A POST office has opened its doors to residents in a New Forest village.

The Happy Cheese pub, Ashurst, opened the post office counter from 11am to 2pm following the closure of the village post office at the start of the year.

Liz Blundell, manger of The Happy Cheese, said: “When the post office closed down I knew there were some pubs in Cornwall that have post offices in them and I wanted to keep it in the community.

“This is the first one like this here and we have more older people in this village so we want to keep it to enable them to keep using the facility.”

She added: “This way the post office does not have to pay rent and I think it will work out alright, as we are diversifying the pub.”

The post office will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am to 2pm, and the hours could be increased if residents show enough interest.

Michela Horner, who works in the post office in Bartley, said: “We can provide every service here that we do in Bartley and we have already had at least between ten and 20 customers come in to see what is happening.”

Jeff Hillier, a 75-year-old Ashurst resident, said: “I suppose it will help a lot of older people as they won’t have a long way to travel, such as to Marchwood, as none of them are in walking distance.”

Lorraine Routley, a 27-year-old waitress, said: “I think it is a good idea, there always needs to be more of them because we are out in the middle of nowhere.”