Fox Tor Cafe and Bunkhouse at Princetown
How many cafes do you know where you can buy a set of thermal underwear with your latte and cake ?
Dave and Abbi Oppenshaw have done wonders with the Fox Tor Café up at Princetown. My pal Pat
and I made it up there one cool morning in early April with the wind whistling under our jackets, after
several attempts to get there had failed. We were greeted by Dave and offered coffee and cake, but
I asked if we might first of all take a quick look around his bunkhouse at the back of the café.
The photos speak for themselves. It’s all spotlessly clean. Basic accommodation for 12 in 3
rooms each with four bunks. I was delighted to see the boxes for recycling in operation,
and chatting to Dave it’s clear that he is as keen on keeping things green as they can.
Sharing a room with fellow overnighters for 1 bunk is £10.00. You can book a room yourself, for only
1 person at £30.00. A room for 2 friends is just £33.00, for 3 it’s £36.50, and at full capacity taking 4,
the overnight price is £40.00 As a party of 12 you can also book the whole Bunkhouse for £110.00.
Which means that you get a bed for less than £9.20 BARGAIN! It is expected that you will bring your
own sleeping bag, but you can pay extra for bedding and towels if you are travelling as light as you can.
The living area is well equipped with flat screen tv, fridge, sink, cooker, microwave and toaster
with all the crockery and cutlery you might need. Dave tells us that the 3 tables
are often pushed together when groups eat as one happy bunch.
The oldest part of the bunkhouse and yet to receive a make over are the showers and toilets, male
and female rooms, and whilst Dave made apologies on their behalf, I certainly would not
criticise them as they are again perfectly clean and joy of joys both sections are toasty
warm with efficient underfloor heating. Weary walkers would love them, they pass my approval.
The bedrooms are basic, but at the end of a long day of fresh air plus walking or cycling, I’m sure that
the bunk beds must seem like havens of comfort, and with meals served in the café up to 5 each night
(6 on Saturday) and open again for early breakfasts, not to mention the fact that the café is licensed to
sell alcohol. Oh yes and don’t forget they sell packed lunches….. well, it’s all in your favour really isn’t it ?
Dave and Abbi took the Fox Tor over last year and several visitors have e-mailed me their approval,
suggesting I pay a visit with a food review in mind. There’s not time today, we must get on, but I will be
trying it out in the future. In the meantime we accept Dave’s offer of a coffee, mine’s a very good
latte and the chocolate brownie is cooked to perfection. The menu offers a good range of favourites
such as steak Baguette, Home cooked ham egg and chips, and today’s soup etc, with a good nod at
vegetarian choices – lentil wedge, Mushroom Stroganoff AND Quorn and Bean Chilli with rice.
There's lemon drizzle cake, coffee and walnut, chocolate and beetroot and even chilli scones
with locally made chilli chutney to take out…. The whole place is colourful warm and inviting.
The whole place is colourful warm and inviting. There’s a real fire in one half of the room and a wood-
burner in the other. Customers come in, some new, some clearly regulars, like the chap who has a
full English breakfast delivered to his table, and just as Pat suggests to me that the plateful might merit
a photo, he upends the brown sauce bottle and covers the lots in a full on crossover design. Yuk !
A cyclist in lycra parks his bike at the rear of the caff and makes a beeline for the leather sofa
by the fire, picking up one of the daily papers on offer as he comes across. I ask where he has
cycled from and he tells us Moretonhampstead. (13 miles) but that he will be taking a longer
route home. See photo. He goes on to say that he and his pals often come up here for a ride. They
like that fact that it's open every day, and the service, food and real coffee are consistently good.
I really rate this café and applaud the efforts made by Dave and Abbi. The shop is imaginatively
stocked for walkers, campers and Princetown visitors. One can take refreshment, buy enough
good stuff for a picnic further on in your journey and if you really are feeling the cold,
the thermals on offer will seem like an absolute Godsend.
There’s not time for a full food review today, but it’s on the plan for later on in the year….
Take a look at the Fox Tor Bunkhouse website