Cumbria Times
Weekend Edition
Phil Hopkins
Group Travel Editor & Theatre Correspondent
1:00 AM 12th February 2024

Pandemic Pub Reopens Following £1.6m Refurb

Rob Hattersley outside The Ashford Arms
Rob Hattersley outside The Ashford Arms
The Ashford Arms, a 17th century country pub in Ashford-in-the-Water, near Bakewell in Derbyshire, opens again on 4th March after it was ‘claimed’ as a Pandemic Shutdown despite its 400-year-old pedigree.

Despite thriving for nigh on four centuries, The Ashford Arms couldn’t survive the pandemic and was forced to close its doors in 2020.

However, Rob Hattersley, owner of independent hospitality business, Longbow Bars & Restaurants, took on the lease in 2023 and has now brought the ancient hostelry back to life with an extensive £1.6m refurbishment.

The ground floor, nine hotel bedrooms, gardens and kitchen are in the final stages of a complete transformation. Its distinctive features, including its symmetrical limestone exterior have been carefully repaired and preserved.

The restaurant is being turned into a warm, welcoming space, with beautiful design finishes that nod to the history of the building. It will cater for 107 diners with Raymond Blanc trained executive chef, Adrian Gagea, designing the menu, and multi-award-winning chef, Chris Parker, stepping up as head chef.

Rob said: “It feels incredible to be so close to reopening this special country pub. We’ve had such positive feedback from locals, who are excited to have it on their doorstep again. It will also be ideal for those from further afield, wanting to spend time in this stunning corner of the Peak District. It’s in the perfect location to finish off a walk in the countryside with a glass of something, or a bite to eat – and the comfortable rooms make it a wonderful base for those that want to stay and explore the area.”

Rob founded Longbow Bars & Restaurants shortly before the pandemic hit, selling his house to fund his first venue, The Maynard in Hope Valley. He had a rocky start, which saw him on the brink of bankruptcy, due to the nationwide lockdowns, but he has quickly established himself as a rising star in the Peak District hotel, pub and restaurant industry.

The Ashford Arms will join The Maynard, which has won numerous awards as a wedding venue, restaurant, and hotel, and The George, an award-winning historic bar, restaurant and hotel in Hathersage, which was once frequented by Charlotte Brontë.

The Ashford Arms will be open from 8am to 11pm, Monday to Sunday. Bookings can be made via the website at