SIR Thomas Dyke Acland created six cottages that form Selworthy Green near Minehead in 1828 to create a model community for his poor, loyal, retired estate workers.

The census records labelled them purely as almshouses, with no names or numbers.

Much later the almshouses were given names.

They are now called Postman’s Cottage, Clematis Cottage, Periwinkle Cottage, Ivy’s Cottage, Westbourne and Bow Cottage.

In 2017 Periwinkle Cottage in Selworthy has become a delightful tea room, thanks to Paul Gibbs and David Pollard, who love their business and plan to stay for as long as possible.

Paul’s great grandparents were in service to the Acland family and his great grandmother was born in Selworthy.

Somerset County Gazette:

Their family of nine children lived in Selworthy and were all in service to the Aclands at one point in their lives.

Paul said: “My partner David and I have always had a foot in the hospitality industry. But never to this extent.

“We were both enjoying a teaching career until we were made redundant. I was teaching GCSE Hospitality and Catering, amongst other subjects and David was teaching Food and Beverage Services and some Professional Cookery to post-16 students.

“When the opportunity came up to take on the tenancy of Periwinkle Cottage and Clematis Cottage (now our gift shop and gallery), we jumped at the chance.”

Paul has loved cooking since he was a child, watching Delia Smith, Gary Rhodes and The Galloping Gourmet on TV.

He developed a love for home cooking after spending a few years in a local hotel and realised that cooking for other people’s enjoyment was a huge passion.

Everything apart from bread is baked in the bakery, so Paul and David know exactly what ingredients go into the baked goods their serve their customers.

This means they can make you aware of what you can eat if you have any allergies or dietary requirements.

The pair could not live without self-raising flour. Since opening in 2017, they have served over 20,000 slices of cake and 45,000 scones.

Somerset County Gazette:

Paul and David also use local ingredients where they can, with Stuart Lowen Butchers in Minehead providing their meat and free-range eggs, Glenmore Bakery in Williton providing their bread and Arthur David near Bristol providing fruit and vegetables.

Paul said: “I love to try new recipes and create new recipes. Although our menu is very small, we constantly try to offer a special dish.

“For the coming year we are focussing on seasonality. We have become used to buying all fruit and veg, all year round.

“This costs a fortune to produce as it is either all grown under plastic in heated, irrigated poly tunnels or is imported.

“We also hope to improve on our range of gluten free and vegan items on the menu.”

They have several popular dishes at Periwinkle Cottage, mainly the beef and horseradish sandwich and the coffee and walnut cake.

They both love making soup, including broccoli and stilton and Thai spiced roasted butternut squash.

Paul added: “There is working in a tea room, and there is working in THIS tea room.

“This is such a wonderful location and such a fascinating building that we can’t think of a better place to live and run our business from.

“We both love telling the story behind Selworthy Green and seeing the customers’ delight when they look out from the tea garden across open Exmoor moorland to Dunkery Beacon.

“We work seven days a week, eleven months of the year.

“We bake scones every morning and cakes during the day and during busy periods late into the night.

“But being here and doing what we do isn’t like a regular job, it’s a way of life, every day is different.

“We get to meet some wonderful people who appreciate this place as much as we do and at the end of a busy day there is nothing better than sitting in the garden in the total peace, looking at the ever-changing view.”

For more information or to book a table visit or call 01643 829111.

Somerset County Gazette: