Members of a West Devon village community are rallying together to take ownership of their local pub.

One of Devon’s oldest and best known pubs — The Drewe Arms in Drewsteignton — closed its doors last year after tough economic circumstances inflicted by the pandemic caused Stonegate Group to put the freehold up for sale. It is the first time in living memory that the pub freehold has been made available (having been a tied pub for many years) and village residents are now striving to take ownership of the historic venue and reopen it as a community pub for all to enjoy.

Efforts are being spearheaded and coordinated by a steering group (made up of local residents) who have launched a website on which those who wish to help can pledge an amount they would be willing to invest in a crowdfunding campaign to help secure the pub. Over £200,000 has already been pledged (although it is stressed there is no legal commitment at this stage) with the group aiming to reach £600,000 which, according to their business plan, will cover the purchase and maintenance costs required to make the pub operational.

Imogen Clements, a member of the steering group, said: “This is a really special pub, full of character, with a huge amount of history, heritage and affection stretching back generations. It’s connected to nearby Castle Drogo built at the turn of the century by Julius Drewe who renamed the pub The Drewe Arms. It’s in the Record Books thanks to Mabel Mudge, the UK’s longest-serving landlady, who managed The Drewe from 1919-1994.

“Such is the strength of feeling for this pub we’ve already had a great response to the campaign and want to keep building on that momentum. A lot of pledges have come in, but we need more to restore this pub back to its place as the beating heart of the community.”

Crowdfunding is intended to be one of various fundraising sources, with the steering group having applied for a range of grants open to community enterprises.

The group and residents intend for the pub to serve as a community hub, which can host activities such as exercise classes, film and sporting event screenings, music and arts events, open-mic nights, as well as wedding receptions and local celebrations.

To further spread the word and rally support, an impromptu pop-up pub event took place at the end of last month, which drew over 100 people of all ages to Drewsteignton’s village square. Imogen said: “The event worked really well. People love coming together and it felt like the old days when the pub was open, with the village square bustling with people. I’m sure we’ll do another."

For more details on the campaign, visit: and see the pub’s Facebook page at: