Tucked up a narrow driveway behind cottages and the church in this unspoilt Devon village, the ancient ivy-clad tower (which gives this charming 14th-century inn its name) looms hauntingly above the pub. It is all that remains of the old College of Chantry Priests – the pub was built to accommodate the artisans who constructed the monastic college. Six hundred years on and this truly atmospheric village pub continues to welcome guests and the appeal, other than its peaceful location, is the excellent range of real ales on tap and the eclectic choice of modern pub grub prepared from locally sourced ingredients, which include smoked fish from Dartmouth, quality Devon-reared beef, and fresh fish and crab landed at Brixham. Expect hearty lunchtime sandwiches alongside the ploughman’s platter and mussels in cider cream broth. A typical evening meal may take in Devon crab gnocchi, tenderstem broccoli, spinach and crab bisque; or pan-roasted pigeon, celeriac, apple with walnut dressing; followed by 12-hour braised ox cheek, butternut squash, onion, wild mushroom and kale; or bouillabaisse with mussels, clams, tiger prawns, saffron potato, fish of the day and aïoli. Round off with pear and Amaretti tart and wash down with a pint of Otter Bitter or St Austell Proper Job. Stone walls, open fires, low beams, scrubbed oak tables and flagstone floors characterise the welcoming interior, the atmosphere enhanced at night with candlelit tables. There’s a splendid landscaped rear garden, perfect for summer alfresco meals. Visitors exploring Slapton Ley Nature Reserve and Slapton Sands should venture inland to seek out this ancient inn.
Closed: 1st 2wks Jan
Days closed: Sun eve in winter
Opening times: 12-3 6-11 (Sun 6-10.30)
Lunch opening: all wk 12-2.30
Dinner opening: all wk 6.30-9.30
Food and drink
Real ales: Butcombe Bitter, Otter Bitter, St Austell Proper Job, The South Hams Devon Pride