A POPULAR watering hole has reopened with a new look and new publicans at the helm.

The Forest Inn at Lyndhurst Road, Ashurst, is welcoming customers again after being given a major facelift funded by "significant" investment in the pub.

Ian Vass and Jo Laver picked up the keys to the pub in the middle of June.

They have spent the past seven weeks transforming the pub interior and exterior. They have given the building a fresh lick of paint, delighting locals by returning the colour scheme to the much-loved black and cream.

New Forest Post:

With its large outdoor area and abundance of tables the Forest Inn has reopened just in time for regulars to make the most of the August weather.

The pub currently has a drinks-only menu but is due to start serving food next month.

Clear social distancing measures are in force and enhanced cleaning regimes have been introduced in a bid to keep staff and customers staff.

Ian said: “We have been really looking forward to welcoming family, friends and the Ashurst community.

"Jo and I have worked really hard over the last couple of months and I can’t believe how good the pub is looking. We’ve given everything a much-needed lick of paint, introduced new signage and - I have to say - the place is looking sharp.

“It’s been great seeing how excited our local community has been too.

"We've had plenty of people stopping by to have a look at what we’ve achieved and the response has all been positive."

New Forest Post:

A large number of other pubs across the New Forest have reopened following the easing of lockdown restrictions but at least one has failed to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

As reported in the Daily Echo the Wheel Inn, Pennington, is not reopening.

The building became a community-run pub in 2018 and was just beginning to get established when the pandemic hit, hindering all the events that were planned for this year.

Philippa Blunt, chairman of the Wheel Inn, said: "We did claim government grants and furloughed staff but the inside of the pub makes it difficult to social distance.

"The turnover would be significantly reduced and we would need more staff and volunteers. We couldn't see how we would survive at all, so we made the difficult decision to close."

The Sir John Barleycorn in Cadnam is among those which appear to be facing an uncertain future. Large concrete blocks have been placed across the entrance to the car park.