Many pubs have a history, but the Cornwood Inn has more than that - it has a story.
The Cornwood Inn is 100% owned by the community - saved in 2020 and given a new life, building on old roots. It's been quite a journey...
A Traditional Devon Village Pub
Situated at the south-western edge of Dartmoor National Park, on a major route for people travelling to and from the walks, cycle routes and beauty spots of Dartmoor, the first record of a pub on the site of the Cornwood Inn dates back to 1841 (when it was called the Tavistock Inn) - though it is believed there has been an inn on the site for even longer than that.
Back in 1841 the pub was run by a James Dodderidge and his wife, and the landlord was William Mackworth Praed of Delamore, great-great-grandfather of the current owner of neighbouring Delamore Estate. The pub had become the Cornwood Inn by 1861 and has been called that ever since.
A Friendly Future
In September 2019 the Cornwood Inn was bought from major "Pubco" Ei plc (formerly known as "Enterprise Inns") by a band of community volunteers called Cornwood Inn Action Group. This was achieved using short-term loans. To secure the longer-term future of the pub, more funding was raised by converting Cornwood Inn Action Group into a community benefit society and then selling community shares.
The share offer - featured in local publications as well as the Telegraph and on the BBC - was hugely successful, attracting many local investors and even some from France, the US and New Zealand; people keen to save a traditional Dartmoor pub and have a say in its future.
The interruption of Covid - awful though it has been for so many - gave the space to recruit our amazing Pub Manager, Lorna, and Chef, Conrad. It also gave us time to give the pub a major (and much-needed) facelift, refreshing everything from the cellar, lines and kitchen to the flooring, paintwork and even art on the wall (now proudly displaying work by local artists).
All of this has so many benefits for guests of the Cornwood Inn:
We're a freehouse - we can stock what our guests want, offering a wide and changing choice of the finest drinks.
We put people before profits.
Any surplus we do make is first of all invested in community initiatives, then returned to our community investors - so you can drink excellent beer and do good at the same time!
We're in it for the long haul - no more tenants of a big Pubco, struggling to meet their financial targets; instead, a fantastic, dedicated pub manager and skilled chef who are invested in the pub's future and have the backing of owners who love the pub.
So pay us a visit - and maybe you'll fall in love with the Cornwood Inn too!
Lorna - Pub Manager
I have spent many years in management and fell into the hospitality industry by accident when I helped a friend with his restaurant and found I loved it.
Working the floor, serving people great, tasty food that is cooked by my husband, makes me feel very proud – stocking great wines and drinks that can complement his food is an added bonus.
I love meeting people from all walks of life, young and old, building friendships and being part of family celebrations which starts with children having their first children’s menu and then serving them their first drink when they are 18.
As well as enjoying meeting human friends, the 4-legged varieties are always welcome and they soon learn where the dog biscuits barrel is kept, even after their first visit.
We look forward to welcoming you all, 4 legs or 2, and helping the Cornwood Inn family grow.
Conrad - Chef
I have been working as a chef for 38 years and started out in Switzerland after completing my City & Guilds at college.
On returning to the UK, I then worked for the next 12 years in several Michelin star restaurants, including Le Gavroche, The Castle at Taunton, Harvey’s, Nico’s and La Tante Claire, amongst others.
At 32, I moved over to Lanzarote to help a friend run the kitchens of several bars he had there, until eventually taking over the kitchens at a small hotel Casa Tegoyo - where I went on to gain my own Michelin star.
I then moved to Dubai to head up the kitchens at the 5-star hotel Mina a Salam, a 300-bed property with several restaurants.
After once again returning to the UK, I have since been cooking in good pubs - which is where my food ethos now is.
I like to use good, local, in-season ingredients - done simply to create food that is well-cooked and delicious, using flavour combinations that work well.
I have sourced good, local quality suppliers here in Devon who all share my passion for providing the best ingredients they possibly can and I look forward to welcoming everyone to the Cornwood Inn for some enjoyable food and drink.