Pub owner loves Suffolk freedom
The new owners of the Henny Swan have fallen in love with the pub and the freedom Suffolk offers them after two decades in the capital.
Tracy Allum, 47, sold her business in London and moved to Great Henny after both her and her partner, James Gladwin, 43, decided they wanted to break free from the big city.
“James is from Nayland originally and I’ve been visiting the area for 10 years while we’ve been together,” explained Mrs Allum.
“James was desperate to move back and I’d had enough of feeling hemmed in and fancied a change.
“The fact that we could afford a freehold here rather than a leasehold in London was also a big plus. The freedom is lovely.”
Mrs Allum, who originates from the south coast, said James had taken her to the Henny Swan last year as an example of a great country pub.
“We never dreamt we’d end up buying it,” she said. “It was put up for sale a couple of months later and, although we thought it was out of our league, we showed a speculative interest and here we are.
“We just fell in love with the place with it’s great mix of modern and traditional.
“I love the feeling of history – the original part of the building is 17th century and features original beams and a huge fireplace.”
Believed to be a former blacksmiths, local tales say the blacksmith’s wife would make a bit on the side by selling beer to passing boatman.
The river and weir are just part of the stunning Stour Valley surroundings that make the site so attractive for the couple.
Having been open for a month, the pair hope to offer something a little bit different to entice more customers to visit.
Mrs Allum said: “Our menu takes inspiration from the rustic food from across Europe. That could mean liver and mash or slow cooked lamb and cous cous.
“We also have a selection of tapas to give people the chance to snack and share by the river.
“And while I appreciate the importance of food, I don’t understand why lots of places don’t make much of an effort with their drinks.
“We have 16 beers on draught, including some old favourites and some interesting craft beers, as well as a good wine list, some girly drinks and plenty of interesting spirits.”