Pubs are at the heart of Warminster communities
By wp_alistair | Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 07:03
Throughout April CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has been focusing on "Community Pubs Month" to drive customers into local pubs and promote hard-working pub licensees. All this in an economic climate where 16 pubs close their doors in the UK every week.
A packed bar with plenty of locals at the Prince Leopold Inn at Upton Lovell
There can be no doubt that pubs are invaluable community assets, whether they are one of a number of pubs in the town centre, or an independent pub in a rural village, they each bring something different to the local community. Pubs in Warminster town centre are known, for example, for their support of and appreciation for our local troops based at Battlesbury Barracks, with regular charity events in favour of Help the Heroes. For example, town centre pubs such as the Old Bell, the Bath Arms, the Yew Tree and the Organ Inn are all very popular haunts for locals as well as soldiers from the 3 Yorks Battalion.
Some Warminster pubs have been recognised as being excellent "Community Pubs" which typify what a classic local pub should look and feel like; for example the Fox and Hounds public house on Deverill Road has been nomintaed by CAMRA as being the "Bath and Borders" Community Pub of the Year 2012 which is incredible given the competition in the Bath area.
Pauline Martin, who runs the Yew Tree on Boreham Road says, "Willy and I took over in January and have been delighted by the welcome we have received from old and new regulars. We both like the idea of a community local and that is what we are working hard to achieve here and we do seem to be succeeding, if all the feedback we get is right."
The Yew Tree offers regular live music evenings with acoustic sounds, blues, bluegrass, country and covers. The kitchen has been renovated and a new chef cooks home-made bar meals to order, and themed food nights coming up include a Country and Western Burger Night on 29 April and a Curry Night on Friday 4 May. As the only pub at this end of town on Boreham Road (before you get to Bishopstrow House Hotel) it is important that they get their offering right, and engage with the local community - as well as pull in customers from further afield.
Outside the town centre, Warminster has many outlying villages and often there is just one pub in each village, a focal point for the residents and somewhere to gather for family events or national celebrations.
In villages like Upton Scudamore (The Angel), Stockton (The Carriers Inn), Corton (The Dove) and Upton Lovell (The Prince Leopold) there is just one pub to serve the local community, and also hopefully act as a magnet for drawing new customers and business into the village, and promoting word-of-mouth about local businesses.
Charlie Duff, owner of the Prince Leopold Inn at Upton Lovell, grew up in the village and was a drinker at the pub in his formative years (and still!).
"When Upton Lovell lost its pub for six months in 2010 due to closure, the village really noticed the loss. In many ways the pub is the heart of the community. It is a centre of activity, a meeting place, a home for village events, and a thriving pub can provide income earning opportunities to more than 20 people full and part time. It is an important source of much needed local employment and procures many other local goods and services. The village feels, rightly, that the pub belongs to the village and that, without it, an important part of village life is missing."