The Mill End Hotel near Chagford is located on the banks of the River Teign on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park. A mill existed here from the 15th Century, built to grind cereal into flour. This ceased production in 1922 when the building was converted to a private residence. A few years later, in 1929, Mill End took on its new role as a country house hotel. The 18ft water wheel at the heart of Mill End was renovated in 1998. It is served from a leat (an artificial aqueduct common on Dartmoor) managed by sluice gates off the river, which runs under the kitchens.
The hotel offers twenty individually-styled bedrooms, comfy lounges, log fires and riverside gardens. A stone bridge provides access to footpaths – the National Trust owned Castle Drogo Estate in one direction, and into the town of Chagford in the other. The river valley through which these paths pass would be temperate rainforest if left to flourish. Look closely and there are many signs of nature doing her best to rewild.
Husband and I booked into Mill End for a three night stay on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis in early November. We opted not to upgrade as the standard double room sounded perfectly acceptable. It was. The bed was comfy and the room offered plenty of space for my daily yoga workout. The bathroom was generously proportioned with a good sized bath and pleasingly powerful water pressure for the shower.
The hotel prides itself on being dog friendly. A large boot room is provided with a ‘doggy shower’ outside and then a basket of towels to help dry a canine friend off. A jar of doggy treats ensures that they are rewarded for compliance. Not being dog owners, we did not require these extras but were grateful for somewhere to leave our damp, muddy boots and trainers after each day’s exertions.
We tend to select our accommodation for active holidays based on food recommendations in the area we wish to visit. Mill End has been awarded two AA Rosettes and uses local produce when possible – all of which appealed. As hoped, dinner each evening was a highlight of our stay.
Pre dinner drinks were enjoyed in a comfy lounge, warmed by a log burner. When ready, we then moved into the pleasantly proportioned restaurant which was busy throughout our stay – this did not effect the excellent service. An amuse bouche was provided before the courses selected were served. Portions were generous with impressive quality and presentation – the chef knows how to mix flavours to make dishes pleasing and interesting. The nicely varied cheese board, chosen in lieu of a sweet pudding, did not cost extra. Menus changed daily.
As is our wont, we missed the designated breakfast sitting on the Saturday morning due to our participation in a local Parkrun. On telling staff, we were offered the option of a bacon sandwich on our return. This tasty treat was waiting for us at the time suggested, piping hot and including a beautifully cooked egg. Fruit juice had also been left out for us and a lovely waitress brought us a jug of freshly brewed coffee, so welcome after a damp run on a seriously challenging course that had left us in need of a warming pick-me-up. We were very grateful that this kindly offered extra was not treated as an imposition.
On subsequent mornings we enjoyed breakfast as intended. A selection of juices, fresh fruit, cereals and pastries were available at a buffet. Cooked options were made to order with minor adjustments to listed options accommodated. We felt well fuelled for our active days.
We had a lovely stay at this hotel. All staff encountered were unfailingly friendly and helpful. The location was perfect for walks both at river level and on the moors. The weather could have been better but facilities at the hotel ensured we could dry out and warm up quickly. If looking to visit Dartmoor, Mill End is well worth considering as a welcoming and comfortable base.