The Rock Inn Pub with rooms in Waterrow, Somerset

Prices from:
£85 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Half-timbered inn on fringes of Exmoor
  • Rustic-traditional bar; laid-back feel
  • Top-notch modern pub food
  • Try the homemade ice creams
  • Comfortable, refurbished bedrooms

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsCandlelitClose to WaterVisit a Stately Pile

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Overview

The Rock Inn Waterrow, Somerset, TA4 2AX

The personal touch

True to its name a third of this half-timbered former smithy and coaching inn is carved out of the rock, with parts of it visible in the bar next to the open fire. Set in a stunning green valley beside the River Tone between Bampton and Wiveliscombe on the southern fringe of Exmoor, the inn dates back over 450 years and has been comfortably upgraded over the past six year. Expect a laid back feel in the rustic-comfortable bar, with its worn, rug-strewn wood floor, thick beams, huge log burner pumping out welcome heat on cooler days, scrubbed old dining tables, and local farmers downing pints of Otter Ale at the bar. Steps lead to the small dining room, a cosy space with cool grey panelled walls and a handful of chunky tables topped with church candles. Add imaginative pub food, freshly prepared using local, seasonal ingredients, and the eight comfortably refurbished upstairs rooms and you have a very relaxing and peaceful rural bolthole for exploring Exmoor, the Quantock Hills and the glorious Somerset and North Devon coast.

Sticky fingers

Children are very welcome at the inn; there’s a family room with an extra single bed and fold up beds (£10) are available for the larger Superior Doubles. Smaller portions of the main menu dishes are served.

Muddy paws

Your canine chum can stay overnight with you (£10 per dog – except in the Attic and Box rooms) and they are allowed in the bar and dining room on leads.

Alfresco

Alfresco drinking and dining space is limited to a few tables on the small front terrace, which is shielded from the road by flowers tubs and a wooden screen.

What’s the damage?

8 doubles/twin: £85-£110

What else?

All credit cards taken

Disabled access to bar

Lockable bike storage

Limited parking – spaces to side and across the bridge opposite

 

Sleep

The Rock Inn Waterrow, Somerset, TA4 2AX

Do not disturb

Eight traditional rooms ramble across two floors of the old timbered pub; all are very comfortable and have been individually decorated in modern country style over the past few years. Some are kitted out with antique pine, others have big brass beds with smartly tiled bathrooms – all have Smart TVs, upholstered easy chairs, bold statement wallpapers, unusual small clock tables, hot water bottle, bathrobes, and a decent tea tray with fresh milk, cafetiere coffee and a homemade muffin on arrival. Due the age and configuration of the building, some bathrooms are compact but have good walk-in powers showers, while others have shower over baths. Spacious room 8 boasts stone walls, quirky animal wallpaper, a wood-burning stove and a big old pine bed with super-comfortable mattress, crisp linen and feather down quilt and pillows, so expect a restful night’s sleep.

What’s the damage?

8 doubles/twin: £85-£110

What else?

All credit cards taken

Disabled access to bar

Lockable bike storage

Limited parking – spaces to side and across the bridge opposite

 

Eat & Drink

The Rock Inn Waterrow, Somerset, TA4 2AX

Mastering the menu

(Starters: £6.50-£10; Main Courses: £15.95-£28; Desserts £7)

Expect inventive cooking using the top-notch produce sourced from local farms, Exmoor shoots and select suppliers, notably duck and chicken from Beech Ridge Farm up the road, steaks from Stillmans Butchers in Taunton, and locally grown seasonal soft fruits. The main menu and the chalkboard specials evolve with the seasons, combining pub favourites with more imaginative dishes. We tucked into a delicious baked soufflé with smoked haddock and cheese and perfectly cooked hand-dived Orkney scallops with a salad of chargrilled vegetables and a red pepper dressing for starters, following up with cannon of lamb with creamed carrot, hispi cabbage and boulangère potatoes. Equally appealing alternatives may take in Porlock Bay oysters, chargrilled Wye Valley asparagus with Parmesan, feather blade of beef braised in black garlic and black treacle for 14 hours and served the cheese mash, and Torbay sole pan-fried in garlic butter. Leave room for fabulous homemade ice creams (also available to take-away) or sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream, best washed down with a decent house wine or a pint of Otter Bitter.

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 8am – 10am

Lunch: 12 noon – 2pm

Dinner: 6.30pm – 9pm

Time at the bar

12 noon – 3pm & 6pm – 11pm. Closed Sunday evening, all day Monday and Tuesday lunchtime

What’s the damage?

8 doubles/twin: £85-£110

What else?

All credit cards taken

Disabled access to bar

Lockable bike storage

Limited parking – spaces to side and across the bridge opposite

 

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Rock Inn

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Rock Inn

Activities

6

Fossil Hunting, Watchet, Somerset TA23 0AA

Watchet is a delightful small harbour town with a maritime history going back two millennia. On the beach between Watchet and Warren Bay, Alabaster can be found in the cliffs, and it’s also a rich fossil hunting area – author Daniel Defoe was impressed with the quality and number of ammonites he found here!

10

Exmoor Pony Centre, Ashwick, Somerset TA22 9QE

This pony centre is dedicated to the promotion and conservation of Exmoor ponies, and you can have a great day’s trekking in magnificent countryside, enjoying the wildlife and flora at a leisurely pace.

11

Fishing on Exmoor TA24 7QP

A combination of beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife and exceptionally clean water makes fishing the rivers and streams on Exmoor a special pleasure. Permit fishing is available on the East Lyn, the Barle and the Exe along with a number of pools and reservoirs. Wimbleball Lake, near Dulverton has an excellent well stocked trout fishery

Places to visit

2

Knightshayes Court, Tiverton, Devon EX16 7RQ

A rare survival of eccentric designer William Burges, Knightshayes is a romantic Victorian country house with Gothic splendours inside, and celebrated formal gardens with lily ponds & humorous topiary, and a delightful restored kitchen garden, which supplies the good restaurant.

3

Dunster Castle, Dunster, Somerset TA24 6SL

Dunster sits on a dramatic hilltop location with sweeping views over the Bristol Channel and Exmoor – it’s a picture book romantic castle with turrets and towers. The gardens are terraced with sub-tropical plants, and you’ll find the National collection of strawberry trees here, alongside a lovely Mediterranean garden, and the famous Dunster lemons. Don’t miss the amazing oak staircase and ornate Gothic plasterwork inside the castle.

4

Selworthy, Somerset TA24 8TP

A delightful time-capsule village packed with character, thatched cottages and village greens situated in the National Trust’s Hornicote Estate. Historic All Saints church is perched on the side of a hill, with a staggering view of the Vale of Porlock – it’s worth going inside, to see the painted nave ceiling and 18th century gallery.

8

Cleeve Abbey, Washford, Somerset TA23 0PS

There’s 800 years of history at this picturesque Cistercian abbey, the most complete and unaltered set of monastic cloister buildings in England. Especially interesting are the Gatehouse and the 15th century refectory with its glorious angel roof and unusual painted chamber. The Great dormitory is one of the finest examples in the country.

9

Coleridge Cottage, Nether Stowey, Somerset TA5 1NQ

Coleridge moved to this modest house in 1796 with his wife Sara and young son David, and wrote Kubla Khan and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner here; his great friends William and Dorothy Wordsworth lived close by, and together they wrote some of their best known poetry.

Walking

www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/walking

Exmoor – a walker’s paradise. Whether you are an experienced walker or someone who prefers a short stroll, Exmoor National Park is the ideal place to explore the outdoors on foot. With over 1000km of footpaths and bridleways, through woodlands, by tumbling rivers and on open heather covered moorland, the variety is vast. Follow the footsteps of the romantic Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and walk part of the Coleridge Way (51 miles; Nether Stowey to Lynmouth) through the stunning Somerset countryside of the Quantock Hills, the Brendon Hills and Exmoor, a landscape that inspired Coleridge to produce some of his best known work.

Cycling

www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/road-cycling

Whether you’re a lycra-clad speed freak keen to follow in the tyre marks of the Tour of Britain road race, a mountain biker seeking the challenge of the stunning network of bridleways and lanes, or even looking to take in the landscape and atmosphere at a more relaxed pace, then Exmoor National Park has something for you.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: Set beside the B3227 between Bampton and Wiveliscombe, 14 miles east of Taunton and the M5 (Junction 25)

By Rail: Nearest railway station is Taunton, 14 miles away

Address:

, Waterrow, Somerset, TA4 2AX

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