A WEST Somerset village pub has been celebrating the opening of a £20,000 garden today (April 12).

The community raised over £300,000 to buy and renovate the New Inn in Halse last year.

READ MORE: Halse community pledges £330,000 to save the New Inn

The extended garden includes a 12-metre loggia, new paving and new disabled access.

Somerset County Gazette: Stephen Hoole, chairman of the Halse and District Community Benefit Society. Pic: Ian Iles

Stephen Hoole, chairman of the Halse and District Community Benefit Society (formed to legally run the village project), said: "Undoubtedly lockdown, which curtailed the activities of so many, has been a golden opportunity for us to help bring the New Inn back to life.

“The announcement of the planned reopening of the economy gave us deadlines to work with.

"We took the opportunity to get the outside space up and ready, which would have been well-nigh impossible had we still been trading.

"So a very tired area has been transformed into a much larger more welcoming environment. We have been able to create an outside dining space for up to sixty people.”

Last May, the New Inn was set to close, but the village managed to raise £330,000 to buy the pub.

And so £160,000 was set aside to renovate the building, and provide new plumbing, boilers, windows and electrics.

Pub managers were also appointed, the bar restocked and kitchens upgraded.

The five bedrooms and self-contained apartment is also ready for next month's re-opening, once coronavirus restrictions ease.

Somerset County Gazette: OPENING: Pub garden at New Inn

“The community spirit has been high and presented an opportunity for villagers who hadn't before been involved with village activities to participate with fellow villagers," added Mr Hoole.

"It is amazing how word has spread about this project outside our catchment area and how we have been able to save and develop a local business and community asset.

"We hope that this will give encouragement to other villages who are in danger of losing their local pub.”

The New Inn’s newly renovated pub garden is open Tuesday to Sunday.

To find out more visit newinnhalse.com.