A YOUNG couple in Winterbourne Monkton are bucking the national trend of pubs closing by opening a one.

The New Inn in the village has been closed for more than five years but was reopened at Christmas by the new owners Ben and Cody Woodward.

“We’ve opted for a soft opening,” said Mr Woodward, “to gauge the reactions of locals and to see how popular it will be. We invited the Village Club to have their Christmas meal on December 11th to see what they thought.

"It’s a question of them having faith in us and also to see if they will come back to the pub. New Year's Eve was our busiest night so far with a packed bar which was really nice."

The soft opening means the landlord will be pulling pints on Friday and Saturday evenings, and Sunday lunchtime to begin with.

“We moved in last July and began renovating the pub,” he said, “the bar was an essential to stay, with the kitchen next to upgrade. We will also be doing bed and breakfast with walkers on the Ridgeway route in mind, and will have a monthly supper club with different chefs and themes.”

The gentle reopening of the village’s amenity is in part to see how the venture goes as Mr Woodward has to juggle a full-time job as a manager at the Lucknam Park Hotel near Bath.

“Everyone in the village has been very supportive and welcoming,” Cody said, “we’re a dog friendly pub, and want to become part of the community.”

Back in 2007 the pub closed for several months when the owners at the time shut the bar but kept up a business in bed and breakfast.

The villagers set up a campaign group then which successfully got the pub reopened for the next six years.

New owners then planned to change the closed pub into a private home but this plan stalled until the Woodwards bought the property last year.