Thursday, 20 April 2017

Devon offers the perfect formula for Poohsticks

Families looking for a homegrown holiday this year could indulge in a break playing Poohsticks in the heart of Devon.

We’re offering a cosy base for budding Christopher Robins interested in perfecting their stick launching technique.

We’ve got some marvellous rivers and streams with bridges here in the Westcountry that make great locations for the odd game of poohsticks!

Not so far from us is Tarr Steps and it’s also worth visiting the picturesque Malmsmead, with its Robber’s Bridge, near Oare, which was included in the Lorna Doone story!

Tarr Steps used to be very famous and tourists flocked there but now it’s a bit quieter even on nice sunny days in the summer. We love going there with our Labrador Tansy for a paddle in the river and a walk, and we always recommend it to our guests who stay with us.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Star gazing with pie…

With more stars to see in the night sky above Exmoor than in most conurbations around the world there’s never been a better time to head West for a sparkling adventure.

Combine star gazing with award-winning food and a cosy country inn, then you’ve got all the right ingredients for the perfect weekend away from it all.

Exmoor National Park is Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve. The low light pollution here makes it the perfect place to get a great view of the stars.

On a clear night, the sky is simply stunning and many astronomical sights can be seen with the naked eye, or you can hire a telescope from one of the Exmoor National Park centres to see even more! One great location is Wimbleball Lake not far from Dulverton, which is near us here in Bampton.

So why not book in for a meal with us, do some star gazing and then rest and relax in one of our comfy rooms?

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Eating pedigree pork helps keep rare breeds alive

We’re encouraging our diners to eat pedigree pork in a bid to help keep rare breeds being reared in the area from dying out.

Eating porkers such as Oxford Sandy and Blacks, sometimes referred to as the plum pudding or Oxford Forest pig, brings money into the porcine industry and helps breeding programmes develop.

Buying meat from these more unusual breeds who have had happy lives living near us in the heart of Devon is not only better for the diner, as they produce much tastier meat, but it’s also good for the producer as it makes it viable for them to keep these breeds going.

Our ethos has always been to provide good food, sourced locally wherever possible, while supporting other businesses in the community too. We’re hoping that by giving our customers more information on the provenance of the meat they are eating it will help them understand the importance of animal husbandry a bit better and also promote our wonderful suppliers who do such a fabulous job protecting rare breeds. It’s all about awareness really.

You can’t get any fresher or tastier produce than stuff reared nearby and also because we know our suppliers well, we know their animals are treated with respect and have happy and good lives.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Food Fashions

We’ve seen food fashions come and go but we have always been ahead of the trends.

In the past five years, posh burger bars seem to have taken over the high streets, we luckily have always prided ourselves on our homemade burgers, whether it’s beef & chilli, lamb & coriander or chicken & guacamole, a new one is in production.

People nowadays are not only more food aware, with cookery programmes on every channel, they are also more into the healthy options and they want it to be tasty. Our customers are much more likely to choose an alternative to potato and love to try all the new and exciting grains, beans and pulses that are now readily available, a long way from boiled rice, which was once deemed exotic.

Vegetarian dishes are not exclusive any more, and thank goodness, the cheese and pasta frozen bake is well in the past. We normally have at least three choices on our specials board and these can change daily. Not all of these are ordered by a veggie, we have some ‘proper’ meat eaters that opt for one of these dishes from time to time.

With the fact that even the local veg shops are stocking a more varied and exciting selection, the idea of whipping a new vegetarian dish up is no longer boring, added to that the abundance of fresh herbs and spices we can get hold of, the sky’s the limit!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

We’ve served up 10 years in Bampton

We’re celebrating this month (March, 2017) after dishing up a decade of evening meals and lunches in Bampton.

We have run two of the town’s pubs and the secret of our success is based on offering the very best in seasonal, regional ingredients alongside always trying to provide outstanding service.

Donna, who co-runs The Swan, said: “I’ve always been passionate about good food and I often fantasised about one day owning and running my own pub, and I really pestered Paul to do it. Now here we are, 10 years on, celebrating our anniversary in the same year that we have also had our pub placed in the top 50 gastropubs in the UK.

“We started out at The Quarryman’s Rest but took on The Swan in 2011and have never looked back. We recently posted a Wicked Wolf Gin and Thai Night on social media and sold out in 24 hours. We’re experiencing one of our busiest years so far and we’re only a quarter of the way in!

“We are so lucky living here in the Westcountry, we have local farmers supplying their beef, rare breed pork, lamb and poultry and the fishing communities providing us with the freshest Brixham haddock for our beer battered haddock and chips with crushed peas. On the menu at the moment we have locally-farmed salt brisket, Exmoor Ox cheek, Exmoor lamb and local pigs’ cheeks.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

We’re named in Gastropub top 50

We’re celebrating this week after being named as one of the top 50 gastropubs in the country at an industry-wide awards ceremony in London recently (January 30, 2017).

We polled in at 50 and Paul says this is very apt as he is celebrating his 50th birthday this year too!

This is a major placing for us as we’ve always wanted to get into this elite group of pubs with chefs and teams who are at the very top of their game. We’re chuffed.

The ‘Estrella Damm’ Top 50 Gastropub Awards are voted for by a group with members including food writers, executive chefs, celebrity and top hospitality industry chefs, pub guide editors, industry chiefs and food operators.

We’re the industry’s choice and are delighted to be part of these awards for the first time this year.

The ceremony was organised by the publican’s publication The Morning Advertiser, which says the top 50 is the definitive list of the best gastropubs in Britain.

The Morning Advertiser’s Food and Drink Editor, Nicholas Robinson says: “Getting on this list is the jewel in the crown for foodie pubs across the UK. It’s the place to be seen.”

Thursday, 19 January 2017

We’re taking part in the Exmoor Food Fest

We’re very excited once again this year to be part of the 2017 Exmoor Food Fest, which runs from February 1 until 28.

It’s an event to showcase the very best the region has to offer diners and it is a celebration of all local produce and the culinary expertise we have here on our doorstep.

We will be running special menus as part of Exmoor Food Fest on Tuesday to Friday lunchtimes and Tuesday to Thursday evenings, excluding Valentine’s Day, during February with two courses priced £10 and three courses £15.

Paul and Donna will also be cooking at a special launch dinner for the 2017 festival at the Luttrell Arms in Dunster on January 26. They will be two of the seven, award-winning chefs including Olivier Certain from the Taste of the West top award-winning restaurant, Clavelshay Barn, joining the Luttrell’s Head Chef, Barrie Tucker to cook seven courses.

It’s a privilege to have been asked again to cook at this special event and we’re delighted to be working alongside some of the areas most talented chefs like Olivier. It promises to be a fantastic evening out for everyone who comes along.
Information about the Exmoor Food Fest can be found at

To book your table with us in February, please call 01398 332248 or visit