Pub in picturesque Devon village gets fresh lease of life

-Credit: (Image: The Bell Inn)
-Credit: (Image: The Bell Inn)

A pub in the picturesque North Devon countryside is being brought back to life by a new owner. He says he's hoping "build this pub up" and bring in more customers.

Last week, Joshua Johnson took over as director of The Bell Inn in Monkleigh, a small village between Torrington and Bideford. The pub's previous owners Roy and Sally Goodger left earlier this month for "personal reasons" and to be nearer to their family. They had run The Bell Inn since October 2019.

They wrote on their website: "Those who visit regularly are aware that we are planning to move away from these parts in the near future. This is purely for personal reasons, which come down to needing to be nearer family who live on the opposite coast."

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In the same post, they announced that Joshua would be taking the reins, alongside his mum Yvonne. Josh has been working in the hospitality industry since 2010 and is a qualified chef.

He currently also runs The Cavalier Inn in Torrington as manager but said he wanted to turn his hand to his own pub. The Bell Inn quickly emerged as a frontrunner as Joshua was keen to take on a countryside pub.

He said: "I wanted my own place so we decided to take a lease on this and bring it back to life. I wanted a country pub because that's the go-to destination for most customers now.

"It's a tourist destination, it's on a busy main road and has got a massive beer garden and car park. We've also got a wedding licence. It is quite [picturesque]. When you're out in our beer garden, all you can see is views across the valley."

Joshua says his experience running the Cavalier Inn meant he was wasn't fazed by the challenge of taking on a new boozer. He is expanding the food and drink menu, which has already been welcomed by locals.

He said: "Because of my experience at the Cavalier, it didn't really faze me. I just wanted to build this pub up. It was a dying pub due to the previous opening hours. Hopefully, we're going to turn that around and change it.

"It's a very old, thatched, traditional, country pub, serving local-style ales. The food offering is traditional pub food and a specials board.

"The locals are loving it and that there's somebody in here that's got new ideas."

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