A HISTORIC Cricklade pub has been taken over by new tenants who are full of ideas for its future.

Donna and Matt Jepson have started work as managers of the Red Lion Inn after the St Austell Brewery snapped it up as part of its expansion into Wiltshire.

Donna said: “We are delighted to be working with St Austell Brewery and look forward to welcoming people – both regular locals and new customers - to the Red Lion Inn for great food and quality beers.

"It was tiring work for the first few days but it's going well so far and we're looking forward to the beer festival at the end of the month.

"Before we took on the tenancy, I worked with the previous owner as a general manager he wanted to find someone local who knew the business to take it over after it was sold.

"He asked if I would consider doing this so I talked about it with my other half and we agreed. We've been here for almost 10 years after moving from Purton and have lived above the bar for almost a year, so we know the area well.

"I know the business inside and out plus it's good for the customers to see a familiar face, it offers some stability."

Donna revealed that a new menu is in the works and there are plans to redecorate, add a breakfast option on weekends in the "not too distant" future and use the private dining and meeting room to its fullest.

The Red Lion Inn has five en-suite bedrooms, a large beer garden and a micro-brewery - The Hop Kettle Brewing Company.

The popular pub dates back to the early 1600s and will become part of the St Austell Brewery's tenanted estate, which includes 179 pubs, inns and hotels.

The brewery’s retail director Steve Worrall said: “The addition of The Red Lion to the company’s pub estate is an important step for the brewery as it grows into new areas.

“As a business, we have an ongoing acquisition strategy to strengthen our award-winning estate of pubs and hotels across the south west and beyond.

“We are delighted to have The Red Lion as the latest addition to our collection of pubs.

“The location of the property is important. Following the acquisition of Bath Ales, we now have a base from which we can look at new geographical areas which have previously been too far away for us to service efficiently.

“With over 160 years’ experience of championing the pub as the focal point of the community, we look forward to maintaining the character of The Red Lion while developing its offering in partnership with Donna and Matt."