NESTLED away in a quaint Hampshire village you might be forgiven for thinking it is just a normal country pub.

But tales of the Titanic, a spooky resident ghost and a well-earned reputation for lip-smacking home-made food are just a few reasons why the New Forest Inn stands out a mile.

The pub, just a few minutes from Lyndhurst in the village of Emery Down, has just been taken over by Debbie Lewis and her son Sam.

And the pair say they are ready to build on its already high standing in the village community.

Debbie explained: “The place already had a fantastic reputation when we took over and was well known for its food. Luckily we have inherited the same chef, Jamie Hiscocks.

“This is a total community pub and we want to encourage as many locals to come by as possible.

“Friday nights are really rocking at the moment.”

Besides its cosy lounges, roaring open fires and fine cask ales, the Inn has a famous historical link.

The captain of the Titanic, Edward John Smith, spent his final night on British shores at the pub before he set sail on the ill-fated ship the next day.

Long serving staff are also adamant that the ghostly figure of a woman patrols a corner of the bar area at nights.

Debbie said: “One of our barmaids is convinced the place is haunted. People have said that it is the shape of a woman, who draws curtains and takes pictures off the wall.

“In fact I put a picture up and one day came down stairs to find it had been flung off the wall.”

Food plays a big part at the Inn with stunning showpiece dishes like New Forest venison, beer battered haddock and rib eye steak drawing in the hungry walkers.

Dogs are also welcome at the Inn and a well-behaved pooch can look forward to biscuits from behind the bar.

A huge beer garden, quiz nights and charity race events all add to the pub’s warm atmosphere.

Debbie added: “People just seem to feel at home here.”

Julian Robinson Things you didn’t know about the New Forest Inn.

1. The Origins of the New Forest Inn are believed to be a caravan.

2. Long standing regular Dave Penny has a chair permanently placed at the bar in his memory.

3. On the flat roof is a chaff cutter used to make gorse more palatable for forest stock.

4. James Pidgeon was the publican in the 1870s and 1880s and managed to combine this with the job of village postmaster.

5. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stayed in Emery Down for a year from Easter 1889, while researching his novel “The White Company” and was frequently seen walking around the village.