Historic village inn on Dartmoor is on the market

Drake Manor Inn, The Village, Buckland Monachorum, Devon
-Credit: (Image: @ Vickery Holman)

Historic and successful village pub, the Drake Manor Inn in Buckland Monachorum, is on the market after 35 years. Originally a hostelry for the stone masons building the parish church next door, the Drake has been an inn for almost 900 years.

Mandy Robinson has run the Drake Manor, in the heart of the village, eight miles north of Plymouth, since 1989. The pub, in a picture postcard location at the centre of the village, has only had three licensees in the last 60 years.

Mandy said: “It’s a great opportunity for someone who wants to live and work in a vibrant village and I hope someone will come in who will love and nurture the Drake – it’s a hugely rewarding life. Buckland is renowned for its strong community spirit. Everyone knows each other and supports them. It’s very encouraging that young people have moved to the village who are taking an active part in everything that goes on here, keeping that community spirit as strong today as it was a generation ago.

Public bar at the Drake Manor Inn
Public bar at the Drake Manor Inn -Credit:@ Vickery Holman

“When I came here the Drake was a very popular village pub, which had a good food offering for that time. Over the years I’ve adapted what we provide to meet changing customer needs while still keeping the pub’s character and enhancing its place at the heart of the community.”

Extended and adapted many times over the centuries, the pub still retains many historic features, including a fireplace thought to date to the 12th century in the main bar. Over her years at the Drake, Mandy has subtly improved the pub while retaining its character. Photographs from over half a century ago show many of the fixtures and fittings which are still in place today.

Restaurant area
Restaurant area -Credit:@ Vickery Holman

Buckland Monachorum was part of Sir Francis Drake’s estate and it’s likely the explorer and privateer would have walked or ridden to the Drake from his home a a mile away at Buckland Abbey to collect the rent and sample the ale.

Brought up in Nottinghamshire, Mandy studied hospitality in Norwich and started her career working in hotels around the country as a graduate management trainee for Trust House Forte. It was while she was living in Tavistock when the opportunity to become licensee of the Drake came up – and she jumped at the chance.

Beer garden
Beer garden -Credit:@ Vickery Holman

Mandy said: “I had always wanted to run my own business – and this was clearly a pub with a lot going for it in a lovely location. I’ve made subtle changes to adapt to changing times – we’ve built up a reputation for serving good food and our range of local beers draws in real ale drinkers from far and wide. I like to think we are a ‘proper pub’ offering great service, good food and a convivial bar atmosphere.

“The Drake is renowned for hosting great events, when crowds spill into the village street outside. New Year, Christmas, and events such as the village’s annual Summer Fair and apple pressing day all bring in locals and visitors to share the celebrations. I’m particularly pleased that the Drake continues to appeal to all ages, we have a mixed demographic - it’s just a lovely atmosphere.

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Holiday apartment
Holiday apartment -Credit:@ Vickery Holman

“I’ve enjoyed every minute. It’s been a wonderful career and I’ve made hundreds of friends among our customers and loyal staff team. While I still enjoy every day, in my heart I know that after 35 years it’s time for new blood to take the Drake forward.”

Selling agents, Vickery Holman, are offering the building and business for sale with a guide price of £745,000.

Michael Easton, for Vickery Holman said: “The Drake Manor Inn celebrates the history of pubs and inns in this country and whilst our client and their team have made positive changes to the venue over the years, they have maintained the character, that can so often be lost along the way. There is a convivial public bar and snug, alongside a quieter lounge bar and adjoining restaurant, food sales just under 50% of the overall revenue.

Drake Manor Inn, Buckland Monachorum
Drake Manor Inn, Buckland Monachorum -Credit:@ Vickery Holman

“Originally three-bedroom owner accommodation at first floor, it has been reworked as a smart two-bedroom holiday apartment and separate office, although can easily convert back depending on the new owner’s needs. In addition there is a large enclosed beer garden to the rear and separate area at the front. We are looking for the next owners to take on what is already a popular business and to continue with the good work already established by our client and initial interest in the first few weeks of marketing has been good. For anyone looking to be part of an active community and in a particularly scenic part of the county this may well suit their needs.”

Please contact Vickery Holman on 01752 261811 for more information.