Pub owned by villagers is going strong and gets £20k makeover

Scott and Caroline Young ready to welcome guests to The Wishing Well Inn. SG110217-184TW
Scott and Caroline Young ready to welcome guests to The Wishing Well Inn. SG110217-184TW
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A pub rescued from closure by villagers is going from strength to strength and has undergone a £20,000 refurbishment.

The Wishing Well Inn in Main Road, Dyke, near Bourne, went into administration in 2013.

A consortium of villagers, including Brian Waltham, rescued the pub – and kept it open at a time when 29 pubs were closing every week.

In the first half of last year, pubs were still closing at the rate of 27 a week, slowing to 21 a week by July.

But The Wishing Well Inn continues to buck that trend and Brian says “we are continually reinvesting”.

Pub facilities include a 60-seater function room, 35-seater restaurant, 12 bedrooms and a two-acre caravan and camping site.

A recent refurbishment has focused on the bar and restaurant areas, including the fitting of new carpets and installation of a new bar, optics, and new seating as well as log burners. Bedrooms were also revamped.

Brian said: “January is a quiet month for most places so we chose January to close for a week to do the refurbishment for obvious reasons.”

Trade picked up for Valentine’s Day and the pub expects to be busier still with the approach of Mother’s Day, Easter and better weather.

Brian said: “The refurbishment that we have just done has been done with the intention of us being here for many years to come. We have no intentions of selling to any of the big chains.”

He says villagers and visitors alike value the fact that the pub is locally owned.

“I don’t think people necessarily want to be shovelled into the system that these big chains have,” says Brian. “All of our food is freshly prepared and we source as much as we can locally whereas if you go to some places it’s all frozen.”

There’s a varied menu and a Sunday carvery. The Wishing Well has a selection of real ales including Abott and IPA along with seasonal guest ales.

The pub is managed on the consortium’s behalf by husband and wife team Scott and Caroline Young.

Brian says business is stronger than it was at the outset and the consortium aims to go on investing in the pub.

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