California Cross, MODBURY, Ivybridge, PL21 0SG
This centuries-old inn stands in some of the most tranquil countryside in southern England, just a few miles from Dartmoor to the north and the cliffs and estuaries of the coast to the south. In fact, this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty encompasses the hills and vales which can be seen from the pub's landscaped gardens. Dating from the 14th century, its unusual name is thought to derive from local adventurers in the mid-19th century who heeded the call to 'go west' and waited at the nearby crossroads for the stage to take them on the first part of their journey to America's west coast. They must have suffered wistful thoughts of home when recalling their local pub, with its wizened old beams, exposed dressed stone walls and a fabulous, huge stone fireplace. Old rural prints and photographs, copper kettles, jugs, brasses and many other artefacts add to the rustic charm of the whitewashed pub's atmospheric interior. A family-run free house, the beers on tap are likely to include Sharp's and St Austell, the wine list has award-winning Devon wines from nearby Sharpham Vineyard, and the good-value house wines come from Chile. Having won accolades as a dining pub, head chef Tim Whiston's food is thoughtfully created and impressively flavoursome. Most ingredients are sourced from the bounty of the local countryside and waters, with meats from a supplier in nearby Loddiswell. Meals can be taken from the bar menu, but why not indulge in the à la carte menu from the inn's dining room? Appetising starters include twice baked goats' cheese soufflé, and the main course selection may include roasted monkfish, smoked bacon, potato and sweetcorn chowder. The special board adds to the choices.