea salt
•    250g caster sugar
•    100ml gin – we use Wicked Wolf from Exmoor
•    50 ml of white wine vinegar
•    one good tablespoon of dried Cornish mixed seaweed optional (can be bought online from

You will also need some grapefruit segments or almond flakes.

  • Place clingfilm over a tray and lay trout on it.
  • Give the mixture and good stir and cover all the trout with it. Wrap up tightly in the cling film and place in a fridge for 24 hours. The longer you leave it the drier and firmer the trout goes.
  • Wash the trout and wash of all the salt and gin.
  • Pat dry and its ready to go.
  • Slice thinly using a very sharp knife and garnish with ruby grapefruit segments. The addition of grilled flaked almonds is rather good as well.
  • If you’re lucky and you have a friend who’s a trout fisherman, this recipe works just as well with river trout and lake caught trout. 

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