Though the future may look somewhat bleak for the hospitality industry at the moment, one Freefolk pub is celebrating after winning an award for its food offering.

The Watership Down Inn has been awarded the Good Food Award for Gastro Pubs 2021.

To win the award, customer feedback was evaluated by judges, who decided that it had “demonstrated exceptional levels of food quality, service and value” over the last twelve months.

Steve Gilbert, the Head Chef at the Watership Down Inn, said: “We are so proud to have won this award for the pub. This is a team effort and recognises the passion, quality of ingredients and hard work we put into every single dish.”

Philip Denée, the pub’s owner, added: “The team are justifiably proud to have won such a coveted award. The award is a testament to the passion and endeavour that the chefs put into every dish that they produce.”

The Watership Down Inn dates back to the 1800s and overlooks the head waters of the River Test, and is named after the eponymous hill lying 10 miles north which inspired the Richard Adams novel.

It works alongside other nearby businesses such as Bombay Sapphire, Hardy Cottage Garden Plants and Whitchurch Silk Mill to drive tourism in the area.

Lucy Arthur, the marketing manager at the pub, told the Advertiser that the award was “fantastic.”

“The staff are a bit bowled over,” she said. “It’s something they’ve been wanting for a long time.

We all found out a few weeks ago but were not allowed to tell everyone, which was hard, but being able to announce it now came as a real boost with the lockdown announcement. It’s a tough, tough time and we’re hoping the reputation and reviews will help us start back up and push forward for the Christmas season.”