It was a flying visit to Exmoor, but long enough to establish that any tourists there were could be found walking to the Tarr Steps.

I’m joking of course, no-one walks that far these days, and there are killer snakes out there.

Not actual size

Actually, they were all looking for the lone open pub; that turned out to be just down the road from our caravan site in Dulverton. Fantastic views nearby,


but it felt like a ghost town on Bank Holiday Saturday.  Approaching from the north we found the Rock House, a basic gem of old, looking very closed.

The houses nearby were by far the highlight of a town that seemed to have lost the life I recalled from my last visit.  Mrs RM attempted to boost the local economy at the local Farmers Market, but was brusquely told they were closing.  A theme emerges.

The Bridge Inn was the busiest place in town, by virtue of being open (WhatPub tells me the other two survivors were also 12-3).  It was also committing the crime of providing food at 4pm to dozens of interlopers.  A decent riverside pub, though the Exmoor was served in one of those abhorrent octagonal glasses, and very watery (NBSS 2.5).


Back at our Caravan site, we chanced a pint at the Anchor Inn at Exebridge, not in the Beer Guide but offering Abbot and a 60’s disco.

We managed to avoid the disco (there were people in kaftans !!! *), but succumbed to Bury St Edmunds’s finest.  At least they weren’t trying to offload IPA.

It was amazingly good (NBSS 4), and the Exmoor was also far better than usual.  Cool, full bodied and with a tight head. The pub’s riverside garden was packed with drinkers, a fair few drinking the real ale.  The food was average pub fayre, but at least the tables were kept clean.  As with everywhere in Exmoor, every table had at least two dogs tied to it.

Vindication for Exmoor, and for Abbot

To be fair I’ve had decent Abbot in a Wetherspoons recently (Caernarfon), but this was the evidence that a tight beer range, decent cellarmanship and a few customers can deliver good beer whoever brews it.  The Anchor is in a hamlet on the Devon/Somerset border, and I suspect November sees it scarily quiet.

* for the benefit of Mr Irvin


  1. Dulverton is (or was) the home of flowery beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones, and he’s said good things about the Bridge in the past, and about Woods in the main square. I remember having a decent pint and snack lunch in Woods about ten years ago, but it wasn’t really a “pubby” place.

    I’ve certainly noticed that, away from obvious honeypots, a lot of places in the UK that you might have thought were attractive to tourists are surprisingly quiet. Are people becoming less willing to wander off the beaten track?


    1. One person’s flowery is another person’s poetic, of course Mudge. I think Dulverton has gone downhill since my visit a decade or so ago. Woods and one next door were both closed according to WhatPub (it being a Summer Saturday).

      Interesting point about how quiet it was, you wouldn’t have expected it if you’d been on the M5 on Friday – I guess most folk very unadventurously on way to Torbay/Cornwall or Lake District/Stockport !


  2. We had some Exmoor in The Tiger, Bridport last night. New barrel fresh on, watched him pull it through. It was pretty good (3.5 ish). But not as good as Gyle 59 Pale and Bitter which it replaced. A decent ale seems to last barely a day or so in this popular with locals town centre boozer. sadly, they ended up with two Sharps ales OTB. Listened to (stunningly tight), and chatted with, Mutter Slater at The Ropemakers birthday bash earlier, again a very popular town centre locals pub. I like locals!


  3. I’ve prob. had two pints of Abbott in the last five years and struggled to finish each. Abbott Reserve is, however, a different beast – a wonderful beer.


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