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Landscaper’s new career path in the pub trade

PUBLISHED: 08:32 28 March 2014 | UPDATED: 08:33 28 March 2014

Simon Cruickshank who has bought and renovated the Dun Cow in Swainsthorpe. The pub will be reopening April/May.

Simon Cruickshank who has bought and renovated the Dun Cow in Swainsthorpe. The pub will be reopening April/May.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2013

From garden landscaping and design to running a pub is an unusual career path.

However Simon Cruickshank is confident that despite economically challenging times, he can turn the Dun Cow in Swainsthorpe into a roaring success - creating about 30 new jobs in the process.

The 61-year-old and his wife Hazel bought the 300-year-old former coaching inn in December 2012.

The iconic building in a prime location on the side of the A140 had stood empty for two years and is not thought to have been refurbished since the late 1980s.

So he has been nearly a year and £500,000 renovating the property with the aim of restoring the venue to its former glory

“A pub is one of those idyllic things you want to buy,” said Mr Cruickshank, who has run Simon’s Landscapes for more than 40 years.

“I’ve got quite a passion about shops, pubs and businesses that made up the old villages and have been part of the community.

“I’d now like to put something back into the community.”

As part of the renovation, Mr Cruickshank has reinstated the old wall outside to give the Dun Cow more of a visual presence.

A new curved path leads customers around the front of the pub to a new extension built at the side, which will become the pub’s entrance.

When they arrive, they will be greeted by “service with a smile” from staff and see a new bar area directly in front of them.

Instead of being hidden away, a function room which can be booked for parties, business meetings and other social events is right by the entrance and looks out onto the large, picturesque garden, where people will be able to hold events and even get married during the summer.

Experienced publican Henry Watt, who is advising Mr Cruickshank on setting up the Dun Cow, said it would be like a “chameleon”, changing its offer throughout the day to serve breakfasts, lunches, afternoon teas and coffees and evening meals using good quality, local produce and good value prices.

The pub will also have four bed and breakfast rooms and Mr Watt believes 30 full and part-time staff are needed.

Do you know a good Norfolk watering hole which should be featured in our weekly Pub of the Week feature? Contact David Bale on 01553 778681 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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