A RURAL pub in the picturesque Wye Valley has finally started to pull pints again, six months after being struck by Storm Dennis.

While other pubs were forced to close on March 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ye Old Ferrie Inn near Ross-on-Wye underwent a complete refurbishment during lockdown.

Storm Dennis battered the county over the weekend of February 15, with the river Wye bursting its banks in Symonds Yat and flooding the pub.

But now it has a new-walk in fridge and freezer, cellar, furniture and toilets – all of which have been flood defended, writes Lucy Rabone.

Owner Jamie Hicks said the flood completely devastated the pub, which he bought 10 years ago, but he remains positive.

“The pub was built in 1473, so this reopening is the next stage in its life, to give it a real breath of fresh air,” Mr Hicks, 52, said.

“We already have a lot of bookings, so it’s looking good. We will be open for food, drinks and accommodation. We are putting the government Covid guidelines in place, such as the sanitising and social distancing, so it is very safe for us to reopen.

He added: “We’ve had an amazing amount of support from staff and locals – everyone has been fantastic.”

Not all businesses have been as lucky to get back on their feet as quickly. The Bell at Skenfrith, between Ross-on-Wye and Abergavenny, has been held up by an insurance wrangle.

First hit by floods in October 2019, when Storm Dennis struck in February two containers filled with furniture and kitchen items were carried downstream as the river Monnow burst its banks.

The contents of one container are yet to be returned, and owner Sarah Hudson said if she can’t reopen within the next couple of months there will be huge uncertainty about the hotel’s future.

“I’m not the only one, there are people who have lost homes. This is just a business,” said Mrs Hudson, 66, who has owned the Bell for almost six years. But I have lost so much money. I’ve put so much of my own life savings into the hotel to keep it afloat while the insurance company decides if they’re going to pay out or not.

“I now have no savings left, so if they refuse to payout I’m in a situation where I have no money left.

“Unless they replace the furnishings and all the other things I’ve lost, I don’t see how I can reopen.”