A VILLAGE pub in the heart of the Yorkshire Wolds has been saved by a couple who live in the village.

The Cross Keys in Thixendale, which dates back at least to 1793, is popular with walkers, including those on the Wolds Way.

The CAMRA award winning business closed in the autumn when proprietors Steve and Mary Anstey retired after many years in charge.

As The Press reported at the time, it went up for sale for £329,950 freehold, including fixtures, fittings and goodwill.

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Now Tom Griffiths and his partner Natalie Rafferty have taken it on in what Tom says was a very emotional decision.

"We are good friends with Steve and Mary who had run it successfully for 36 years so when we heard they were retiring it was a bit of an emotional and sentimental decision on our part to take it on," said Tom.

"We have had a refurb and Steve and Mary, who still live in the village, have been in several times and they love it.

"It looks totally different and we've had lots of positive feedback, which is great.

"It's our first venture. We'd always wanted to do something like this, it's just a perfect area and it's exactly what we wanted to do.

"We are lucky because it doesn't have some of the issues that hospitality is facing at the minute. We have a constant stream of regulars and walkers."

York Press: Landlord Tom Griffiths behind the bar at The Cross Keys Inn in ThixendaleLandlord Tom Griffiths behind the bar at The Cross Keys Inn in Thixendale (Image: Tom Griffiths)

The business includes a bar area, three en-suite letting rooms and an attractive rear beer garden, and three-bedroom owners' accommodation.

They also serve a menu of pub food and sandwiches.

York Press: The Thixendale burger from the menuThe Thixendale burger from the menu (Image: Tom Griffiths)

Tom, who used to work as a transaction manager at Ray Chapman Volvo in York, will be managing the bar and running the kitchen with the pub open from 6pm-11.30pm on Monday and Thursday evenings and from noon-11.30pm Friday-Sunday.

Natalie, who works as a nurse practitioner, will be looking after bookings for the bed and breakfast and admin. They also employ two other staff.

York Press: Inside the new look Cross Keys InnInside the new look Cross Keys Inn (Image: Tom Griffiths)

Tom said: "We are already 60-70 per cent full in the bed and breakfast for May, which is great.

"I have never lived anywhere like this, and we fell in love with the inn when we moved here three years ago.

"We are just custodians of the pub really and we just wanted to keep it open and running and hopefully it will still be going for another hundred years.

York Press: Inside The Cross KeysInside The Cross Keys (Image: Tom Griffiths)