This quirky, characterful bolthole tucked away in Dulverton on the edge of Exmoor is the creation of free-range farmer Paddy Groves, created to showcase his own pork and lamb – and his commitment to giving his animals the best possible life. Woods exists to give people, he says, “a true taste of the English countryside”.
You’ll often find him and his partner Sally in the pub, where Groves and his brother hand-built the rustic bar themselves, crafting it from dark timbers and decorating it with a comforting clutter of bric-a-brac that tells the story of the pub.
Alongside, the warm and welcoming restaurant is dedicated to produce sourced from farms in the rolling hills around the town. In the kitchen, head chef Ed Heard and his team work hard on a constantly changing menu rooted in traditional dishes, adding a continental twist to spike the interest.
You might want to spend a bit of time choosing the wines to go with your meal, with the help of the pub’s knowledgeable staff. Woods boasts a famously extensive, award-winning, list, personally selected by Groves, and you don’t have to splash out on a bottle. The finest are available by the glass.
For a starter you might choose Cornish scallops served with Wye Valley asparagus or beef bresaola garnished with confit garlic, globe artichokes, rocket, parmesan and red wine dressing.
Your main could be a chargrilled ribeye steak from the local butcher, or the farm’s roast loin and shoulder of Northcombe lamb with fondant potato, artichoke puree, spinach, roasted chantenay and thyme sauce.
Then tuck into the home-made ice-creams and sorbets zinging with an array of flavours from stem ginger to peanut butter to apple and honeycomb, before letting it all go down beside the fire in the bar, chatting with the locals.
Of course, you can just pop in for a pint of cask ale, and light lunches and bar snacks are available to accompany your pint.