THE age-old Westcountry cream tea argument over whether to put the cream on the scone first and the jam on top, or should it be the other way around, has been cracked by Exmoor’s newest tea room owners.

Jessica and Antony Chipperfield, whose cafe is the highest coastal road tea room in Britain, can offer customers the best of both worlds.

The Rambler's Rest, in the grade two listed County Gate building, above Exmoor beauty spots Malmsmead, Oare, and Doone Valley, straddles the Somerset and Devon boundary – meaning cream teas can be served either way.

In their first week of trading since opening at Easter, Mr and Mrs Chipperfield found that whether to eat a cream tea with cream first or jam was a frequent conversation with customers.

Mrs Chipperfield said: “Of course, the answer all depends on where you sit in the tea room.

“Part of the tea room sits beyond the county line into Devon.

“It makes for an interesting chat.”

Opening The Rambler's Rest has been a ‘dream come true’ for the couple, who live in Porlock, and who have leased the old toll cottage from the National Trust.

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Antony and Jessica Chipperfield celebrate the opening of their Rambler's Rest tea room on Exmoor.

And the response, support, and custom the couple have received from the local community has been ‘overwhelmingly wonderful’.

Mrs Chipperfield told the Free Press: “Family, friends, neighbours, groups from various churches, familiar faces, and day trippers have turned up in their droves.

“Our first day of opening on Good Friday was immensely busy. But each day of our first week has been so well supported.

“Sunny days have seen customers enjoying our outside seating area as well as indoors.

“Our most memorable day was the day of terrible weather. There were definitely four seasons in one day and we even pondered whether we ought to open that day.

“We had gale force winds, sleet, hail, sideways rain, thunder and lightning, yet still people came. It was heart warming.”

Depending where you sit in The Rambler's Rest tea room on Exmoor you can have your cream tea served either way, jam first or cream first
Depending where you sit in The Rambler's Rest tea room on Exmoor you can have your cream tea served either way, jam first or cream first! ( )

Mrs Chipperfield said part-way through the storms the open top Exmoor Coaster bus service had to stop running because of the weather and First Bus had to use a single-decker instead.

But Mrs Chipperfield said: “We still had customers from that.

“Another customer needed their vehicle jump started. Others just braved the weather and enjoyed the cosiness of our tea room next to our log burner.

“It was a wonderful day of story sharing. And some lovely old tales from long ago shared by locals, whereby we learned of the history of the building.”

Mrs Chipperfield said the simplicity of the menu had proven a success, with ‘tasty lunches and homemade produce’ clearly appealing.

She said: “Our chef Jon has made the most mouth watering cakes and scones, served warm from the oven. 

“We always knew that The Rambler's Rest tea room would be more than just a tea room and already it is proving us right.

“What a wonderful start. We are very excited for the future of The Rambler’s Rest, and we have some exciting events coming up later in the season.”