After a walk in Chargot Woods with the pooches, what nicer than to drop in at the Royal Oak? Douglas (ex Hotel du Vin) is slowly restoring this pleasing red stone pub in a deep green valley in the Exmoor Country Park. Step in to find blackened beams, ancient flags, a hotch-potch of pine tables, a rustic oak settle: this bar is the place to be, especially when the wood-burner is roaring. There’s a warren of rooms, a record player at the back, vinyl to play, and Latin lessons on Thursdays (Douglas knows how to keep the locals happy). As for the food, it comes with linen napkins and brings a smile to your face: mackerel quenelles with Melba toast; pheasant from the beat with allotment vegetables and crunchy roasties; apple crumble with custard, and cheeses with homemade chutney. The beer is good, the wines are global, the service is fabulous. Bedrooms ramble around the first floor (one below with its own entrance; the suite with stunning views) and have cool neutral colours, sunken spotlights, smart tartan blinds, roll top tubs, drenching showers. Breakfast, the full cooked works, is delicious.