Another outstanding and luxurious choice for food and rest is the Dunkery Beacon Country House Hotel, set back just 10 minutes’ drive above Dunster in the village of Wootton Courtenay.
Here John and Jane Bradley welcome you to one of the moor’s gems. Chef-proprietor John wins regional food awards year after year. Tasty and beautifully presented food in a contemporary setting can include Somerset rib-eye steaks followed by blackberry and apple crumble. Bread is made using flour from the watermill in Dunster.
John is careful to source as much food locally as possible, including the ruby red cattle for the steaks. Some food is grown even closer to home: John has two raised beds in the garden, one dominated by a big and juicy variety of strawberry called ‘Apple’, – you'll appreciate them in the fruit bowl at breakfast (they also appear in the John’s strawberry and vanilla jam).
Herbs from the garden such as oregano and lemon balm as well as courgette and Cavolo Nero make an appearance in John’s Mediterranean cooking, inspired by Italian, Spanish and North African dishes.
`It’s important to me to reflect their quality in my presentation,’ he says. ‘We all eat with our eyes before tasting the dish, and this lets our guests know that our great local produce has been reared and made with care by our farmers and producers and treated by me with respect.’
‘Winter can be a harsh time on Exmoor,’ he adds, ‘and it’s best to batten down the hatches on such days and light the fire, curl up on the sofa with a glass of wine and a good book.’ All of which can be done at the hotel.
By Mark Rowe