A PUBLIC house in the heart of Exmoor has been shortlisted for a ‘rural Oscar’ for the third time in eight years.

The Exmoor White Horse Inn, in Exford, won the regional Countryside Alliance Awards in 2019 and was previously shortlisted in 2015.

Now, owners Peter and Linda Hendrie, who bought the pub 35 years ago, have been shortlisted again for the 2024 award.

Mr and Mrs Hendrie said: “We are very grateful to once again be nominated for a ‘rural Oscar’ and we cannot thank our loyal customers enough for their ongoing and very much appreciated support.

“The loyalty shown to us has made the last 35 years here at the Exmoor White Horse Inn an absolute pleasure.”

The awards, which received more than 17,000 nominations this year, are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of British food and farming, enterprise, and heritage, recognising small, hard-working businesses.

Now in their 16th year, they have become the definitive rural business award to win and are set apart from other award schemes because they are driven by public nomination, offering customers an opportunity to say why their favourite businesses were worthy of national acclaim.

The Exmoor White Horse Inn has been welcoming customers by hoof, by foot, and by wheel since 1592, both locals and tourists.

The Exmoor White Horse Inn, in Exford, is in the running for another major award this year.
The Exmoor White Horse Inn, in Exford, is in the running for another major award this year. ( Exmoor White Horse Inn)

Mr and Mrs Hendrie recently celebrated their 35th anniversary with the popular and picturesque riverside pub, which is a central hub for the village.

During the Covid pandemic the inn became an important base for Exford, operating as a village shop, and more recently it started hosting weekly parish church Thursday coffee and cake mornings.

It also plays host to many local groups as a regular meeting venue throughout the year. 

Countryside Alliance Awards director Sarah Lee said: “We have been overwhelmed by nominations this year.

“The secret to the popularity is that they honour the people involved in these businesses and not just their produce or services.

“They exist to sing the praises of those who work hard to keep our communities and rural economy ticking, but do not seek the spotlight.

“These awards provide a cause for celebration in a time of great uncertainty in the countryside.

“Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition.”

The winners are being chosen via a public vote being held this month with the results to be announced in the spring.

The winners of each region will then be up against fellow winners from around the UK and national champions will be announced at a House of Lords reception in June.