CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Berkshire Life today CLICK HERE

How the people of Hungerford helped save the Tally Ho

PUBLISHED: 14:30 03 October 2014 | UPDATED: 15:33 07 November 2017

Just look at those hanging baskets. Clearly the Tally Ho! team have a lot of talents.

Just look at those hanging baskets. Clearly the Tally Ho! team have a lot of talents.

MAUREEN MCLEAN

When the Tally Ho! was threatened with redevelopement, locals and lifelong regulars sprung into action to ensure it stayed as a pub - and became an instant success story

This is how you know you are in a good pub. You walk in and Monty – the smiling barman – offers you the ‘usual’. When it’s only the second time you’ve ever visited, this is as warm a welcome as one could imagine.

The pub is the Tally Ho! at Hungerford Newtown, and, in case you need to know, in my case ‘the usual’ was one of those refreshing elderflower spritzer-style drinks us drivers now enjoy. But then The Tally Ho! is no ordinary pub. It’s a community venture, owned by local residents who were determined to keep it as the heart of their village. Nor has it been an easy battle. In 2012 brewers Wadworth sold the premises for development. For a while it looked like the pub would disappear, to be replaced by homes, but a consortium of more than 60 potential shareholders and volunteers campaigned to take it over.

For some 250 years ‘the Tally’, known until the mid-20th century as The Oxford Arms, had been at centre of the community’s life. During the 2nd World War villagers mixed with American and Canadian servicemen who decided it was the perfect English watering spot.

Backed by the local CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) branch and supported by MP Richard Benyon, they eventually prevailed and last autumn re-opened the premises.

Villager Paula Woof, now aTally Ho Community Pub Ltd director, recalls: “It wasn’t just getting to own the pub – beyond raising the money there was a huge amount of work to do for it to be ready for opening – a major refit from top to bottom. And many of us had never had anything to do with running a pub before so it was a big learning curve.”

Volunteers turned their hands to everything and anything that needed doing. They included Wally Hunt, known as ‘Wally the woodman’, who was born in the village and had his first ever alcoholic drink at the pub on VE Day.

Now 84, Wally and his wife Shirley are still regular visitors (perhaps Wally more than Shirley!) and he says: “None of us wanted to see it become a flats development. I was more than happy to invest. You come in here and might bump into people you haven’t been in touch with for a while, or have a great lunch and chat. The kitchen team are brilliant – I’ve seen them serve up as many as 69 meals at a time.

“So many pubs are closing these days and it’s nice to be part of one that beat the odds. People worked so hard to make this happen – and just look at it now!”

Wally’s right – this is indeed a special place. Proper, tasty pub meals made with fresh seasonal veg (including from shareholders’ garden plots) and meat from down the road. Look out for items like honeyed ham from the Benham Estate and home-made desserts. The specials often take the pub into the ‘upper leagues’ of pub grub, featuring the likes of mussels or black pudding in new recipes. There are beers on tap from local breweries and a little shop in the corner offering more local treats. During our visit the shop featured everything from bottles of West Berkshire Brewery bottles and jars of honey to eggs, marrows and squashes.

There’s a cosy log fire when the temperature drops and outside a nice little patio garden for warm days, but pride of place goes to a banner declaring that you are at West Berkshire Campaign for Real Ale’s Best Community Pub. It’s a well deserved prize and we suggest you visit The Tally Ho! during a day out in beautiful countryside.

It’s just half a mile from junction 14 of the M4 and open seven days a week, serving food lunchtimes and evenings. Book up for Sunday lunch – this is becoming a ‘must-do’ experience. See www.thetallyhohungerford.co.uk.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Berkshire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Berkshire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Berkshire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

12:00

Robby Jenks, head chef at The Vineyard in Newbury shares a recipe for his Devonshire cod

Read more

The Blackbird at Bagnor has a nest we can all settle in, courtesy of the engaging patron

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Whether you’re looking for fine dining, pub food, a romantic meal for 2 or a taste of something from further afield, eating out in Berkshire really has something for everyone. Here’s our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

It may be known for its regal connections, but Windsor is also home to a number of restaurants and pubs fit for royalty. We round up some of the best…

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

Stoke Park’s chef has his first cookbook out, so you create culinary masterpieces at home to impress family and friends

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Whether you’re looking for fine dining, pub food, a romantic meal for 2 or a taste of something from further afield, eating out in Buckinghamshire really has something for everyone. Here’s our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

We round up some of the best locations for afternoon tea across Berkshire

Read more
Monday, August 20, 2018

Celebrate tastes from around the world with our pick of Berkshire restaurants, ranging from European and African, to South American and Oriental

Read more
Friday, August 3, 2018

Foggs has something tasty for people of all ages and a perfect spot for the littler ones to enjoy a taste of foodie treats

Read more
Monday, July 9, 2018

We select our top Berkshire spots to enjoy eating and drinking while watching the world float by

Read more
Monday, April 30, 2018

Katy Eachus and her pub expert companion Monty sniff out some dog-friendly dining venues across Buckinghamshire

Read more
Monday, April 23, 2018

Adam Smith is creating some extraordinary dishes at Coworth Park so Maureen McLean visited to experience the little luxuries the chef himself likes to enjoy

Read more
Thursday, April 5, 2018

Five A Day project provides a welcome boost for healthy eating and those who lovingly grow the produce and flowers

Read more
Monday, March 19, 2018

It’s wonderful that so many of us have pretty pubs on our doorstep – or at least within walking distance – and here are some of our favourites to complete the perfect day out

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Berkshire Life weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Property Search