A VILLAGE pub has reopened after major refurbishment with a new focus on sustainability.

The Running Horse Inn, in Littleton near Winchester, was shut for three months for the restyling.

The business, owned by Hampshire-based Upham Inns, has 15 bedroom suites named after racehorses or racecourses and featuring stable doors.

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The gardens are divided into seating areas by paddock fencing and jump poles.

Inside, dining booths are presented as stable-style “stalls”. Booth panels, along with the bar and back counter, were made from reclaimed doors, old tabletops have been adapted and loose furniture reused.

David Butcher, managing director of Upham Inns, said: “This is a popular village local. However, it was looking tired.

“We made the decision to close the pub for three months to allow for a complete refurbishment. The restyling has added more character and an element of fun.

“We have themed the interiors and outside areas to reflect the pub’s name and link into the local countryside – Littleton Stud is just down the road.”

John Rogers, of RJR Creative Thinking, the architectural design service working with Upham Inns on the refurbishment, said: “We believe pubs survive because of their relevance to the changing needs of the generations that they serve. They also need to meet the aspirations of their guests and our social responsibilities in difficult times.

“The Running Horse needed to reflect these changing times to become a Running Horse for today and tomorrow. To do so we tried to recycle, upcycle and reuse as much as we could – both from the old pub and from salvage elsewhere.”

Mr Butcher added: “The intention behind the refurbishment was to focus on sustainability. It has been really well received already. Our regulars have said they love it. It has been described as a ‘talking point for the locals’. However, the bar remains the centre piece: this is still a pub that does great food, rather than a restaurant that sells beer.”

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Upham Inns is a member of the county food group Hampshire Fare and many of the group’s members have their wares featured on the menu and behind the bar.

The pub sells the Isle of Wight Distillery’s plastic-free Mermaid range and coffee by Hampshire-based Moon Roast.

Tracy Nash, commercial manager at Hampshire Fare, said: “We have worked in partnership with Upham Inns for many years and we are delighted to see the strong support they are giving to so many local producers who complement their focus on sustainability. In the relaunched Running Horse, this ethos has been presented in such a colourful, fun and relaxed way.”

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