Devon and Somerset buying trip results

After a fantastic weekend away I have returned with a Land Rover full of good cider and some recommendations if you are heading to Devon or Somerset.

Hancocks Cider was my first port of call, I had discovered the company on the UK Cider website so I placed an order to collect on Friday. Its about 21/2 hours from Salisbury so I may not be visiting very often, but its in a nice part of the world and very near to Devon 4x4 if I ever need parts for the Landy. Hancocks don't sell direct to the public but even so a sign on the gate would be helpful, My sat nav took me to an unmarked track about a mile long with no indication that there might be a ciderworks nearby.

Luckily I persevered and eventually met with Helen who is part of the family that have been making cider for over 100 years. The cider looks nicely packaged and I'm looking forward to trying the 1976 Vintage that she supplied.

That night I stayed in The Silverton Inn about 10 miles outside Exeter. The pub is very friendly and welcoming and the room was good value and comfortable at £30 per night including breakfast. It only has a shared showeroom for the guests although there is a basin in the room. Food is served although I chose to eat just down the road. Unfortunately the website on their business card resolves to a holding page, but I do have a photograph:

The Silverton Inn, Fore Street, Silverton, Exeter, EX5 4HP
01392 860196

Silverton seems to be a pleasant and busy village with a Spar shop with butcher attached, a greengrocer and three pubs. There is also a regular bus service to and from Exeter which must be useful for both visitors and locals. It is lovely to be sitting in the sun waiting for breakfast to be cooked and for people to walk past and say hello, even to a stranger!

My evening meal was provided by The Three Tunns Inn, just 150 yards from the Silverton (I didn't visit the third pub, the Lamb). The menu in the Three Tunns is very extensive , spreading across 2 large blackboards in the dining area and a third board in the main bar with lighter snacks. Again the Landlord was very friendly and welcoming (not always a given for the lone male traveller) and I enjoyed a couple of pints of well kept Exmoor Ale (nice to see as normally I only buy their bottled range).

The food was a step up from the usual pub grub, without being gastro-pub naff which was nice, and a starter and main and the two pints came to £17.50 which was more than reasonable.

After an interesting day in Exeter doing an induction course for Wessex 4x4 Response (I hope to become a full member in the next couple of months) I made my way into Somerset to buy some more cider before heading home.

I have previously visited the area on several occasions to buy cider from Roger Wilkins and had never rea;ised previously that Wedmore is only 20 miles from the sea. I took full advantage this time, spending some time at Brean (driving on the beach is good fun) and visiting Weston Super Mare - I remmber going there with my Mother and Sister when I was a brat.

Supper and a bed for the night came from the Basonbridge Inn, in East Huntspill, after I couldn't find anywhere further up the coast. Not being a caravanner I didn't really fit in around Brean - there were serried ranks of them in fields all over the area.

The Basonbridge gives mixed messages and I couldn't really get my head round it. From the outside, driving past, it looks fairly smart and a good village pub.

Basonbridge Inn, East Huntspill, Highbridge, Somerset TA8 4RL
01278 782616

The interior is so far removed from the village pub idea I wondered if I was in the right place, with cafe style seating and high tables. However, the bar was busy with the local cricket team and the cider from Rich's up the road was only £2.00 per pint, so I felt obliged to have three to wash down my lasagne and chips.

My double room was very reasonable at £27.50 with breakfast and a nice comfy double bed although the en-suite was past its best and I was surprised at the lack of soap, shampoo and even a water glass.

Sunday morning I visted Rich's Cider to buy some stock but despite an email, using the contact form on the website and a phone call earlier in the week to arrange things there was no one there who could arrange a trade sale, so I left empty handed and instead went on to the wonderfulness that is Wilkins Cider. As always Roger was welcoming and friendly, the cider flowing freely to all visitors and I left happily with six boxes for the shop and Salisbury Beerex.

All in all a nice weekend away and one that I hope to repeat soon.

Devon Cider

I am visiting Exeter this coming weekend and will be stocking up on cider while I'm in Devon, both for the two shops and for Salisbury Beerex.

So far I have contacted, and hope to visit, Rich's Cider and Hancock's Cider, but do you have any other recommendations? I thought perhaps the cider making arm of Vigo Ltd would be a good bet but any other thoughts would be gratefully appreciated.

Locally produced charcoal

We are now stocking real, English charcoal made just down the road at Landford. This charcoal is much better quality than the imported type, so you are not only supporting a traditional local industry but also you will enjoy a BBQ that is easier to light and uses less fuel.

More information about the benefits of buying local charcoal can be found at

New arrivals in both shops

I'm pleased to announce that a delivery of Samuel Smiths beers has just arrived in both shops - we currently have stocks of:

Samuel Smiths Imperial Stout
Samuel Smiths India Ale
Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale
Samuel Smiths Outmeal Stout
Samuel Smiths Old Brewery Pale Ale
Samuel Smiths Organic Best Ale
Samuel Smiths Organic Cherry
Samuel Smiths Organic Cider
Samuel Smiths Organic Lager

We are very happy to despatch the bottles by courier to anywhere in mainland UK so please contact Abbey Stores 0n 01722 336984 or email for more details and prices.

Drink Beer and Carry On

The ideal message in these recession-nonsense times - carry on drinking beer, enjoying life and having fun.

Buy a t-shirt from this link and you can spread the message as well - I've just ordered one!

Salisbury in Swingtime

Come along to the Salisbury Guildhall this Thursday evening to enjoy dancing by candlelight to the International swing orchestera "Graham Dalby and the Gramaphones".

For more information and to download a flyer please see my Salisbury Scrutineer Post.