Sawmills is a waterside pub par excellence, sitting below Berrynarbor in the pretty Watermouth Valley between Ilfracombe and Combe Martin. Last year, the pub opened its doors after major refurbishment and boasts an artsy feel that’s in keeping with its working past. There’s plenty of light thanks to the huge panoramic window overlooking the extensive decked area, which sits just above the river.
This watering hole is run by a local family, and the staff are friendly and attentive, assisting in creating the easy-going vibe the pub is well-known for. Drinks-wise, there’s an impressive range of craft ale and cider as well as an extensive choice of wine. The kitchen team focuses on serving locally sourced produce, with Aberdeen Angus and Red Ruby Devon Beef coming from the farm up the road, rare-breed pork sourced from Taw Valley, and fish freshly landed in North Devon. It’s not just the quality, local food that’s impressive, it’s also big Bertha – the cast iron charcoal oven that adds a smoky flavour to everything. Main courses get the Bertha treatment and the result is impressive: the slow-cooked Exmoor brisket and pulled pork are stand-out dishes. With food served throughout the day, Sawmills is the ideal stop-off point for laid-back drinks and nibbles, a full-on banquet, or a memorable Sunday roast.