Wednesday 26th July 2023
Having joined “BritStop”, an umbrella organisation offering pub car parks for free overnight motorhome parking, no doubt hoping you will frequent the pub. We decided to give it a try, so left this afternoon and booked in at the “Portsmouth Arms Inn” Umberleigh, situated in the Taw Valley. We are actually booked into “Incledon Farm”, the same campsite we were at in June, for tomorrow.
After a dreadful journey in the pouring rain we arrived at the pub car park, one other motorhome parked, otherwise empty, well at the moment!! Around 1830hrs the car park suddenly filled up so not having booked a table decided to join them.
The landlord, Stephen, an affable chap with plenty of front of house charisma welcomed us, sorted a table and even took the drink order “and” then delivered them!! The food order on the other hand took longer to arrive due to a bar full of holiday makers who all ordered food and shortages staffed; we were the last to arrive as well.
Later in the evening after the diners had all left, Stephen sat down and chatted with us,
and low and behold it turns out there is some fascinating local history around here. He informed us this building dates back to 1420 and the interior is still in keeping with its low ceilings and dark wooden beams, as he said, centuries of history within the thick stone walls with many stories of death and debauchery.
In the late 1700’s the 4th Earl of Portsmouth, a politician before he inherited the title, built the turnpike from Exeter and Barnstable but later, being a champion of railways he supported the construction of a railway along the same route. The pub was named in his honour. The railway company decided to have a station about 50-meters down the road and named the station “The Portsmouth Arms”; This is the only station in the U.K. with a name of a pub and the railway still runs today and trains stop at The Portsmouth Arms Station.
After our chat it was time to head back to the car park for our free night which turned out quite expensive in the end😂🤣. “No Such Thing As A Free Lunch”