Country pubs are as quintessential to the English landscape as sheep grazing. Many date back centuries and all are ready to welcome everyone from the casual rambler to the serious hiker. After a day exploring what Dartmoor (and there really are plenty of things to do in Dartmoor National Park) has to offer, many head to an inn or free house to enjoy traditional British cuisine or a pint of beer. Here are the very best pubs in Dartmoor:
Warren House Inn, Postbridge, Yelverton PL20 6TA
Here, inside the Warren House Inn, the fire has been burning continuously for one hundred and fifty years. Some say even longer still. Wander in at any given moment, even in the height of summer, and you’ll find a roaring ever-burning fire, a large selection of local ales and an amazing view of the surrounding landscape.
After all, the Warren House Inn is the highest pub in Southern England and is famous for its Warrener’s Pie (a rabbit filled concoction)! Just bear in mind that you head here for the ambience, atmosphere and not the food… Nearby, you’ll find the historic Bronze Age of Grimspound.
The view from nearby Grimspound. Looking out onto the Dartmoor landscape.
Rugglestone Inn, Widecombe in the Moor, Newton Abbot TQ13 7TF
While Widecombe in the Moor has a few pubs, nothing beats walking the half mile or so out of the village, and heading towards the Rugglestone Inn. At the quintessentially English pub, with a beer garden covered in trailing ivy, you’ll find traditional pub fare and a friendly vibe. If you’re looking to spend one day in central and east Dartmoor, be sure to add Widecombe to your itinerary!
The Cleave, Lustleigh, TQ13 9TJ
Located in the very heart of the ‘prettiest village in Dartmoor’, The Cleave advertises itself as ‘the only pub in the village.’ And while this is certainly true (there is quite literally nowhere else to grab some food come dinner time), The Cleave Pub is still definitely worth a visit.
Serving locally brewed beers and always bustling with the sound of locals, the pub is the perfect place to enjoy a pint, or even a meal among friends, on a warm summer’s evening. Elsewhere in the village, there’s plenty of incredible walking trails, some interesting history, and a tea room. If you want to know more, then here’s a guide to the best things to do in Lustleigh.
The Rock Inn, Haytor Vale, Dartmoor National Park, Newton Abbot, TQ13 9XP
Just below the iconic granite rocks of Haytor (which were placed in situ by glacial shifts during the last Ice Age), you’ll find the sweet village of Haytor Vale. All thatched cottages and granite façades, the Rock Inn is located in the heart of the village and is quite literally the beating vibe of village life. If you want to make a weekend of it and stay for longer, then here’s the Rock Inn’s room availability.
The food is meant to be excellent, and the cosiness of the decor even better still. Nearby, you can’t go wrong by ascending the steep hill to the world-famous Haytor rocks, or simply strolling along the 18th-century granite tramway and into the secret Haytor Quarry Lake, one of the most mythical places of Dartmoor.
Nearby disused Haytor Tramway. Haytor was once home to a thriving granite quarry. Today, the tramway provides great walking routes and even better views onto the surrounding landscape. On clear days, you can look out from Haytor and see out all the way to the sea at Teignmouth and Torquay!
Three Crowns Inn, High St, Chagford, Newton Abbot TQ13 8AJ
Reportedly haunted, it’s certainly true that the Three Crowns in Chagford has seen plenty of history since the building was first constructed at some point during the 13th century. The Three Crowns is easily one of the best pubs in Dartmoor because it always has a warm fire in the winter time.
The Three Crowns Inn also serves a wide variety of alcoholic and soft drinks, and also operates as a hotel with twenty-one boutique style bedrooms! The rest of Chagford, which was once a stannary town vital to the local tin mining industry, has plenty of quirky boutiques and independent stores.
Other highlights of Chagford include the Birdcage Café and a visit to nearby Castle Drogo, the last Castle to have been built in England. If you’re looking to stay longer (after all, Chagford is a great place in which to base yourself to explore the local area), then here’s prices and room availability for the Three Crowns.
The Exeter Inn, 26 West St, Ashburton, Newton Abbot TQ13 7DU
Another of the four historic stannary towns in Devon is that of Ashburton, which lies on the Southern slopes of Dartmoor National Park. A quirky town with more of a village feel than that of a larger settlement, Ashburton is best known for its antique shops and local produce shops.
The Exeter Inn makes the list of the best pubs in Dartmoor as a result of its rich, and interesting history, as well as its quintessentially British pub feel. Sir Francis Drake (owner of nearby Buckland Abbey) frequented the pub in the 16th-Century, and Sir Walter Raleigh was even arrested in the Exeter Inn in 1603! The pub itself dates all the way back to 1130, meaning that it no doubt has countless other stories to tell…
Ashburton is a pretty historic town on the Southern Slopes of Dartmoor. Pictured here is a view onto the main High Street running through the town.
Ring of Bells Inn, The Village, North Bovey TQ13 8RB
Of all the best pubs in Dartmoor, the pub of North Bovey is among my favourites. After a drastic fire a few years ago, the Ring of Bells Inn is recently opened and welcoming plenty of visitors once more. Every day, locals and visitors to the area alike flock to the pub to enjoy local beer and home cooked food in a gastro-pub setting.
If you’re looking to truly escape from the hustle and bustle of busy every day life (quite literally, phone signal is hard to come by around here!) then you might consider a countryside escape in the form of a long weekend in North Bovey. Check for availability at the Ring of Bells Inn here.
Though the decor before the fire was more in the style of traditional country pub, today it is more modern in its decor, providing a quirky dining experience of old meets new. Nearby, the North Bovey church is home to one of the prettiest rood screens in Devon, while walking trails can be found in abundance.
Situated on the fringes of Dartmoor, Bearslake Inn is one of the most picturesque pubs on Dartmoor. Home to a dog-friendly bar area, be sure to purchase some of the cheesy chips on sale in the inn, they’re totally delicious! The pub itself dates all the way back to the 13th-century and was likely originally a Devon long barn. That is to say, it was once a farmhouse where people lived in one end, and animals resided in the other.