Masons Arms gastropub up for sale as owners retire

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Retirement plans: Mark and Sarah Dodson of the Masons Arms
Retirement plans: Mark and Sarah Dodson of the Masons Arms

Related tags Gastropub Food Chef Top 50 gastropubs

The owners of one the UK’s best gastropubs have put the Masons Arms on the market following their decision to retire.

The 13th century Masons Arms, on the edge of Exmoor in Devon, is up for sale following the decision by Mark and Sarah Dodson to retire after 45 years in hospitality.

They bought the site in 2005 and were awarded a Michelin star in 2006, an accolade the Masons Arms still holds today.

The pub also stands at number 24 in the current Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list​.

Community role

Mark has had a stellar career, including joining the Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire, in 1983, where he worked alongside Michel Roux Snr. Following this, he worked at Cliveden House, Taplow, in 2001 as executive head chef, where he stayed until buying the Masons Arms.

Mark said: “We’ve loved owning and running the Masons Arms. Although we have a Michelin star, it’s also still the village local and has a role to play in the community here.

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“The 18 years we have spent here have been remarkable. We have achieved everything we set out to do by creating a first-class eating experience in relaxed and informal surroundings while maintaining the feel of the village pub.

“We hope we have brought a little bit of magic to north Devon but now is the time to hand over the reins to a new owner who will be able to hopefully continue with the success of the Masons Arms.”

Thriving business

He continued: “It’s time for us to retire and explore what the world has to offer, including seeing more of our daughters, our families and our friends.”

The Masons Arms is situated between Tiverton and Barnstaple so benefits from good transport links and proximity to the National Park of Exmoor and the north Devon coast.

Walkers, visitors and locals alike flock to the pub, making it a thriving business. With an inglenook fireplace in the main bar, a comfortable lounge with log burner, exposed beams throughout, cob walls and a thatched roof, it offers an exciting opportunity for a new owner.

“With a successful restaurant and bar and a charm all of its own, we’re delighted to be marketing the Masons Arms,” said Vickery Holman property consultants head of hospitality Michael Eason. “It comes with excellent owner accommodation with four bedrooms and a large garden.”

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