Homesick publicans Cliff and Kate Patterson are delighted to be back on their home turf in the Devizes area after eight years away.
The couple, who lived in Rowde for 15 years, have just taken over The Millstream pub in Marden after seven years renovating a property in France and another year running a pub in Kent.
Mr Patterson, a retired engineering manager with the Royal Mail, said: “After seven years in Brittany we were desperate to get back to Wiltshire. We looked for a pub to take over but could only find the one in Kent.
“But it wasn’t really for us and we continued looking in Wiltshire. We wanted to move back to Rowde but when we saw the Millstream we couldn’t resist it.”
The former New Inn has had a chequered recent history. After the Smith family, who had run it for many years, retired in 2000, it remained empty while the owners Wadworth’s looked to close the nearby Wiltshire Yeoman in Chirton and spend the money from the sale on refurbishing the Marden pub.
In the event, they kept both pubs open and the New Inn became the Millstream. In its new incarnation as a gastropub there were some criticisms about the cost of meals.
Then, in January 2010, it was taken over by business partners Guy Sangster and Howard Spooner who already owned the Outside Chance in Manton, near Marlborough, and changed the name to the Triple Crown.
But they soon found they had overextended themselves and handed back the tenancy to Wadworth’s. It was then run by Neill and Sev Kefford, who also ran the Ship Inn at Burcombe and the Bridge Inn at Upper Woodford, and returned the pub to the Millstream name after consulting villagers.Now they have left and Mr and Mrs Patterson are determined to become long-term residents at the pub.
Mrs Patterson, who work-ed in the kitchen at the award-winning George and Dragon in Rowde for 15 years, said: “We want to run it as a proper pub restaurant at prices people can afford.”
From Monday to Saturday there is a lunch menu with two courses for £10 and three courses for £13.50. The even-ing menu includes starters like Provencal fish soup and roasted duck liver pate, main courses such as medallions of pork with a green peppercorn sauce and traditional English desserts, all home-made on the premises.
Mrs Patterson is looking for a young trainee chef to help her out in the kitchen and the couple will be taking on more bar staff. The couple will be holding a Macmillan coffee morning tomorrow in aid of the cancer support charity.