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Devon landlord returns to run his local pub threatened with closure five years ago

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A landlord has fulfilled a boyhood dream of owning his local pub and bringing it back to its former glory.
James Garnham, 38, has recently returned home to Clyst Hydon, East Devon to buy The Five Bells Inn.
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James, a pub manager by trade, has worked for various national brands before returning to his home roots to run the pub with his business partner and fiancée, Charlotte Bradley, 32.

The renowned Five Bells pub is just a short stroll from Riverlea
He said: “I’ve been going to the Five Bells for most of my life and I’ve always dreamed of owning it myself one day. I know how important the pub is to the local village and its community and I am thrilled to be able to be an integral part of that again.”
Five years ago the Five Bells Inn was in danger of closure and being sold to a building developer. This prompted the local community to launch a tireless ‘Save the Pub’ campaign and online petition run across social media. A local businessman subsequently bought the freehold to the pub which remains open and trading to this day. It is now just one of two pubs in Devon to hold a rare Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide for offering carefully prepared meals and excellent value for money.
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The pub is also the sponsor of the village cricket team, which is chaired by James’s brother Paul. Both boys have played for the Clyst Hydon cricket club for much of their lives so the Garnham family has a strong sense of loyalty to the community.
James said: “I remember what the pub used to be like in its heyday so I am passionate about returning it to its former glory. My plan is for the business to go back to doing pub grub for the locals whilst maintaining its Devon-wide reputation of the fine dining that famous local chef, Ian Webber, has built up over the last 4 years. Ian will be staying on with me to help grow the business.”
“I’m very passionate about real ale and local produce so I’m looking to build links with family owned breweries and farmers across East Devon and Exeter, keeping my suppliers as local as possible. My planned growth for the business will also provide the local community with new job opportunities in the sector.”
The pub dates back to the 1800s and with its traditional thatched roof has been the long-standing epicentre of the village for around 150 years. The Five Bells continues to grow both its local villager trade and gastro-pub reputation across the county, being just four miles from Cullompton and with easy access to the M5.
Source: Devon live