Warren House InnPostbridge
In splendid isolation with majestic moorland views, at 1,425 feet above sea level this is one of England’s highest pubs. “My location is my biggest asset,” says landlord Peter Parsons, who has been there since the eighties, with his wife, Janet. The characterful main bar has exposed beams, wood panelling, and features two fires, originally peat, now chunky logs - one of them never goes out. There are three other rooms, all distinctive; one is a family room and another mainly used for dining.
Originally on the other side of the road, the pub burned down and was rebuilt in 1845 on its present site, mainly to serve tin miners who came to drink and gamble. It has no mains electric, and water comes from a spring in the hill behind. The pub has had a chequered history – in 1929 landlord William Toop Stephens shot himself behind the bar, and in 1963 the building was cut off from the outside world for 12 weeks by heavy snow.
Excellent home-cooked food includes their famous herby rabbit pie (‘may contain shot’) topped with proper shortcrust pastry, steak pie with a rich ale gravy, traditional homity pie with potato, cheese and cream filling and Dartmoor beef steaks. Though mainly English food there are a few surprises such as local lamb marinated in dry sherry, Spanish style. Delicious desserts served with clotted cream or custard, including treacle tart and apple and raspberry crumble.
The permanent beer is popular Otter Ale plus changing guests, mainly regional such as Black Tor, Butcombe and Summerskills, though beers from further afield such as Ringwood Old Thumper are welcomed too; Countryman cider is served. Peter has set out rustic tables and benches on grassy areas both sides of the road, but the pub’s real garden is Dartmoor itself. Despite being well off the beaten track – and the loss of the bus service that crossed the moor until quite recently – the pub is busy even in winter attracting walkers and tourists as well as regulars.
It is so filled with fascinating facts and history someone should write a book about Warren House Inn. Actually, they have, and you can buy it over the bar.
The pub is open all day in Summer - please ring to confirm before your intended visit.