IT IS one of Hythe’s hidden gems – a country pub at the end of a narrow lane on the southern edge of the village.

The Travellers Rest at Hart Hill is more of a destination pub than one of the watering holes which rely on passing trade.

The picture postcard inn is bordered by attractive countryside, despite the large amount of new building taking place only a short distance away.

It is run by Ryan Owen, 46, who used to be in charge at another Waterside pub, the Langley Tavern near Blackfield. Before that, he worked as a security guard in Nursling.

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Ryan and his partner, Claire Sheppard, have been at the Travellers Rest for almost two years.

He said: “I left the Langley and decided to have a break.

“When it came to finding work again I had a look around and this place popped up on the computer.

“I did the figures and decided to take it on. It was local to us and I’d been in here a few times.

“It’s a nice place to be, especially in the summer. You can be sitting outside in the garden and a deer will come right up to the fence.

“The lane leading to Travellers Rest used to be the main road, which is why the pub is here.

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“We get people coming from Hythe and further afield. They drive along Shore Road and ours is the first brown sign they see.”

Ryan described the Travellers Rest as a friendly, family pub.

He added: “We do have people in the 18-20 age bracket but many of our customers are aged 25 upwards.

“Our oldest regular is 92 and arrives by taxi every day.”

The pub’s pool room boasts a glass cabinet containing a Saints shirt signed by the players of the day.