A centuries old village pub in the South Hams that was saved by locals has been crowned the best in South Devon by Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

The Tally Ho in Littlehempston faced being turned into a private house after it was closed down in 2011 – but the local community clubbed together and bought it, reopening it as a pub again in 2014.

Four years later, landlords Mike and Kelly Joiner bought the 700-year-old cosy thatched tavern after selling their pub in New Zealand and moving back to the South Hams.

Now the historic inn has won the South Devon CAMRA Pub of the Year 2022.

CAMRA judged the Tally Ho on the quality of its beer, food, hospitality and atmosphere and Kelly said the couple are “proud” to have scooped the top award.

“We feel proud to have received overall pub of the year because it reaffirms the hard work we have put in since it over in 2018, and the award is by people who understand the hospitality industry,” she said.

“The Tally Ho is very much a traditional Devon pub used not only by the villagers but by people from all of the surrounding villages plus Totnes, Newton Abbot and the Torbay area.

“It is as much an award for the people who support and have used us for many years as it is for us because without their support the pub would not be a success.

“The pandemic and knock-on lockdowns did affect all pub businesses and the current energy crisis and inflation is still having an effect on the pub trade, but we are determined to come out the other side and still be here offering a great service to our customers for a long time to come.”

Situated in the heart of the village, the Tally Ho has been serving its villagers since the 14th century when it was built for workers at St John the Baptist Church.

Tally Ho in Littlehempston. Image by Google (.)

It is recorded as being the Church House Inn in 1830, subsequently becoming the Bolton Arms, and finally changing its name to the Tally Ho in 1952.

The interior is ‘olde worlde’ with black timber beams, columns and panelling, both natural and painted thick stone walls and three open fireplaces, one of which has a wood burning stove.

Horse brasses, a bed pan, bugle and other sundry paraphernalia adorn the walls. At the rear of the premises is an enclosed beer garden, that leads to the pub’s own car park.

It has been in the Camra’s Good Beer Guide since it reopened in 2016 and was runner up in the Pub of the Year and is 2019 Rural Pub of the Year. This year it won Pub of the Year outright.