Whenever the people of Wallington have trouble with flooding, they can be reassured help is nearby.
The Cob and Pen, in the heart of the village, near Fareham, keeps piles of sandbags in its car park ready for when the weather takes a turn for the worse.
When floods wreaked havoc and threatened to break Wallington’s weather defences before Christmas, residents found refuge in their cosy local.
Sitting in the warm with a pint of ale or two, they chatted about the ways they could help to improve each others’ flood defences.
Manager Kelly Anstee, 30, moved in on Thursday, December 20 and it was two days later that the rain began causing problems.
Despite having a rollercoaster start, Kelly said she has settled in well.
‘This is very much a locals’ pub,’ she said.
‘We get a lot of regulars and since the flooding we’ve had a lot of people from further afield coming in who are interested to know about the flooding.
‘Thankfully things have been OK in the village as of late.
‘There is a real sense of community spirit here and you could feel that strongly when the weather was bad.
‘Everyone helped each other out with their defences.
‘I’ve enjoyed things so far. As soon as I came here I fell in love with the village atmosphere.’
The pub is more than just a place to go for shelter.
It holds a weekly quiz night and has a darts and poker team.
Food is served during the day and there are four cask ales running through the taps; Tribute Ale, Doom Bar, Abbot Ale and a guest ale from Flowerpot Brewery, in Alresford.
Wallington Village Community Association also meet at the pub to talk about local issues.
Every summer the pub holds a huge barbecue and there is often live music on the day.
Staff also plan to hold a party on the day of Comic Relief – Friday, March 15.
Assistant manager Rob Hatherly, 28, who lives in Paddock Walk, near Port Solent, said the pub had a great community feel.
‘Everyone is really friendly,’ he said.
‘There’s always a great atmosphere here; especially as soon as the sun comes out.
‘The beer garden gets completely swamped with people.
‘The future of the pub is looking great.
‘Things have picked up in the last couple of years.’
MEET THE LANDLORD
SHE may be just 30, but Kelly Anstee has already gained a lot of experience in the drinks industry.
She helped to run the bar at Gosport and Fareham Rugby Football Club’s clubhouse for 11 years before arriving at The Cob and Pen.
Kelly decided to move on after realising she fancied doing something a bit different.
‘Running a club is a bit different to doing the same thing at a pub, but I’ve pretty much mastered things at The Cob and Pen now and I’ve got to grips with what you need to do in the cellar.
‘I came here after realising I fancied a change.
Kelly found out about the job through her brother Dan Harring, 29, who knew the pub’s leaseholder Nick Hunter, 49.
Nick, who lives in Fareham, also holds the lease of five other pubs across Hampshire.
He pops into his Wallington pub, which has 10 staff, three to four times a week to make sure things are being kept up to scratch.
‘The Cob and Pen is a great village pub,’ he said.
‘It’s the centre of the community and that’s what a pub should be.
‘The village supports everything that we do.
‘All the food we serve is produced on site.
‘I went there with my family for a carvery on Sunday and couldn’t get in because it was full, which was great to see.
The pub has a bar, snug area with three tables, a larger dining room and a room where people hold functions. The pub dishes up free buffets for parties that have more than 10 guests. Visit cobnpen.co.uk to find out more.