GLASSES have been raised in Kington after a pub in the town was named the best in the county.

The grade-II listed Olde Tavern was given the accolade by the Herefordshire Campaign group for Real Ale (CAMRA).

The pub has been run by Debbie Bedford and her family since the previous owners, Steve and Gaye Dunn, emigrated in January and the new landlady in charge said the secret to success was keeping things simple.

“So many older pubs have been turned into eateries or developed into houses and flats but this place has barely changed in decades,” she said.

“There is no TV, no jukebox and no game machines – you can come in, have a drink and chat.”

Debbie admits that she took over during a troubled time for pubs with many closing across the country.

But she had faith in the Victoria Road pub – and knew it better than most as she had previously worked there as a barmaid.

“When I took over the tavern, I saw it as an opportunity to do something different to the nine to five job,” she added.

“I was a bit apprehensive but I just thought that if any pub was going to survive then it would be the tavern as it is the most traditional of our older pubs.”

Mark Haslam, from Herefordshire CAMRA, said: “Anyone with even a remote interest in pub history cannot fail to be impressed by the unspoiled charms of the Olde Tavern.

“The pub’s focus is now unashamedly the beer – with local brews from Wye Valley, Hobsons and Ludlow breweries represented on the single small bar.”

The runner-up was the Prince of Wales in Church Lane, Ledbury.