FOR 400 years many a weary traveller on their way into Devon has taken a pit-stop for refreshment at the Hunters Lodge, a former 16th century coaching inn, conveniently situated at the junction of Lyme Road and the main A35 towards Axminster.
And for many years it’s been a favourite watering hole for a meal out, a drink with friends or a venue for family occasions as well as catering for the passing trade on their way to holidaying in the West Country.
Over the years many popular publicans have run The Hunters, including Reg Dashfield, Martin Chipperfield and opera singer Craig Sullivan.
In more recent times it was run for several years by Neville and Sarah Causley, who made it one of the most popular eating out venues in the Axminster and Lyme Regis areas and built a big following for Neville’s famous quiz nights.
Since September 2017 the Hunters Lodge has become a family-run operation, extending the business in a number of ways.
For the Somers family, from Birmingham, this was a complete change of lifestyle with Tracy and Mark Somers, daughter Paige and son Reece having never run a licensed premises before.
They all have their specific duties with daughter Paige looking after front of house and her partner, Harry Loder, acting as bar manager.
Mr and Mrs Somers, with son Reece, are also involved in the day-to-day running of the business with head chef Dan Rowe running the kitchen. Mrs Somers particularly takes an interest in the delicious sweets on offer at the Hunters.
Paige told LymeOnline that it was a steep learning curve when they took over the Hunters Lodge and they were grateful for the great assistance and advice given by Neville Causley in the initial take-over period. Neville, now running the Causley Cabs taxi firm, still pops in from time to time.
But the family soon settled into the rhythm of running a busy pub and restaurant, sharing the duties, allowing Paige and Harry time to spend with their young family, and have used lockdown to make a number of changes to boost the business.
Whist the Hunters has been closed for the past three months they have added a new conservatory boosting the number of covers available to around the 70 mark. They are also planning to open the Hunters Bar and Grill adjacent to their extensive beer garden which will be ideal for barbecues and outdoor functions.
With all the social distancing and hygiene regulations being implemented, the Hunters is now fully opened again and after a slow start they are encouraged with the level of business following the relaxing of lockdown rules.
The Hunters has an extensive seven-day menu available between 12noon to 2.30pm and 6pm to 9pm Monday to Saturday. And they are open for food all day on a Sunday from 12noon to 9pm. They will also be taking part in the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme this August.
The bar is open from 11.30am to 3pm and 5.30pm to 10.30pm Monday to Saturday and all day on a Sunday.
See the website www.hunterslodgeinn.co.uk for the full menu or to book call 01297 33286.