Celebrating Winter on Exmoor

Exmoor in winter is beautiful, no matter what the weather. Go for a drive, a walk, pop in for a meal or grab a takeaway. Whatever you do – enjoy the beauty around you and, if you can, support our local businesses.

Today, with the end of Lockdown 2.0, many restaurants, pubs and accommodation providers are open again on Exmoor. With Somerset and Devon placed in Tier 2, there are still quite a few restrictions. You can are only allowed to spend time with members of your own household, and you will not be able to just pop down to the pub for a drink. Here is the link to the Government website with a full explanation of the dos and don’ts.

And if you can’t get out at all, then we hope you can escape virtually when looking at the fantastic photos shared in our photo group and page on Facebook or on Instagram.

Laura Claughan posted these photos a few days ago in our photo group:

“There is something truly magical about Exmoor. So many feet have wandered along the winding paths, trodden the mud puddles and stopped to take in the mesmerising view. Yet as you wander, you feel like no one has ventured before you. Exmoor is medicine for the soul, and I was medicated today. 🥾❤️.”

— Laura Claughan
(30 November 2020 in our Exmoor4all Photo Group)

Calling all restaurants, pubs, tearooms & producers: Sign up for the 2018 Exmoor Food Fest

The 2018 Exmoor Food Fest is going to be even bigger and better than our previous festivals. Once again, we will be celebrating the best that our region has to offer all through February.

We are now calling all food related businesses – restaurants, pubs, tea rooms – to sign up to be part of the 2018 Exmoor Food Fest and offer amazing Exmoor Food Fest deals* to their customers.


We are also looking for local producers who would like to take part in our “Taste Exmoor at The Beach Hotel” event in Minehead on 3 and 4 February 2018.  It is going to be a fun weekend with cook-offs, bake-offs, presentations and workshops, and of course a food & drink fair. You can sign up here.

Do you have any further questions? Then please don’t hesitate to ask. Just send us an email, and we’ll get back to you asap.

(*) We will explain this all in great detail when you sign up!

PS Are you interested in being amongst the first to know what is happening during the Exmoor Food Fest? Then sign up to our newsletter here.

Local business donates scholarship for West Somerset College’s hospitality student

Rosemary Overall and Tony O'Shaughnassy from The Culbone.  Photo by Steve Quantick

Rosemary Overall and Tony O’Shaughnassy from The Culbone.
Photo by Steve Quantick

Last week, West Somerset College’s hospitality student Rosemary Overall was presented with the inaugural The Culbone Scholarship for Hospitality Student of the Year.

Rosemary, who is in her last year at The Combe training restaurant in Minehead, was chosen for her commitment and keen interest, both in the kitchen and front of house.
A few months ago, Tony O’Shaughnassy, the owner of The Culbone on Porlock Hill, had contacted the The Combe to find a way to support outstanding students in the hospitality sector, to help develop young people in an industry which is so vital to Exmoor.  Finally, the idea for the scholarship was born, a suitable student found and the scholarship’s finer details developed.
“We think that the College’s hospitality course is outstanding. The food prepared by the students is amazing.  We see The Culbone as at the heart of the community, and helping young people excel is very close to our heart,” explained Tony. “Rosemary is a very worthy recipient of our scholarship, and we look forward to catching up with Rosemary in London in September.”
Tony presented Rosemary with a certificate in The Combe in the presence of Paul Gibbs, Acting Faculty Leader, and Werner Hartholt, Chef Lecturer.  The scholarship will take her to the London School for Wine and Spirits in September to do a two-week WSET Level 3 course.  It also covers travel, accommodation, pocket money and dinner with Somerset Life’s Food Editor, Susan Clark, in one of London’s top restaurants.

Paul Gibbs commented: “We are very grateful to The Culbone for their generous support for Rosemary.  Rosemary has impressed us with her dedication and hard work, both in the kitchen and front of house. This course will be of great benefit to her future career.”
The Combe students will join The Culbone team for a special event later this year.


Werner Hartholz (Chef Lecturer), Paul Gibbs (Acting Faculty Leader), Rosemary Overall, Tony O’Shaughnassy (The Culbone)

Exmoor Food Fest has launched!

The Exmoor Food Fest was launched with great success on Wednesday, 28 January, at The Combe, the training restaurant at the Skills & Enterprise Centre (West Somerset College, Minehead) when Michelin star chefs Mark Dodson, Thomas Carr , Andrew Dixon and  Richard Boggie cooked an amazing five course dinner with the Combe’s hospitality students for invited guests.

Richard Boggie was in charge of the Amuse Bouche , Mackerel ceviche, wasabi and Exmoor Caviar, which set the tone for an amazing feast. The former Combe student who left the College two years ago, is now Chef de Partie at the renowned Bath Priory.

Mark Dodson, whose restaurant Masons Arms in Knowstone holds one Michelin star, followed with a starter of tuna on Chinese cabbage.   Thomas Carr,former headchef at Nathan Outlaw’s restaurant and now owner of The Olive Room in Ilfracombe, followed with Exmoor rump of beef, tongue and Jacobs ladder pie, 
 herb dumpling, ginger carrot and, for the vegetarian guests, truffle and potato terrine, crispy free range hens egg and 
 pickled mushroom dressing .

Guests were then treated to a pre-dessert by Richard Boggie, set Tonka bean cream, apple caramel and cider, followed by Andrew Dixon’s (The Cafe at Porlock Weir) apple tart tatin

“Great students, great food, great evening”, commented Mark Dodson on Twitter.

Hollie Borland, reporter for the Somerset County Gazette tweeted “What an amazing evening put on @The_Combe_Mhead by #WestSomCol students too for the #ExmoorFoodFest launch #poshnosh”.

Martin Hesp, editor-at-large for the Western Morning News, tweeted “Been to amazing launch of #ExmoorFoodFest tonight – thanks students of #WestSomersetCollege and chef tutors.”  This was seconded by Somerset Life editor Charlotte Skidmore who also tweeted “What amazing food at the launch of #ExmoorFoodFest”.

It was a brilliant experience for the hospitality students who all enjoyed working with these top chefs. One student tweeted to the chefs “Thank you for tonight in the kitchen. Amazing experience in there to watch what you all do!”

The Masons Arms, The Olive Room , The Cafe at Porlock Weir and The Combe all take part in the Exmoor Food Fest during February, offering the deal of 2 courses for £10.00/ 3 courses for £15.00.  Please check on their pages on what days this offer is available.

To see some of the photos Clayton Jane took at the launch, please pop over to exmoorfoodfest.com



NewsFlash: Pips Fish Opens in Minehead 9 July

Basic CMYK


New restaurant & takeaway promotes fresh and sustainable seafood menu


Pips Fish (www.PipsFish.co.uk) a brand new fish & chip restaurant from the team behind award-winning The Culbone, opens its doors just in time for the summer season in Minehead on Thursday 11 July. This exciting new 36 seat licensed restaurant and takeaway at 35, The Avenue fulfils a long-held dream of Executive Head Chef Jack Scarterfield who is determined to share his passion for fresh and sustainable sea food.


“The seafood available in the South west is excellent,” says Scarterfield, a Somerset lad whose experience in London and Thailand and famous restaurant group Fishworks has already stood him in good stead during themed Seafood Nights and Cookery master- classes at The Culbone. “We have done our research and will be able to offer a great choice of top quality fresh fish all from sustainable and responsible sources. Our Bass and Bream are farmed locally from the sea to the plate in hours, succulent Scallops come from Lyme Bay, and fresh Squid, Sole, Pollack, Whiting, Mullet and John Dory (to name but a few) come from the Brixham day boats. Cod and Haddock will arrive from Norway – the only MSC approved sustainable fishing grounds at the moment. And our smoked fish (salmon, haddock, sprats and eels) is to be cured and smoked by Jacqui of local company El Pescadero.”


All the battered takeaway fish will be coated in Jack’s Exmoor Ale batter and fried in a flavoursome oil which can be enjoyed by all. The Team carried out an extensive local survey to ask whether Pips Fish should use oil or beef dripping and the response was overwhelmingly in favour of the oil.


Listening to their customers is something that The Culbone team do very well and has already contributed to the success of Exmoor’s highest restaurant with rooms. “Very early on we created Pips Club at The Culbone to encourage local people to get involved with the business,” says General Manager Mark Sanders. “We now have over 1,200 members and their suggestions have been invaluable to us. In return we make sure that they get to hear first about our very best special offers and new ventures.”


Mark is committed to keeping it local and Pips Fish will be supporting the RNLI service and the essential work they do by donating 10p from every purchase of local fish to the Minehead station. They will also be supporting Minehead Cricket Club and Bowling Club with annual sponsorship. A new team of talented young people from Minehead and Watchet are being trained up to staff the premises.


The restaurant site has been completely refurbished and a new skylight added which will provide a light and airy interior. The décor has been influenced by the clean blue and white designs of the Brixham Fish market which sells some of the finest fish in the UK. There are 36 seats inside and 32 outside where those ordering from the takeaway service are welcome to use. The restaurant and takeaway will be open from 9 July onwards Tuesdays to Saturdays 12 noon – 10pm and on Sundays 12 noon to 5pm.


Pips Fish, 35 The Avenue, Minehead, TA24 5AY www.pipsfish.com 01643 708353 (Taking bookings from 24th June)