A PUB in Littleton has reopened following a major refurbishment with a new focus on sustainability.

The Running Horse Inn is a well-established local pub with restaurant and rooms, and it is one of the ‘stable’ owned by Hampshire-based Upham Inns.

The official relaunch was held on Wednesday July 13, with guests offered canapes, bite-size versions of the new seasonal menu, and a choice of drinks - brewed, distilled and roasted by local producers.

Hampshire Chronicle: The kitchen team at the Running Horse Inn, Littleton, photo: The Electric Eye Photography

David Butcher, managing director of Upham Inns, said: “This is a popular village local, however it was looking tired. We made the decision to close the pub for three months to allow for a complete refurbishment. The re-styling has added more character and an element of fun. We have themed the interiors and outside areas to reflect the pub’s name and link into the local countryside - Littleton Stud is just down the road.”

The 15 bedroom suites are named after top racehorses or racecourses and have stable doors. Paddock fencing and jump poles have been used to divide the outside gardens into seating areas while inside stable-style ‘stalls’ provide dining booths. The booth panels, along with the bar and back counter, have been made from reclaimed doors. Old tabletops have been adapted and loose furniture reused.

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John Rogers, from RJR Creative Thinking, said: “We believe pubs survive because of their relevance to the changing needs of the generations that they serve. They also need to meet the aspirations of their guests and our social responsibilities in difficult times. The Running Horse needed to reflect these changing times to become the Running Horse for today and tomorrow. To do so we tried to recycle, upcycle and reuse as much as we could - both from the old pub and from salvage elsewhere.”

Hampshire Chronicle: David Butcher, MD, Uphams Inns, with Hampshire Fare Chairmans past Derek Beaves, centre,and present, Mike Wright, right, all enjoying the outside dining terrace, photo: The Electric Eye Photography

Mr Butcher added: “The intention behind the refurbishment was to focus on sustainability. It has been really well received already. Our regulars have said they love it. It has been described as a ‘talking point for the locals’. However, the bar remains the centre piece: this is still a pub that does great food, rather than a restaurant that sells beer.”

Upham Inns are members and supporters of Hampshire Fare, the county food group, and many Hampshire Fare members feature on the menu and behind the bar. These include drinks suppliers, among them the Isle of Wight Distillery, whose commitment to sustainability includes the Mermaid range being certified plastic free and the brand becoming carbon neutral.

Hampshire Chronicle: At the official relaunch-Tracy Nash, Hampshire Fare, left, with Jennie Powell, Upham Inns,right, photo: The Electric Eye Photography

Coffee is by Moon Roast, a small batch producer based in rural Hampshire who source directly from small farmers to ensure farmers receive the right price and their practices are kind to the environment.

Tracy Nash, commercial manager at Hampshire Fare, said: “We have worked in partnership with Upham Inns for many years and we are delighted to see the strong support they are giving to so many local producers who complement their focus on sustainability. In the relaunched Running Horse, this ethos has been presented in such a colourful, fun and relaxed way. In keeping with the racehorse theme, I suggest it’s a good bet that The Running Horse will go the distance as a firm favourite.”

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