A centuries-old Hurstbourne Tarrant pub is bringing back bartering as part of a plan to reinvent itself.

The George and Dragon, based in The Square, said it had reflected on what was important to it during lockdown and decided to make changes going forward, which including becoming greener and more community-focused. As a result, locals bringing in their surplus fruit, vegetables and herbs can have them exchanged for pub credit at the market rate in a local tab initiative

The pub’s owner, Patrick Vaughan-Fowler, told the Advertiser that the pub was “fortunate to live in an area with so many delicious ingredients” and was looking to source local ingredients as much as possible.

The George and Dragon began life as a Medieval Inn, before adapting to life as a coaching inn in the 16th Century as travellers needed a place to rest on their journeys. It subsequently became a pub, with most of the building dating from the late 1700s, though some remains of its earlier timber-framed structure remains.

In 2014, the pub was restored and reopened by Patrick, who worked with an architectural consultant to renovate the building.

During the pandemic, like pubs across the country, The George and Dragon was closed for much of 2020 and into 2021. This gave the pub an opportunity to reinvent itself before it reopened its doors on May 19.

Chief among this is a focus on becoming greener, while working with the community to cement its place in the village.

The new trading system, known as a local tab initiative, is just one of the pub hopes to do things differently after Covid. It is working with Hurstbourne Tarrant resident Hamish Sherlock to create a greener business, including the replacement of gas cooking equipment with induction-based equivalents, and eliminating as much waste, including plastic and paper, where possible.

It is also supporting local suppliers by only working with suppliers that support a reduction of food miles, and is hoping to promote community spirit by hosting more events and introducing a sharing menu.

Patrick told the Advertiser: “We have had quite a lot of time in the past year to reflect on what is important to us. During this period of reflection, we have been focussing on seven key areas, which are the set of values and beliefs which are important to all of us and which we hope will be important to our community and customers.”