Cheers! It’s the return of village’s Black Horse pub

New landlord of the Black Horse in Walcote Nathan Miles.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
New landlord of the Black Horse in Walcote Nathan Miles. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
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A pub in a Harborough district village is to re-open soon, after being “saved” by local villagers.

The Black Horse at Walcote, near Lutterworth, will open again on Friday, December 2 at 7pm.

New landlord of the Black Horse in Walcote Nathan Miles.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

New landlord of the Black Horse in Walcote Nathan Miles. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

New landlord Nathan Miles (30) said: “It’s my first pub as a landlord and a very exciting venture.

“I just want to keep the pub as traditional and as true to itself as possible.”

Geof Cobbe of the village’s Community Benefit Society, who bought the building and resurrected the pub, added: “It’s been a four-year journey for us, but at last it’s all come together.”

The Black Horse closed in 2012, despite being newly re-built, popular with villagers for its beers and Thai food and winning an award from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

New landlord of the Black Horse in Walcote Nathan Miles.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

New landlord of the Black Horse in Walcote Nathan Miles. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Villagers were immediately concerned at the loss of an important community facility - and decided to do something about it.

A generous local benefactor helped a village Benefit Society to buy the pub.

A group of around 30 people, mainly local, have bought shares in the pub.

And a small village committee has brought the abandoned building up to standard with a programme of cleaning, re-wiring, re-decorating, and refurbishing.

Geof said: “The pub is basically owned by the village.

“It’s been a huge effort by a small but dedicated band which has resulted in a complete redecoration of the pub, right down to a new pub sign, painted and donated by a local artist.

“There was lots of interest in becoming the Black Horse publican, but we think we’re very lucky to have found Nathan.

“He’s got around 15 years experience in the industry and knows his way around.”

Now landlord Nathan, who lived for many years in Dunton Bassett, north of Lutterworth, is working hard to get the pub ready for opening in just over a week’s time.

He said: “The community is clearly so enthusiastic about the pub, and the fact that it is coming back to life is testament to their considerable commitment and effort.

“I look forward to enjoying working in Walcote and making the Black Horse respond responsibly to the community’s needs and its enthusiasm.”

“I’ll be using as much local produce as I can, and stocking ales from - amongst others - a couple of local breweries.”

Nathan will be running the kitchen at the pub, and will also live on the premises.

“It’s all a great opportunity for me, and hopefully for the pub itself” he said.

There are almost 53,000 UK pubs, according to the latest figures available from Camra.

That compares with almost 68,000 in the 1980s, a decline of 15,000 pubs or around 22 per cent in a generation.

There are currently around 20 pub closures a week across the country, which actually represents a slowing of the decline.

Experts believe there is a fightback led by small “micro-breweries” and a return to very local beers.