A VILLAGE pub in Herefordshire has been taken over, with the new landlady hoping to make it a community-focused venue again.

The Royal Oak at Much Marcle, near Ledbury, was taken over earlier this month after the outgoing owners made the tough decision to leave due to family reasons.

Daniel and Jessica Pardoe said it was with a “heavy heart” they left the pub, on the main road between Ledbury and Ross-on-Wye.


Wishing an emotional farewell to customers, the couple said it had been an “honour and privilege” to serve the local community since taking over in 2018.

They had looked at bringing in a manager and taking a step back from the day-to-day running, but decided that it was not possible.

They sold the pub instead to Hannah Slade, who moved to Herefordshire from Buckinghamshire to run the countryside pub, and she said she wants to make it a community hub.

Mr Pardoe said that due to the loss of his wife’s mum and the current health of his father, the time was right to move on.

“I would like to thank you all for the love, support and friendships we have made over the last three years and your continued support that has allowed us to establish a fabulous trade at the Royal Oak, even under these seriously difficult circumstances during Covid-19,” he said.

“It has been an honour and privilege to have owned this business in such a beautiful area, dealing daily with such loyal and wonderful customers from the surrounding community.”

The couple finished the goodbye message to customers on social media by wishing them all lots of love, happiness and good health.

In a later message to customers thanking them for their “wonderful comments” which brought tears to their eyes.

Miss Slade said she was excited to get the pub open again, with the bar open from Wednesday and the kitchen from Thursday.

While she wants to continue the pub's popular food offering, she also wants to entice drinkers back in.

She has worked in the industry for the past 19 years, saying: “I just thought I’d move out to the countryside, where I belong, and this one came up.

“I’ve brought the family and moved over, and we’re hoping to build lots of different initiatives.

“It’s a case of watch this space, but we really want to encourage the local drinkers down.

“It is very much a restaurant, which is great and we welcome them back, but we’d also like to see a lot more of the community.”

She said she wants to cater for everyone, and as a mother herself wanted it to be a family-friendly pub.

Despite the challenges facing the hospitality industry across the UK recently, including coronavirus restrictions and a shortage of workers, Miss Slade is optimistic, saying the reaction so far had been good.