SET in the heart of a Hampshire village, it is the country pub which offers the best of old and new.

With a building dating back to 18th century, The Old Forge in Otterbourne, near Winchester, is the perfect location for a cosy meal, date night or family dinner.

As the pub's name alludes to, it was originally a forge or ‘smithy’ and in the 18th century it was home to one of the country’s few female blacksmiths.

Throughout the watering hole in Main Road there are paintings and photos which point to its past life.

Immediately inside the one thing that is noticed is how cosy the pub feels. With several fire places situated around the building, there’s never any need to keep a coat on.

Modern touches are also dotted throughout the pub, like the lights which are situated directly above tables in the darker areas.

Fans of real ale are well catered for and have three choose from, including Doombar, Hopopotamus and Reverend James, with a pint of Doombar costing £3.35.

Those fancying a bite to eat are also in luck as the pub prides itself on its food and one of its specialities is the slow-cooked pork belly and seared scallops which come with a ginger beer glaze and costs £18.25.

Landlady Linda Willis is proud of the pub's past but is keen to help forge its future by having closer links to the local community and make it a hub for the village of Otterbourne.

She is keen to introduce music nights in the future.

She has been at the pub just over a year; since moving from Edinburgh last year, it is the first pub the 35-year-old has run and she is enjoying the challenge of making it a success.

Linda, who is a mum-of-two, has worked for publican Mitchell and Butler, which owns the pub, for 10 years.

Linda said: “The pub is in the heart of the village and it is a warm and homely. People can walk in and enjoy a special occasion, a drink after work or a couples night, or even a family meal.

“The Old Forge has so much potential – it just needs ‘tlc’.

“I have made a big move coming from Edinburgh and I am in it for the long term and enjoying life in Otterbourne.”