I’ve recently become aware that often when I meet or chat to a constituent, I end up mentioning a pub near where they live.
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, I do love a proper English pub with all that it entails… home cooked food, a good selection of ales and cider, the odd dog begging for scraps and the gentle hum of chat and conviviality. Secondly, I still use pubs to navigate by as they are great reference points in our towns and villages.
It’s been well documented how many of our pubs have been under the cosh even before the pandemic hit these shores. Various campaigns that I have been happy to support have called for cuts in beer duty or greater support for the pub trade. This was pre-pandemic when we were sadly seeing much loved pubs close across the country.
Research reveals there were 40,866 pubs in England and Wales before COVID hit. Their figures reveal that 473 have closed for good since then which is the equivalent of roughly one a day.
Many of these pubs would have been local landmarks that had been trading for many decades, but sadly could not ride out the many challenges of a country tackling a pandemic.
Over the last several months I have spoken with many pub landlords in East Devon. My team and I have worked with them to access government grants or to obtain licences to create or extend their outdoor drinking areas.
One of the projects we have been working on is the creation of a dedicated website listing pubs across East Devon. Whilst sadly I have not been able to visit all of them (yet!), I want everyone to be aware of the pubs near to you, along with a bit of information about them.
The website contains a map so you can pinpoint pubs nearby where you live or further afield if you wish. You can find the site at www.eastdevonpubs.co.uk
As we begin a new month where we will see many people enjoying a staycation, a trip to the pub is always a good idea. Please support the pubs of East Devon and if you know people who are coming to visit our part of the county, please pass on the website link. By promoting and supporting our local pubs, we can ensure their survival for future generations. Cheers!
This column first appeared in the Exmouth Journal on Wednesday 4th August 2021 and in the Sidmouth Herald and Midweek Herald later in the week.