LANDLORDS of a country pub will be packing up and moving on at the end of summer after 12 years, admitting they are "tired".

The Hampshire Bowman, at Dundridge near Bishop's Waltham, has been put up for sale after current landlords Mark, 38, and Chloe Newman, 32, decided they want more family time.

The pressure of running an independent pub amid a cost of living crisis, combined with the struggle to find decent kitchen staff, has mounted recently.

Working at the pub is "everything" for Mark who can be found at the Bowman in some capacity every day of the year.

The couple's tenancy at the real ale freehouse comes to an end in October yet estate agent Sidney Phillips has already advertised the property for £800,000 freehold.

Mark, who lives in Bishop's Waltham, said he owes some of the business's success to owners Charles and Caroline Scott who "rescued" the pub in 1987.

Hampshire Chronicle: Landlord Mark Newman.Landlord Mark Newman. (Image: Hampshire Bowman)

Since then, it has been passed down through landlords who all had some existing mutual connection to the pub.

For Mark, it was his family's local and he got a job there in 2006, met colleague Chloe in 2007 then took over as landlord in 2012.

Hit hard by the pandemic, Mark said price rises and minimum wage increases have "crushed" his margins, meaning some weeks the couple go without pay despite working for seven days each.

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Now with three children, aged seven, six and three, Mark believes the life of a modern day landlord is unsuitable.

He said: "We are tired. We would like to actually spend time with each other and our children. We would like jobs that actually pay a wage and come with some holiday entitlement."

Mark plans to spend as much time as possible with his family after he hands the keys back at the end of October.

Hampshire Chronicle: The Hampshire Bowman will be under new ownership later this year.The Hampshire Bowman will be under new ownership later this year. (Image: Hampshire Bowman)

"Fresh blood" is expected to occupy the building and Mark confirmed it will retain its current use yet he has no intentions to move to a different pub.

"Enjoy the pub as it is this summer as things may be very different next year," he added.

Mark fears many pubs will be lost in coming years because "the financial reward for the effort isn't there".

A major challenge he's encountered is the lack of capable kitchen staff, he said: "Most of the youngsters coming out of catering college can’t actually cook. They’ve spent two years at college learning how to do paperwork."

The pub will remain open under Mark and Chloe's oversight this summer.

Speaking directly to customers, Mark said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank our families, especially my parents, and all of our staff from over the years for their help and support.

"We would also like to thank you, our loyal customers for all of your love and support over the years."