INNOVATION is the key to success according to a village pub landlord, who is planning to transform the hostelry's garden into a ski-themed lodge.

Paul Studholme, who has been running The Brewers Arms in Wanborough since 2017, says he has to continually come up with new ideas to attract people into the pub.

The landlord is following in the footsteps of his step-parents Gerald and Muriel Saddler, who ran the pub from the 1950s until 1990 and were famous for owning a variety of exotic animals to keep the customers coming back.

Since adding an outdoor area, complete wide screens for the World Cup in the summer, a waffle bar, and a new range of gourmet handmade pies to the menu, Paul is thinking bigger.

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“I think we’ve got to be really innovative,” he told the Adver.

“In the coming weeks we’ll also be introducing basket meals to give people more choice – it’s a bit between a snack and a meal, when people’s budgets might be tightening up.

“I’m going to give people more reasons to come to use than not.

“When we took it over we found it hard. It’s a hard nut to crack, I really had to call on my experience and reserves to get it where were want it to be, but I think we’re getting there.”

On New Year's Eve, Paul, who used to run two nightclubs in Swindon, Atrium and Longs Bar, created a mini-night club feel in the pub to provide a hedonistic party to families.

“I wanted to go to town and create something magical,” he added, “at 4pm it was packed.

“I don’t even think it’s about the food anymore, it’ about what else you can offer."

Paul is thinking far ahead and for Christmas wants to give the decking area outside a ski-lodge feel, covering the seats in rugs, serving hot chocolates, and covering one side with a netting to create an atmospheric backdrop.

But in the summer the area could be a surf lodge instead to keep the pub changing and families another reason to visit. “Lots of people say to me that as a pub we don’t know what we want to be because we chop and change,” he added.

“We’re not your quintessential country pub, but we’re in a real village. It’s almost like a stylish town pub but in the country. We’re going to change with the seasons. We’re really trying to think ahead and just put on your traditional stuff like a band.

“I want to create pop-up events in the pub, something that’s there for everyone.”