Should you ever find yourself in Exmoor without your trusty Good Beer Guide (any year) just look for a Royal Oak.

By law only pubs called the Royal Oak (or possibly ExMoreAle) are allowed GBG status.

Royal Oak

This one is in Luxborough; it says so on the sign.

What’s wrong with a pic of a tree ?

Though a quick look at the OS suggests it could be stuck under Kingsbridge (confusing Devonians) or Watchet (confusing Simon).


I did the aimless walk through Church Wood, and magnificent it was to escape the hustle and bustle of, er, Washford.

Nothing. At all.
Rare signs of life

As with every walk I did in 3 days in West Somerset, I didn’t pass a single soul, which is quite eerie after half an hour so goodness knows how these people who walk the length of Rowley Regis cope.

Cows ahead

Actually, I enjoyed the solitude so much I missed opening time.

Lovely inbuilt post box

I entered to find a dozen Old Boys at the bar well-dressed young (under-50) chap eating silently, to the strains of “I’m Your Man” by Wham ! Not their best but irritatingly catchy.

Next up was Smokie Robinson’s “Being With You“, about which no-one shalt say a negative word.

No jam jars alert

Now I like Butcombe Bitter at its best, but this Adam Henson’s Rare Breed is an oddity, popping up in random GBG pubs despite it getting less beer Twitter love than Arkell’s 3B.

Cask Marque, the sign of something

I’m not sure how I feel about a communal drinking table, so I ignored it and hoped no-one would envy my little dining table by the door.

Bet someone wants to eat there now

Well, I can’t claim this was pub nirvana, but the Rare Breed was a, er, rare breed. NBSS 3.5. Even the pub dog didn’t lick my shoes.

An acceptable pub animal

Out the back there was a pool table, old adverts for combine harvesters, boxes of LPs (for playing) and a sense of village pub you wouldn’t have guessed from outside.

Danish type pig housing
It’s all gone basic

Shame it was so quiet. Is lunchtime dining (let alone drinking) dead? We shall find out together.


  1. Hmm, I’ve actually been to this one many years ago. Not sure about all these different varieties of Butcombe – life was far simpler when there was just the one and it was called Bitter đŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Farming isn’t enough, if you’re a regular presenter on “Countryfile.” You need a brewery to take you under its wing, and name one of their umpteen “bitters” after you.

        Liked by 1 person

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