Inside the Hampshire country pub that the community saved 10 years ago
It nearly followed the fate of so many country pubs but the community fought for it, and now the Harvest Home is a thriving local at the heart of its community.
Ten years ago, the pub, in Southwick Road, Denmead, nearly closed after a rollercoaster few years.
But luckily Dawn and Darren Anchor, who ran a nearby golf club, saw its potential, stepped in and took over the pub – restoring its magic and turning its fortunes around.
Together with locals, they saved the pub from the clutches of developers, and it’s now a thriving business with manager Christine Hicks at its helm.
Christine, from Cosham, said: ‘We’ve been here for 10 years in May. Dawn and Darren saw the pub – and saw that they could do something with it. It was a bit slow to start with but we’ve turned it into a proper country pub.
‘People campaigned to keep it open and we were so happy they won. It has gone from strength to strength. We have a few plans to change things, like the menu next month, but if it works then why change it? We already have a winning formula.’
The pub is a welcoming place for all – and is popular with dog walkers, walkers, families and community groups. It is particularly popular on a Sunday – when punters pack the place to feast on their Sunday roasts.
Christine said: ‘We have a proper home-cooked menu, with old-fashioned dishes like cobblers and cottage pies, things that you would like to cook at home but never do.
‘We are always fully booked on a Sunday. We keep things traditional and that’s why it’s so popular.
‘It is fresh, great produce and that’s the key – although I must give credit to our chefs and our front of house staff who keep everybody happy. Everybody contributes equally to make it a success.’
And it’s not just the food that attracts the customers – it is also well known for its beer.
Christine said: ‘We are a big ale pub. We do lagers and cider and all the rest but ale is something we are known for. We look after our ales very well. We’re all trained to look after them and we always get compliments on them.’
The pub has four ales on tap – usually London Pride and HSB, with two guest ales currently Daydreamer and Proper Job.
Christine said that gin had also proved popular – with the pub bringing in an extensive range. ‘We have something for everybody,’ she said.
The pub runs quiz nights every other Wednesday, a popular curry night in a Thursday and hosts live music every month. It also plans to bring back its popular beer and music festival on June 14 and 15.