South Devon

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

The Drewe Arms Drewsteignton

Thursday 14 December 2023

Good news for the CAMRA community and congratulations to The Drewsteignton Community Society Limited!

The Drewe Arms

1. Drewe Arms passes into private ownership as the locals unite to save the pub.
2. The Drewe Arms was once home to Britain’s longest serving landlady, Mabel Mudge who served behind the bar for 75 years!
3. The community has bought the historic Grade ll pub.

The Drewe Arms on Dartmoor is a thatched grade II inn dating from the 17th Century and included in CAMRA’s national list for historic pub interiors, has been sold to the local community
The inn has been bought by The Drewsteignton Community Society Limited which was created by a number of the local residents who are keen to save the pub and protect it for future generations. The group established a crowd-funding initiative to raise funds to not only purchase the venue, but to start making the necessary repairs and improvements to create a sustainable model and to celebrate the pub’s rich history, location and layout.
Speaking on behalf of the new owners, Toby Rubbra comments: ‘We have all known The Drewe for many years and it had been devastating to see its decline and eventual closure in 2022. Some of us were involved in helping Mabel Mudge with the site when she retired in the early nineties after 75 years behind the bar! Knowing what a great venue it has been and could be, a few of us got together and talked about how we might secure the pub and keep the village as a local hub. These conversations evolved and with considerable help, guidance and community support we are now in the happy position we are in today.’

South-West commercial agents Vickery Holman acted for the previous owners of the inn and handling the process, Mike Easton comments, ‘This was truly a rare opportunity to own a piece of Dartmoor’s history and to invest in what we consider a sleeping giant of a venue. Our understanding is that this may be the first time the Drewe has been owned by a private individual, having been under brewery ownership for as long as anyone can remember. The venue offers much, particularly with the underused Long Room (function room) at the rear and the location on the edge of the Moor, right on the Two Moors Way and within 20 minutes of Exeter. I look forward to seeing the pub up and running again and the community’s plans develop, and I would like to thank the community steering group in the positive way they have approached the process.’
It is reported that a public house stood on the site earlier than the current building and there have been various names over the years. It was recorded as the New Inn in the 1890’s and the Druid’s Inn until the 1920’s when it changed again to the name it holds today, The Drewe Arms. This latest name derived from Julius Drewe, the tea merchant who built Castle Drogo nearby. From 1919 until 1994 the Drewe Arms was run by Mabel Mudge, who retired aged 99 after 75 years in situ.
Glyn and Jane Martin, part of the steering group add ‘Now we have completed the purchase, the initial plan will be to open in March next year with ‘pop-up’ events in the meantime. We have engaged Simon Saunders who is a well-respected publican and known to many on Dartmoor. He plans to manage the pub while retaining his own successful business in Chagford. In addition, we will be looking at a better use of the Long room and creating a more efficient use of the kitchen and dining facilities whilst maintaining the key ingredient – that of the heritage of the pub. Longer term we have plans to reintroduce accommodation so that customers can stay and get the true Dartmoor community experience.’

Toby concludes ‘In short, we could not have achieved any of this without the financial support of the hundreds of people who have bought shares and donated to the cause and for that we are very thankful. We already know that there will be support for our working parties to start to repair and restore this fantastic Devon Inn and to see our local and wider community give so generously is heartwarming indeed.’

The Drewe Arms was sold off a guide price of £500,000 via www.vickeryholman