A ‘HIDDEN gem’ country pub near York has failed to reopen from the lockdown after being sold.

The White Swan at Thornton le Clay is just the latest in a series of village pubs in North Yorkshire to keep their doors shut after the Government relaxed the lockdown on July 4 and allowed them to reopen.

Its closure has upset some locals but the new owners have given some hope for those missing the village’s social hub - Tracy and Richard Harrison say they plan to reopen a small bar area next spring after some building works have been completed.

They say they want to provide somewhere for local residents to go for a drink on a Friday and Saturday evening, and perhaps for a coffee during the day, but they said it would be drinks only and they wouldn’t be serving food.

That will disappoint diners who used to love the food offering at the pub, situated between York and Malton, and posted some rave reviews online.

One customer wrote on Tripadvisor last year: “Best food in the area. Visit this place frequently and would highly recommend the service, the food and the hospitality. Well worth the visit and could be considered a hidden gem. The food is out of this world and I can say we have never been disappointed.”

Another wrote in March, just before the pandemic forced the pub to shut: "This is one of our regular favourite places to eat, amazing food.”

A third customer said: “Steak night with wine, oh wow steak was the best I have ever tasted and cooked to perfection for every one of us.”

Nick Love, pub protection officer for York Camra, spoke recently about the importance of a pub to a village community after The Press reported that no pubs had reopened so far in two villages between York and Tadcaster, Appleton Roebuck and Bolton Percy.

He said: “During lockdown one of the most noticeable things was how much people said they missed going the pub. Imagine living in a village where this is a permanent scenario.

“Village pubs provide a focal point for opportunities for social interaction and provide places to meet (informally or as part of a community group) which supports community cohesion.”

*Has the pub in your village or neighbourhood failed to reopen from the lockdown? Email mike.laycock@thepress.co.uk with details.