THEY already run two of the most successful pubs in the New Forest – the Waterloo Arms in Lyndhurst and the Plough in Tiptoe.

Now Michael Rogers and his wife Michelle have added another string to their bow by acquiring the Tollhouse Inn, which stands at the northern entrance to Lymington.

The picture-postcard pub closed in July following a fire in the flat upstairs and has only just reopened.

After taking over at the end of October, Michael and Michelle gave the building a smart new look that cost at least £10,000.

Michael, 47, said: “The Tollhouse was a bit run down but we saw the potential. We now have a nice triangle of pubs across the Forest, all of which are quite different. This one has a French bistro theme, with a carvery at weekends.”

Helped by Michael’s brother Andrew, 50, the new landlords are busy winning back trade lost during the four-month closure.

Most of their customers are locals but the pub is expected to benefit from Lymington’s hectic tourist trade when the visitors return next summer.

The new-look watering hole includes a food bar just inside the main entrance but has lost none of its old-world charm.

Michael added: “As with our other two pubs, we made it into the sort of place we’d like to go to if we weren’t the owners. It was a question of taking out the things we didn’t like and putting in the things we did like.

“We set out to create a pub where people feel welcome.”

Named after the former turnpike next door, the Tollhouse is thought to be at least 200 years old.

Former staff say the building is haunted by the ghost of an old woman who likes rearranging the furniture.

The pub used to be called the Monkey House – a reference to a previous landlord who kept monkeys as pets.

The Tollhouse Inn,
Southampton Road,
01590 672142.