A picturesque pub in the heart of Exmoor has been snapped up by the National Trust.

The Hunters Inn. Picture: Chris FordThe Hunters Inn. Picture: Chris Ford

The Hunters Inn, which lies in the heart of Heddon Valley in West Exmoor, has been acquired by the trust for £1.2million.

The purchase of the pub adds to some 2,000 acres of land owned by the National Trust in Exmoor.

A statement from the National Trust said the purchase would help ‘secure the future of this beautiful coastal valley for nature and for people’.

It also vowed every pint and meal bought at the pub would help look after the valley’s wildlife and contribute to improved access for visitors.

The Hunters Inn. Picture: National Trust/Chris LaceyThe Hunters Inn. Picture: National Trust/Chris Lacey

Rob Joules, National Trust general manager for North Devon, said: “People love this valley and wildlife thrives here. By buying The Hunters Inn, we can do more to make people’s time here special, and do even more to support the wildlife and habitats that are seeing huge declines elsewhere.

“Working with the current staff and sourcing local produce are at the front of our minds as we take over The Hunters Inn.

“The Inn creates an excellent opportunity to provide a great source of hospitality for everyone right in the heart of the valley.”

Bespoke Hotels will now manage the pub, its restaurant and guest rooms on behalf of the Trust.

Visitors at Heddon Valley. Picture: Chris LaceyVisitors at Heddon Valley. Picture: Chris Lacey

It is believed the Hunters Inn has served ale as far back as the 18th century. It was rebuilt in 1906 in the style of a Swiss chalet, 11 years after it was almost completely destroyed by fire.

The pub comes with four acres of garden, and its purchase means footpaths can be re-routed off roads, and will make a better route for the Trust’s mobility vehicles.

Departing owner David Orton said: “I have really enjoyed owning Hunters Inn over the last 12 years and to have been part of the Inn’s rich history.

“I’m delighted that the National Trust is taking over as guardians, I know they will look after the inn and it will continue to be the heart of the magical Heddon valley, somewhere I’ll always call home.”