12 August 2008

Cherry Bomb for GBG Stalwart

The front page of this month’s What’s Brewing glumly reports that the Cherry Tree Inn in Tintern, Gwent, South Wales has closed. It is especially heart-wrenching that this particular one of 57 community pubs throughout Britain currently closing month on month has ceased trading. The Cherry Tree is one of a select club of ten in Britain (and unique to Wales) to have made it into every edition of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide since its inception in 1974.

The pub is situated in idyllic surroundings, oddly sat atop the local Post Office / convenience store but is about half a mile behind the A466 main road and the iconic 12th Century Tintern Abbey and as such suffers from a lack of passing trade. Sadly, the owners have seen fit to call it a day and move on to another hostelry in a far more prominent location in the shadow of the Abbey.

The final straw, according to former landlord Steve Pocock, was down to what can only be described as complete idiocy on the part of the local council in forcing him to remove a modest A-frame sign from the main road, which informed tourists of the pub’s existence. Clearly the trickle of GBG-carrying conscientious drinkers was not enough to supplement the local trade and, having been shut since May, yet another national gem is in danger of being lost permanently.

What a disgrace! At a time when Britain’s best and most revered public houses need more support than ever, the local authorities have hammered a nail into the coffin of this splendid 300-year-old alehouse.

Pan-C and I were fortunate enough to pay a visit last summer, thanks to our friends choosing to hold their wedding reception at the nearby Anchor Hotel (ironically the new home of the Cherry’s former tenants). Stone steps led us up to an attractive roof terrace and the entrance to the inn where we were confronted with a small, pointed hardwood bar, a choice of several ales and cider dispensed by gravity direct from the cask and a warm smile from the chatty barmaid. Sat outside in the tranquil Welsh countryside, for me it was a real epiphany moment – probably as close as I have come to pub utopia.

Although now it seems I may never be able to return. Word has it the Post Office and village shop are also under threat of closure and that a planning application for change of use is in the pipeline. One can only hope that some fervent campaigning by the local Gwent Branch backed heavily by CAMRA HQ will entice a saviour to step in; or else a part of Tintern’s history will be lost forever.



  1. This is scandalous, soon the Great British Pub will exist only in the minds of the marketing men who will milk it for theme pubs in the same way as the Irish pub. These kind of ale houses are as much a national treasure as ruined abbeys, historic trees and as such should be encouraged so that future generations of Brits can enjoy real ale in a real ale house.

  2. I find this a tragedy. I spent my whole childhood in this very valley, and have always enjoyed a decent pint at the Cherry Tree with near and dear ones. It is not only one of my favorite pubs in the world but a site of many great memories.
    Despite now having lived abroad for years, I have always returned here. Local authority idiocy knows no bounds.

  3. Anon,

    Thanks for you comment. I can imagine your despair as a former local. We only visited the once and the Cherry Tree really left its mark on us. Sadly, six months on I can find no information to suggest that any progress has been made in saving the pub. Don't suppose you fancy moving back to Tintern and taking it on?

  4. The pub is currently facing 'change of use' but the locals are fighting back!
    Please help..


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