Swanton Abbott – Jolly Farmers

After my successfully led (that’s what I thought anyway) LDWA walk, we were on the look-out for a pub to visit, so we thought about coming back to the Jolly Farmers which we had walked by earlier on during the day. Initially, the omens looked a little unhopeful as Google had marked the pub as permanently closed. Usually, we’d have looked to try somewhere else, but Whatpub said it had re-opened on 4 July 2020 and they’re pretty reliable. As an aside, I’ve marked the pub as re-open on Google, so it no longer says permanently closed.

This has been a pub since at least the 1830s and for most of its life, it was one of two licensed premises in the village, but the Weavers Arms closed in 2003. There has been an effort to buy the Jolly Farmers for the community in recent years, in an attempt to ensure that it remains open.

The pub was very much open and had a handful of customers sitting outside. The bar was neatly roped off, with a friendly barman taking the orders. There were two real ales available, nothing particularly exciting, but all credit for having two well-kept ales in a village pub which were at the appropriate temperature (the beers were at the appropriate temperature, although the pub was too as it was pleasantly cool). It’s a perfectly acceptable selection given the circumstances, although the pub didn’t accept credit cards which makes it one of a dying breed.

I had forgotten how spacious the pub actually was, with another dining room as well, but since I only remember visiting once before, that is perhaps not entirely surprising. All clean and tidy, and I’m sure it’s quite atmospheric on a cold winter’s night when it’s a little busier.

This is not the most conveniently of placed doors, as you could walk out onto a car, but it’s clearly marked.

I have no idea about the ear, but the hand-dryer appeared to be from about 1960.

And a real effort has been made with the beer garden, which is spacious and well maintained.

I like this pub, it’s one that could have easily been lost over the years and closure has perhaps been an option on a few occasions. It would be far too easy for this to become a residential property, and a decent one at that with plenty of space, but it’s a useful community asset for Swanton Abbott to have. Real ale, friendly service and a clean environment, all rather lovely. The pub probably needs to do much more with social media though, they nearly lost our trade if it hadn’t of been for Whatpub, I can’t imagine that they have sufficient trade to be able to ignore their on-line presence entirely.