The Bickford Arms
We were on our way to South Molton at around lunchtime, and I had the bright idea that we should call in at the Bickford Arms. They are one of the Bed and breakfast listings on our website, and I had 'spoken' by e-mail to Nigel the owner. What better chance than this to have a quick look at the place? I knew that the building had undergone some reconstruction following a fire in 2003 and wow have they done a good job on the new rooms.
OK, so it's not Dartmoor, but it's a pleasant drive from Okehampton, ideal if you are on the way up to the North Coast, and well worth nipping in for coffee/lunch/dinner. Good sized car park. Inside are 3 bars and the central one has a well stocked bar with good choice of drinks. Slate floors, a wealth of wood, real fireplaces, with copper and brass about. The sort of place that overseas tourists write home about - all this and the place has a clean new, just off the shelf feel about it. I was slightly sorry to see that the apple juice at the bar is not English - especially so, in view of the fact that the excellent apple juice producers West Lake Farm is within 5 miles. BUT the pub must be applauded for offering the wonderful Creedy Carver chicken on the menu and, knowing that this outdoor reared poultry has the best flavour on any chicken that I have tasted, I wasted no time in ordering chicken breast at £13.95. It was utterly delicious.
The best plateful of food that I have enjoyed this year. I can't speak of it more highly than that. Rob was more than happy with his beef baguette with chips. At the end of the meal after coffees and paying the bill, I asked Rowena, Nigel's lovely Dutch wife if she would let me see some of the bedrooms, and she opened them all up for me to see. On our way upstairs we took a look at the function room at the back which is ideal for parties or weddings of up to 40 covers. All of the bedrooms are en-suite, offering doubles, twins and one family room that will take 4 people. Folks who live on Dartmoor might consider booking a table and staying over for the night. I am sure that Nigel and Rowena could offer an attractive price for full board. I made a mental note to book us and two pals in for a night in the middle of winter doldrums, because I know that the fires will be lit, the bedrooms will be spotless, we shall be able to sample the wonderfully sounding 'Betty Stogs' and 'Lazy Daze' ales - brewed exclusively for the pub, and the food will be well worth the journey. The bill for 2 apple juices, and 2 lunches came to £23.50 Have a look at the website Will we go again ? Read the last sentence in the review..
The Bickford Arms, Brandis Corner, Holsworthy. Tel 01409 221318. Website here.