Monday, September 9, 2013

The Westleigh Inn Pub

Upon hearing that we were heading to Tapeley Park, we were tipped off by my uncle about the wonderful pub in Westeigh. He also suggested that we might find a short-cut to it through a garden wall at Tapeley. So while we were buying our entry tickets we asked Daphne in the estate shop if there was a path that might take us to Westleigh more quickly than going down the long driveway and along the main road. Once she leaned that we were on foot the helpful and very funny Daphne gave us detailed instructions on how to find the private lane and then the private road that would take us there. Several times during the instructions she mentioned that we would come to a sign marked "no entry, private" and each time, with a glint in her eye, she paused and then said "and you'll proceed through."
Being a miss-goody two shoes, I asked "What if we get stopped by Tapeley staff?"
To which she replied, "Tell them Daphne sent you."
Learning that we were going to the pub, Daphne (who lives in Westleigh) gave it her endorsement, declaring it a very fine pub, and Duncan, the owner, a very nice fellow.
And so once we were done exploring the gardens, with Dapne's blessing, we searched for the lane near the chickens and set off.  Due to its elevation, you can see the River Torridge from the property and across to  Bideford and Appledore and even further to distant Lundy Island (which you will be hearing about very soon). On the other hand, the wee village of Westleigh only half a mile away, is tucked into the landscape in such a way that it is not visible from the house.
We followed Daphne's instructions to the letter, and before long we were out of the grounds and on a very narrow path. Lined with hedgerows, we were unable to see over the top and therefore had no idea where we were headed, so it was somewhat with blind faith that we continued on our way. Our belief in Daphne's directions was complete and despite the heat of the day, we made good progress.
Eventually we came to a place where we could peek over the hedgerow and saw beautiful countryside, but not a village, large or small, was in sight. Our faith in Daphne did not falter, we continued on.

As we rounded another bend we saw a couple of houses and this postbox from King George's reign. Civilization at last! Though it appeared that this part of the country had somehow escaped the notice of the Royal Mail.
Around yet another bend and there was no mistaking it, we had arrived at the village and were amused by this humorous sign.

And there it was, the best sign of all.

We turned the corner as directed ... and proceeded down yet another lane...

and not only did we see the Inn but there was a man outside leaning against the wall gazing out at the street.  "Are you Duncan?" we asked.  He looked surprised and answered in the affirmative, clearly puzzled. "Daphne sent us! Are you open?"  And with that, we were invited in to have some lunch.

And the lunch was as advertised, everything was delicious and made from scratch! We resolved then and there that we would be back for dinner before out trip was over. We had a lot of laughs with Duncan in this cosy old inn and promised to send "every Canadian to the pub."

And we did come back, just over a week later, with my aunt and uncle to celebrate our wedding anniversary. The food was excellent, the staff warm and inviting, service very attentive and by far our best pub experience this trip. I can't wait to go back!

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