Withypool is an ancient settlement, mentioned in the Doomsday Book, but with evidence of population since the Bronze Age.

At the end of the 14th Century, Geoffrey Chaucer - of Canterbury Tales fame - was in charge of the village as part of his duties as Forester of North Petherton Estate.

Since The Royal Oak Inn was built in Withypool, 300 years ago, it has attracted a variety of famous and infamous people. In 1866 R.D.Blackmore stayed at the Inn while writing his well-loved novel, 'Lorna Doone'; and during the 1930's the Inn was owned and run by Gwladys and Maxwell Knight, the spy-master and radio broadcaster, upon whom the character of 'M', James Bond's boss, was based.

In the week before D-Day, General Eisenhower came to Exmoor and Withypool to review some of his troops, and took the opportunity to visit The Royal Oak Inn while taking a break from planning the invasion.

There are letters and photographs on the walls of the Inn relating to these and other famous guests.