Rural Freehouse Campaigning Trip

Tuesday 14 February 2017

On Saturday 11th February nearly fifty CAMRA members braved the winter weather and embarked on a Far East campaigning trip to some of the hard to get to rural pubs. Roger our trip organiser arranged for a coach to pick members up at various places throughout Cornwall. It was great that the Cornwall members were joined by Devon and Somerset members as well.

We arrived at Gunnislake our first stop and walked a short way down the hill to The Rising Sun which is an oak-beamed country inn dating from the 17th century and lies in a conservation area. It had a good choice of 5 real ales. The exposed stone walls and wooden beams allow for an extensive display of chinaware, while the beautiful terraced garden affords views of the Tamar Valley. A true community pub with live music most weekends and it hosts activities including games nights.

The Rising Sun, Gunnislake


After a quick hike back up the hill and a short ride we arrived at The Rifle Voluteer, St.Ann’s Chapel which was built as a mine captain's house in around 1800, then converted to a coaching inn during the mid-19th century. The main bar lead into a large conservatory with views over the garden and panoramic views across the Tamar Valley. This is where we were treated to plates of pasties meat and vegetarian which we were all very grateful for. There was a great range of beers available.

The Rifle Voluteer, St.Ann’s Chapel

The third pub on our trip was The White Hart, Chilsworthy, which is cosy rural community pub is tucked into the steep northern slopes of the Tamar Valley near the prominent landmark of Kit Hill. It has a wood-burning stoves set in two stone chimney breasts in what used to be separate bar rooms. There were horse brasses and other commonly artefacts. There was a small restaurant and garden to the rear enjoying spectacular views over Dartmoor and the Tamar Valley.

The White Hart, Chilsworthy

When we arrived at the next village Metherell, on our trip we had a choice of two pubs both within walking distance of each other. The Carpenters Arms and The Cross House.

The Carpenters Arms was located down a network of country lanes. It is a 15th century pub which is full of character and atmosphere. The public bar had slate with heavy black beams that held in place massive exposed stone walls. There was also a larger lounge which also functions as a dining area. There was also outdoor seating on the sun terrace.

The Carpenters Arms, Metherell

The Cross House was a large, comfortable, solidly-built rural family run pub. it has a small function room and separate dining area. Families and dogs are welcome it has an extensive garden with play area. The car park was very large and able to accommodate our coach while we frequented the facilities and sample the beers within the pub.

The Cross House, Metherell

The last pub on our tour was The Bull’s Head, Callington which is a 15th century pub located in the centre of Callington. The pub has been under the same family ownership for many years, and is frequented by many locals. The bar includes a comfortable lounge with vast stone fireplace, fairly low oak beams, latticed windows and a profusion of brass. The pub supports darts teams, and there is live music every Friday.

The Bull’s Head, Callington

This superb day discovering some of the less well known Free Houses in East Cornwall was a campaigning event with the strategic objectives, fundamentally to support Rural Pubs at the worst trading time of the year, to entice non-active CAMRA members to join us and get them more active and in hope of persuading licensees to expand their beer range to encourage beer drinkers. I must say the beers were definitely not boring as you can see by the list below, a wonderful and diverse selection. It was also great to meet members that have not been out on the trips before, we hope to see you again.

If you were not able to join us this time please do drop into one of the pubs you wont be disappointed. Alternatively keep your eyes out for one of our next trips which we are planning to the areas of Bode, Tintagel and pubs the A30 By-Passed. Were hopefully see you there.

On behalf of CAMRA I would like to say a big thank you to all the pubs that looked after us throughout the day with snacks, lunch and a great range of beers. A massive thank you to the bus driver who waited round for us while we enjoyed our fantastic Cornish pubs and to Roger out transport secretary for organising the day.

Some of the Beers seen on the day Brains Rev James, Cornish Chough Cadgwith Crabber, Cotleigh Barn Owl, Cottage Rebellion, Dartmoor Jail Ale, Driftwood Lou’s Brew, Exmoor Ale, Wadworth Horizon, Moorstone Ruby Red, Otter Amber, Sharps Doom Bar & Special, St Austell Tribute & Trelawney, Tavy Ales Best, Teignworthy Real Ale & Spring Tide, Urban Island DSB

Sonia Bunce, Press Officer. Pictures by Steve Barber and Bob Bunce.