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Love Your Local: The Woodmancote pub

HAPPY Johnny Miller (left), and Jim Paget who are the landlords of The Woodmancote  (123581-2)

HAPPY Johnny Miller (left), and Jim Paget who are the landlords of The Woodmancote (123581-2)

They spent 20 years enjoying life as the owners of three restaurants in Spain.

Now entrepreneurial couple Jim Paget and John Miller have swapped the sunny sights of the continent for life as the landlords of The Woodmancote pub, in Woodmancote, near Emsworth.

At the beginning of the year they returned to the UK and bought the village pub, which was empty at the time, because they wanted to try something new.

They spent two months completely renovating it before opening it to the public.

And on first impressions people will discover it’s a traditional boozer with a few quirky twists.

The building is split into five different areas, and in two of them – a library and dining area – there are two dressed-up dummies.

The library is furnished with oil paintings and candles and has seating for 16 people.

And scattered around the whole place are big bowls with colourful flowers. Each table has a tall glass with lily flowers in.

The choice of food available is of a traditional variety – including beef stews, dumplings, pies, casseroles, game meats and even lamb testicles.

The meals can be washed down with a selection of three ales – which at the moment are Doom Bar, Summer Lightning and Woodies Ale, a beer specially-made for the pub.

Mr Paget, 61, said: ‘This new venture of ours has become far more successful than we thought it would be.

‘I love pubs, and it was sad to see so many closing down when we came back to the UK.

‘But we’re proving to be extremely popular.

‘We’re a traditional pub that does traditional food. But we’ve tried to bring it up to date a bit.

‘No-one these days wants to sit on an old wooden stool.

‘So we’ve got some nice seating areas for people.

‘We want to make it feel like they are relaxing in their own homes.

‘Our customers have been very impressed with the changes we’ve made.

‘We just wanted to give them something a bit different.’

If the pub has a few quiet spells over the winter months Mr Paget plans to organise a few dinner-themed nights for guests.

And in a bid to make sure customers don’t drink and drive this Christmas the pub it is setting up a shuttle bus service from the pub.

On New Year’s Eve a Spanish singer will perform.

Mr Paget said: ‘We’ve taken quite a few bookings for already which is nice to see, considering that we are still a fairly new pub.’

MEET THE LANDLORD

LANDLORD John Miller saw The Woodmancote as the perfect place to start afresh.

He fell in love with the Woodmancote village while he was on holiday there with his partner Mr Paget.

‘We call Woodmancote the hidden jewel,’ Mr Miller, 62, said.

‘It’s a fantastic place. It’s easily accessible and it’s got bags of character. It’s a nice little hamlet.’

Mr Miller grew up in the pub trade. His parents John and Pat Miller ran The Jolly Sailor in Southsea when he was 10.

‘The pub trade was something I was brought up in and I thought I would make a career of it. I’ve always enjoyed it so I’ve never thought of changing paths. The pub is like one’s home. That’s how you run a successful pub. You have to welcome your guests as if they are walking into your home.’

Before their time in Spain, Mr Miller and Mr Paget ran a pub company called JM Inns, which owned around 20 pubs on the south coast of the UK.

The couple then sold off their business before venturing off abroad. Talking about their decision to return to the UK, Mr Miller said: ‘You just do what you do. We had a great time over there but saw it as the right time to come back. Our time at The Woodmancote has been extremely successful. We don’t have any great plans for the next 12 months.

‘It will just be a case of building up our popularity and continue making the place the best it can possibly be.

‘It’s got a nice quirky feel to it.’

 

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