First birthday celebrations for Devon pub saved by villagers

PUBLISHED: 15:14 01 August 2014 | UPDATED: 15:17 01 August 2014

Chris Charles with the Exeter Chiefs on opening night

Chris Charles with the Exeter Chiefs on opening night


Five Bells Inn in Clyst Hydon celebrates the first year under new owners this August

A much-loved 16th Century mid-Devon pub that was saved by local villagers is gearing up to celebrate its first birthday under new ownership.

The Grade II listed Five Bells Inn at Clyst Hydon near Cullompton was rescued last year by the team behind the nearby award winning the Jack in the Green.

After it closed in February 2013, villagers had feared their only pub would be sold and converted into private housing after a period of decline and several different tenants.

Following a tireless ‘Save the Pub’ campaign and online petition run across social media, a new buyer was found in early March of last year and an intensive five-month refurbishment by local craftsmen quickly followed.

Since the re-opening, the new team run by Landlord Chris Charles (who previously managed the Jack for 7 years), has re-established this much loved and iconic thatched Inn at the heart of the close-knit community.

The team was bolstered in November when former ‘South West Chef of the Year’ Ian Webber joined after 6 years as Head Chef of the two Michelin starred Gidleigh Park near Chagford.

Now, exactly a year on from re-opening, Chris has created a weekend long set of fun packed events, including an appearance from the Exeter Chiefs and a village cricket match, aimed at brining the whole community together.

The emphasis will be on family fun throughout both days. There will also be cookery demonstrations by Ian, two lots of live jazz, a Westcountry Beer Festival, local band ‘No Refunds’ playing in the evening, a BBQ and hog roast and family orientated games including skittles and an egg throwing competition.

All the money raised from the raffle will go to support the local swimming pool and Clyst Hydon Cricket Club and will add to the £850 already raised in January.

Chris commented: “After 7 years managing one of the UK’s Top 50 Gastropubs, the opportunity to take the helm of this iconic pub proved too big a one to resist. The first twelve months have flown by and we’ve made a lot of new friends. The village seems genuinely delighted to have their pub back in capable hands and our birthday celebrations will be a way to say thank you to them all”.

There will be free entry and free parking throughout the weekend for anyone who would like to attend.

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