The Pheasant Inn
PUBLISHED: 13:01 16 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:19 20 February 2013
A long-time favourite with the racing fraternity, the Pheasant Inn, near Lambourn, is about to open 11 new bedrooms. Nick Channer gives us a sneak preview...
Visit the Pheasant at Shefford Woodlands, between Newbury and Lambourn, and it's not long before that famous tagline 'hunting, shooting and fishing' springs to mind. The aptly-named pub has long been a key fixture in the world of racing; the game on the menu comes from nearby estates and fresh fish is delivered daily from Cornwall. As well as that, co-owner Johnny Ferrand's nickname is Fish. Why? He used to be a fish merchant.
Everyone in this delightfully rural corner of West Berkshire knows the Pheasant but what might be news to them is that from August 1, this quaint, 16th-century hostelry will also be a well-located 11-bedroom hotel offering comfortable surroundings and 21st century facilities.
Having run the Pheasant successfully as a pub with a 30-seat restaurant for nearly ten years, Johnny and his business partner Robin Young decided it was time to move up a furlong or two. "The problem we faced was lack of space," says Johnny. "We were turning people away. The solution was to add bedrooms and create a larger 90-seat restaurant." It was the obvious answer. Even before work began, the Pheasant was attracting regular enquiries for accommodation and they now have a healthy number of bookings through until the end of the year.
The new hotel is an ideal base for business conferences, wedding parties, mini-breaks and, of course, race meetings. As part of this new programme of expansion and improvement, a brand new £75,000 kitchen has been installed. The menu has always been flexible and varied and now with the new hotel facility, the aim is to improve and extend the choice of dishes even further.
Old and new sit side by side
A lot of time and effort has gone into the transformation of the Pheasant. With the exception of one day, Johnny and Robin have kept the business open throughout the building work. Explains Johnny: "The great thing about what we've done is build a new hotel in a lovely rural setting while retaining the genuine character and atmosphere of the old pub. In other words, one complements the other. The old and the new sit side by side." He laughs. "Besides, our loyal pub customers would lynch us if we got rid of the bar."
At a glance
Location: Surrounded by farmland and downland on the Berkshire/Wiltshire borders, yet just 400 yards from junction 14 of the M4.
Rooms: 11 bedrooms on two floors - all en suite and all with flat screen Sky televisions, coffee and tea making facilities and wireless internet connections. Five of the first floor rooms have balcony doors to take advantage of the country views.
Restaurant: New 90-seat restaurant with menu available throughout the establishment. Three-course Sunday lunch about £25; popular favourites include traditional beer-battered haddock and chips, £11; a range of baguettes, £7.50.
Facilities: Landscaped gardens, inner courtyard, large car park, lounge/snug area for relaxing while reading the newspaper or watching television.
The Pheasant Inn, Ermin Street, Shefford Woodlands, Hungerford RG17 7AA.
Tel: 01488 648284.