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West Norfolk pub with Nelson connection reopens

The Black Swan in Little Dunham is run by Richard and Nicola Ward. Picture: Ian Burt

The Black Swan in Little Dunham is run by Richard and Nicola Ward. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2016

A west Norfolk pub with a Horatio Nelson connection has reopened its doors after being closed for three years.

The Black Swan in Little Dunham, near Swaffham, now boasts a café and book exchange, and is being supported and part-funded by rural pub champions, Pub is The Hub. The pub, which is the only one in the village, dates from the 1740s and is believed to have been bought by William Nelson, the great-uncle of Admiral Nelson.

New owners Nicola and Richard Ward have made extensive structural improvements to the building. At one side of the bar is the café area and on the other side is seating and a book exchange area.

The couple were determined to broaden the appeal of the pub and make it more viable by attracting day-time visits as well as in the evenings.

Mrs Ward said: “We had a clear idea about what we wanted to achieve but Terry Stork from Pub is The Hub gave us some great ideas and advice about widening the services that we could offer at the pub.

“So far the café and book exchange have already attracted local community groups from the area to come and meet here in the day while the tea, coffees and paninis are just as popular in the evening as the usual bar service. Our coffee machine is always on.”

The café serves teas, coffees, paninis, cakes and cream teas and the pub is open from 11am-2pm and 5pm-11pm, from Wednesday to Sunday.

Terry Stork, from Pub is The Hub, added: “With the incredible amount of hard work and commitment that Nicola and Richard have already invested I’m confident these new facilities will benefit the whole community and make the pub more sustainable.”

The not-for-profit organisation contributed a £4,000 grant from its community services fund to the cost of the café and book exchange. It offers independent advice on rural services diversification and community ownership of pubs.

Have you some good news about a pub? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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