Green Dragon in Wymondham named Best Rural Pub in second national award win

The Green Dragon in Wymondham has won CAMRA rural pub of the year.L-r manager, Nick Judge, Moya Tops

The Green Dragon in Wymondham has won CAMRA rural pub of the year.L-r manager, Nick Judge, Moya Topsom bar maid, head Chef Leesa Arrowsmith, landlord Justin Harvey. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A Norfolk pub has been handpicked out of hundreds to be crowned the Best Rural Pub of the Year for the second time.

Justin Harvey and Colin Tickle own the Green Dragon in Wymondham, which picked up the accolade in the national 2014 Campaign for Real Ale awards.

Landlord Mr Harvey, 41, and head chef Leesa Arrowsmith took over the Church Street tavern four and a half years ago. Mr Tickle, who lived next door to the pub, joined them last February.

Despite their previous success, the award came as a surprise.

Mr Harvey said: 'We didn't actually know anything about it. CAMRA go around pubs from the Good Beer Guide and assess them and put some forward.

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'Members can then go on the site and decide who they want to win. We we really pleased, especially as people voted.'

Mr Tickle, 51, said that members voting rather than a committee made the win 'more meaningful'.

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As well as winning Rural Pub of the Year in 2012, the team at the Green Dragon, who estimate that they have raised £11,000 for charity since their opening, have been a winner in the South Norfolk Community Pub of the Year awards since 2010.

Last year they were crowned again and were awarded £1,000 to hold an event, which they will use for a street party on August 9.

The family fun day will entertain partygoers with face painting, buskers, street artists and candyfloss machines.

Depending on the weather, a barbecue will be on the menu and, of course, good quality ale.

The medieval tavern, which still houses 17th century pews and dates back to 1317, offers real ale and top quality pub meals.

Ms Arrowsmith said: 'We try not to be too like a restaurant. We provide high market pub food with fresh produce. Our specials menu can change three or four times a day.'

The head chef, who uses local suppliers, added that Sunday lunches were very popular, with one couple making the journey from Ipswich every other weekend.

When asked about the future, the owners said that they hope to turn an unused barn next to the beer garden into a bar area suitable for functions and private hire.

Handmade pizzas on demand might also not be too far in the future, with dreams of installing a stone pizza oven.

Mr Tickle said: 'We don't know for definite, but it would be great.'

He added: 'What Justin has done here is really fantastic.'

For more information contact the Green Dragon on 01953 607907.

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