Darkest Before Dawn


posted by on Black and white, builders, Cottage renovation, Herefordshire, Holiday cottage, Pub, The Crown

They say it gets darkest before dawn and at Peel Cottage it gets colder before a P Cert! There is a snagging list of jobs that our builder is ‘attending’ to after a show down (ahem, site visit) last weekend and we are now toiling away on the decoration in the midst of a new cold snap and no heating that we can yet switch on at the touch of a button! Still layering is still very ‘on trend’ they say!

Save Our Pub - the majesty of The Crown

There are also some dark days ahead in the village. The village grapevine has informed me that with less than a week’s notice, The Crown, is to shut on Sunday. The Crown has been a life raft to us in recent months. It’s initially where we got to know our lovely new neighbours, when we were without water and facilities it proved very convenient to nip over the road enjoy a drink and warm ourselves by the fire and it has become our practice to wrap up a weekend’s work with a quick drink before heading homewards. Now it is to be no more!

Punch Taverns have had the place up for sale for many months and put in a number of tenants who were given shoestrings to run the place on. At one point the villagers were going to the cash and carry so they could stock the place with the bare essentials.

Sunday will be a sad day because The Crown really is the hub of the village. It hosts Sunday Club meetings, WI and British Legion events and is the focus for those key dates on the calendar. Only a few months ago it was packed with throngs of people for the Bonfire Night event – all generations coming together for the thrill of the night, fireworks and finger food, music and mingling! And now gone.

Over the years, Dilwyn has lost its Post Office and shop and now the pub will stand empty. Where now for those nervous groomsmen before their weddings at nearby St Mary’s?

If the commercial heads at Punch had any sense they would have made the most out of these circumstances – put in experienced licensees, provided sufficient finance to stock the place including a line of essential groceries that would allow locals to buy what they need on their doorstep.

Admittedly pubs nationally are closing at a rate of knots but if you can’t make a business work where there is a captive audience, customer loyalty and an opportunity to diversify, then it’s a poor thing. Dilwyn is at the heart of Herefordshire’s black and white village trail and a natural draw for tourists to the area. We need facilities that we make them stay and spend their money. What would be nicer that sitting in front of the pub on a summer’s day, with a cream tea, overlooking the village green and the proud horse chestnut tree which stands in front.

Here is a business opportunity for those pub chains and entrepreneurs who can see potential and know the trade well enough to make it work for them.

The Crown – I will raise a glass to your speedy return and the chance to warm myself at your fireside again in the near future!

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