The Rugglestone Inn, Widecombe-in-the-Moor
The Rugglestone Inn derives its name from a nearby logan stone – a piece of granite naturally balanced on a larger piece of granite which allows it to rock. There’s a long and proud history here. Grade II listed, in 1740 it was a farmhouse which by 1823 had been converted into a pub. It remained in the same family up until the 1990s when Audrey Lamb finally retired and the pub then began to be ‘modernised’.
Richard Palmer grew up also loving this place having lived in nearby Buckfast where his dad ran the Abbey’s famous Tonic Wine Department. Vicki, meanwhile, arrived in Devon as a teenager when her Dad took over the job of Dartmouth Harbour Master. After meeting in Bickington in the mid 90’s, eventually they would yearn for a career change of their own and together bought the Rugglestone in 2006.
Passionate about the pub from the beginning, their intention was to maintain this classic and unspoilt Dartmoor inn. A radical makeover would have been out of the question – the pub oozes too much history and the village, remote as it is, pulls in visitors from across the country. Despite its age, the building is clearly a well-loved one – walk in and the rooms feel fresh and alive. Outside is a lovely beer garden complete with meandering ducks and a gentle moorland stream.
Over the intervening years, Richard and Vicki have really made the pub the centre of village life. True to a rustic inn there are always a few, friendly characters at the well-stocked bar and the cricket club return here after each home game. There is also a darts team, occasional live music and plenty of cards and euchre being played.
The couple have successfully developed the food side and one thing is certain, you won’t leave hungry! Portions are generous and the pub is self-sufficient in free-range lamb and pork so carnivores are well-catered for. I opted for a creamy and very satisfying fish pie, Dad the mixed Ploughman’s with a pint of Devon Red – there’s still life in the silver otter yet! We watched as a steady stream of customers ducked and came through the low doorway. Everyone left looking replete and smiling.
With fewer and fewer of the old Dartmoor pubs left, Richard and Vicki have successfully kept the Rugglestone’s rural and rustic edge intact – it’s a step back in time to yesteryear but with a modern twist. The drive to it is part of the experience, come in from Ashburton and then via Buckland-in-the-Moor for the most picturesque and magical route. It’s little wonder they were named CAMRA’s South Devon Pub of the Year in 2017. This is a really special place you’ll wish was your local!
The Rugglestone Inn, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Newton Abbot, Devon. EX13 7TF.
Tel: 01364 621327