Nurturing Nostalgia At Glebe House, A Guest House and Restaurant in Rural Devon

The view from the front door of Glebe House is of rolling, ruched-up fields, hidden ha-has, evergreen woodland, ancient farmsteads and their flocks—and a gardener riding a sit-on mower, carefully clipping the front lawn. It’s a scene that hasn’t changed in all the years Hugo Guest has known it.

glebe house: a former vicarage overlooking the unchanged coly valley in east de 14
Above: Glebe House: a former vicarage overlooking the unchanged Coly Valley in East Devon.

Hugo grew up in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty before leaving for university and a life in London. In 2020, when his parents suggested selling up, the lure of the valley proved too strong. Hugo and his wife, Olive, returned to rural Devon with a view to transformed his childhood home into a guesthouse and restaurant. The couple had spent some time abroad, finding inspiration in Italian “agrotourismos”, working farms with accommodation and a food offering that showcases the best of local produce. Hugo had also spent the previous two years working as a chef in some of London’s top restaurants. With the world in lockdown, the couple began transforming the 15 acres surrounding Glebe House, planting a vegetable and cutting garden, creating a space for pigs and chickens, and converting an old garage into an on-site bakery and temperature-controlled aging room for salumi production, a craft honed by Hugo in Italy.

the kitchen garden, which directly informs what appears on the daily changing m 15
Above: The kitchen garden, which directly informs what appears on the daily-changing menu. There are a range of “food experiences” available to guests at Glebe, including pasta making, bread making, mackerel fishing, and seasonal beach suppers.

hugo, olive, and their son, rufus. 16
Above: Hugo, Olive, and their son, Rufus.