Experienced hospitality operators have taken over the Blue Ball coaching inn in Exmoor after acquiring the property off a guide price of £1.295m for the freehold.
Phil and Jan Hills, who formerly operated The Boathouse at Instow and The Seagate at Appledore, bought the historic Grade-II listed property from Nick Illingworth and family who have owned the Blue Ball Inn since 2007.
Nick will be staying on for a few months as part of the management to ensure a smooth transition for the new owners.
The Blue Ball Inn has 16 bedrooms and five separate public areas including a 120-cover restaurant which is also used for functions.
There is also a well-appointed one/two bedroom flat.
The property, believed to be named after the practice of raising a blue ball on a pole for guests to hail passing coaches, attracts large numbers of hikers and history enthusiasts, generating net sales in excess of £720,000 per annum.
Ed Jefferson, from Colliers International’s hotels team, said: “The Grade II listed inn, which has undergone a number of major refurbishments, has plenty going for it.
“Our clients, the Illingworth family, acquired the property in 2007 when it was known as the Exmoor Sandpiper, before they embarked on an ambitious overhaul which included restoring the inn’s former name,” he added.
The profitable business was on the market for the first time in a decade.