CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Patrick’s pub trawls: Patrick McCaig visits The Duke of York, Iddesleigh

PUBLISHED: 16:03 23 March 2015 | UPDATED: 16:03 23 March 2015

Patrick McCaig

Patrick McCaig


In his regular series of columns for Devon Life, PATRICK McCAIG of The Otter Brewery takes us on a trawl of some of his favourite pubs

'The warmth of the fire coming from a classically over indulgent inglenook draws me in towards an enchanting bar of yesteryear''The warmth of the fire coming from a classically over indulgent inglenook draws me in towards an enchanting bar of yesteryear'

The Duke of York, Iddesleigh

We must have more variety of countryside and towns in Devon than most other counties. From the banks of the River Dart last month to the small hamlet of Iddesleigh this month, I feel lucky to live in Devon and even luckier to be reviewing our county’s finest pubs.

Iddesleigh is one of a number of villages between the moors where time seems to have stood still. The beauty of these places is the houses, pubs and farms look much as they would have done four or five centuries ago. The character and charm remains traditional, yet underneath this fabric there is a modern way of thinking that allows businesses to survive. Today I am visiting The Duke of York run by John Pittam and his longstanding bar manager Trevor.

Up the steps and pushing through the front door of this 15th century cob and stone thatched building, the warmth of the fire coming from a classically over indulgent inglenook draws me in towards an enchanting bar of yesteryear. The bar itself has never been altered and has that luxurious space behind it that could only be afforded in the olden days – a time capsule where cask ale comes straight from the barrel.

An army of locals give the impression they have come in from frozen fields to re-kindle their boilers with scrumpy and ale before returning to work alongside their heavy horses. In reality, it is the usual bunch of locals, chewing the modern day fat and doing what should be done in pubs right across our land.

Cleary, I had not done my research when I learned the Duke is associated with Michael Morpurgo’s book War Horse. I’m sure most people know but I was rather glad I didn’t, in that it allowed me to discover first hand the charm of this place that influenced the author. The Duke’s famous literary connections continue with a rich lineage of Poet Laureates associated with the pub – Scottish poet Sean Rafferty was a former landlord and Ted Hughes an enthusiastic local. The beginnings of the Penguin paperback also start here.

The Duke of York, IddesleighThe Duke of York, Iddesleigh

So having some great conversations with landlord and locals alike, I discover a descendent of the Mann family (Mann’s Brewery) is standing at the bar. Little did he realise his family developed the yeast we use to this day in the brewing of all our Otter beers. Small world! This conversation gave me the 30 minutes that was required to deliver the best steak and kidney pudding I have ever had.

This is a rural and farming community and as such you will never be short of hearty grub on your plate. What better way to enjoy it than in front of the fire with some local beer and cider? There is a slightly more refined evening option available in the dining room – I however was very happy with my lot!

As I drove down the valley towards Dartmoor, I felt an urge to turn around - I could hear The Duke of York calling me back. It is good to find a place that delivers so much more than good beer and food and I’m sure the Duke will be there for many more generations to come.

The details

Real Ale:

Otter Bitter, Otter Brewery

Broadside, Adnams Brewery

Local guests

Local Cider:

Winkleigh Crisp and Winkleigh Medium, Winkleigh Cider

Contact details:

The Duke of York, Iddesleigh, Winkleigh, Devon, EX19 8BG.

Tel: 01837 810253



Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Tue, 11:47

Now is the perfect time to head for the bright lights of Exeter, where you can hunker down in one of the city’s many pubs, cafés and indoor attractions. Here’s our pick of the best places to keep warm, dry and entertained | Words: Chrissy Harris

Read more
Tue, 08:15

From cosy pubs galore to winter beach walks, there’s plenty to enjoy in Devon at Christmas. We list 19 reasons you should come visit us this December.

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Devon is particularly stunning at this time of year and so we’ve picked out 18 stunning pictures that encapsulate the county during the festive period

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Devon is a joy to explore with its beautiful beaches, pretty woodland and charming towns and villages. Made even more magical under a blanket of glistening frost, we pick 12 walks to blow away the cobwebs in the county this winter

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A South Devon walk along a wreck-rich coastline with SIMONE STANBROOK-BYRNE

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

In the latest of our 24-hour tours of Devon’s best locations, we head to Britain’s Ocean City

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

With breathtaking beaches, rolling countryside, stately homes and unique villages, it’s no wonder high-profile film productions flock to Devon - how well do you know the movies that have set up camp here however?

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Whether it’s on our beautiful beaches, in our magnificent moors or within our stunning stately homes, film productions are constantly setting up in Devon. Here are 16 that you might not know used the county as a filming location

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

From angry spirits to headless horses and ghoulish monks, Devon has more than a few supernatural stories to get your skin crawling. We have picked 11 haunted places in the county

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

October is the perfect time to discover the joys of Exmoor. Jennette Baxter of Visit Exmoor suggests five great ways to enjoy autumn on the moor

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wild camping can be one of the best ways to escape the crowds for a night or two and lose yourself in the landscape - SOPHIE PAVELLE chooses her five favourite places to ‘wild-life’ camp in Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From sandy beaches and lighthouse-topped cliffs to views of the Jurassic Coast, the Devon coastline offers many perfect locations for a seaside walk. We pick 10 of the prettiest routes to take

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Take our quiz to find out how well you really know Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As the weather starts to warm up and the Devon countryside beckons, LIZZIE JANE of the National Trust in the South West offers plenty of walk ideas for you to try. Whether you want a relaxed Sunday stroll or a more strenuous hike, here are 10 walks across Devon (and beyond) to help you escape the crowds and head off the beaten track

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search