There is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for a dilapidated pub in the west Dorset countryside.

At last, a sale has gone through for the Bottle Inn in Marshwood.

New owners Tessa and Julian Blundy are hard at work restoring the 16th century pub and there are hopes it could reopen by spring.

The couple, who've moved to the area from Kent, have got their work cut out for them but if anyone is up to the task they are; Tessa is a professional conservation architect with 40 years’ experience.

Tessa said: “I have been in contact with Marshwood my whole life. My father’s side of the family had a farm here and I have visited regularly throughout my life. We heard about the plight of the Bottle Inn and with our experience it’s something we wanted to do. We have both enjoyed drinking here in the past and were concerned to hear of its downfall.”

The pub, previously home to the quirky nettle-eating contest, has been empty since 2019.

“It is in a shocking state,” said Tessa. “A leaking roof means the whole building is saturated. The roof needs rethatching, the electrics have gone, the chimney needs sorting – there is little about the building that does not need sorting.”

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

  • The current interior of the pub Picture: Tessa Blundy 

Despite a long list of work to carry out, Tessa and Julian say ‘nothing is insurmountable’.

 “The building is structurally sound,” said Tessa. “ So we will address every issue top to bottom. It is difficult to say for certain when we will reopen but we are hoping for spring.”

The pub is a huge project for anyone to undertake, and while Tessa says it is a little daunting, the couple’s affection for the area means it’s a ‘project of love.’

“My passion is historic buildings, keeping them going and conserving them, but this is a real project of love,” Tessa said. “It’s not something we set out to do but we found out the Bottle was in this state and knew we had to. It’s because it’s the Bottle Inn. It’s daunting but we are enjoying it.

“There is so much love for the pub and it’s a really important part of the community. We’ve been overwhelmed with support  and we’re looking forward to welcoming the community back.”