New lease of life as village pub is saved from redevelopment

When the pub at the heart of a small Meon Valley village was put up for sale, its future hung in the balance.

Wednesday, 7th November 2018, 3:15 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th November 2018, 4:21 pm
Scott and Kerry Wakefield, who have taken over at the Travellers Rest in Newtown

However, the villagers came together to save their favourite pub from demolition. 

When The Travellers Rest in Newtown went up for sale this year, the buyer wanted to develop on the site. 

Locals, fearful of losing their boozer, flooded the parish council with emails about what The Travellers Rest meant to them, and they managed to get the building upheld as an Asset of Community Value, giving it protected status. 

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Scott and Kerry Wakefield, who have taken over at the Travellers Rest in Newtown

Shortly after, husband and wife Scott and Kerry Wakefield took ownership.

'˜When it went back up for sale again we were in the right position at the right time to buy it,' said Scott, 44.

The new landlords spent the summer refurbishing the building, as well as the campsite behind it, and the pub officially reopened on October 15.

Kerry, 45, said: '˜We wanted to give the locals back the pub that they desperately wanted. We're going to put on events and functions, and everybody wants a music festival in the summer. We want to get people in and to have a good time.'

Scott and Kerry Wakefield, who have taken over at the Travellers Rest in Newtown

Events like singers and live bands are already being booked in, and they hold a meat raffle every Friday night.

The restaurant is now open, offering a roast on Sundays as well as general pub-grub in the week.

It's a free house so pub goers can also enjoy a variety of drinks, including local ales like Bowman and Ringwood Ales, as well as Dorset Gold.

'˜The real ales are important and they are going to be changing frequently to give a good selection. We're actually the only pub in a wide area that sells the Dorset Gold,' Kerry said.

Kerry emphasised that they're focused on valuing the community who have enjoyed the establishment over the years, and she's set up a wall to display their photos.

She said: '˜Everybody who has come in has a story to tell. They've been coming here for years, they've had different occasions with their families, so I've created the memory corner so they can put up their memories in the pub. It makes them feel part of the building, and that's important.' 

More is planned for the local '“ with the quiz night set to be reinstated, and even karaoke.