IT IS the Test Valley pub at the heart of the fishing community.

The Boot Inn in Houghton, Stockbridge, can hold 200 people and boasts a large garden where customers can enjoy a pint by the River Test.

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The 18th century pub reels in residents ranging from "fishermen in the summer to shooting parties in the winter", according to the general manager.

General manager, Anthea Coulson, said: "Nine years ago we spent over £1,000,000 on the restaurant, garden and upstairs which is a flat and office for the owner, Dick Hanson.

"We get a lot of fishermen coming here in the summer, especially people from The Houghton Fishing Club where there are only 25 members.

"All of our fish is fresh and is delivered from Premier Fish, except on Sunday and Monday because they do not fish on a Sunday.

"We also get fish from Thyme & Tides in Stockbridge and we offer anything from cod to smoked haddock."

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The 60-year-old, who lives in Village Road, added: "The restaurant menu change once a month as well and our portions are probably too big, so you do get value for money.

"With our meat, every single bit of it comes from John Robinson Butchers who have been in Stockbridge for 50 years now.

"They also offer smoked trout for us and fishermen will usually go to them, drop their fish off and the staff will smoke it for them."

Anthea highlighted the dog-friendly pub offers "ten different types of gin" and "Double Dutch tonic because everyone else does Fever-Tree tonic".

The pub also boasts "high quality wine" and staff make sure there are always three real ales on offer.

The Boot Inn offers quizzes once a month and hosts events in their garden.

This year on the May Bank Holiday the pub will have a village band playing to help mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Brian Standfield, a 82-year-old who lives in Church Lane, said: "I love it, the people are nice here and I love living 27 steps away from the pub."

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Geoff Butler, a 77-year-old who lives in Horsebridge, said: "It is a really good place because quite a few people can walk to the pub and it is pretty busy all the time.

"They have regular quizzes here as well, which we support."

Paul Askham, a 61-year-old accountant from Hythe, said: "We were driving from Romsey and saw this place, which looked unremarkable from the front, but it is a little treasure.

"It has got a lovely atmosphere and we are surprised about the amount of people who are here mid-week.

"My friend and I will definitely be bringing our partners back here."