Scenic North Yorkshire Moors pub says trading has boomed since it reopened after lockdown

The newly refurbished Owl at Hawnby, near Helmsley, said trading has boomed since it reopened after lockdown with a brand-new Shepherd’s Hut on site and bookings stretching into 2022.

Formerly the Inn at Hawnby, the Owl has been transformed into a country pub and restaurant
Formerly the Inn at Hawnby, the Owl has been transformed into a country pub and restaurant

Formerly the Inn at Hawnby, the Owl has been transformed into a country pub and restaurant with rooms in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

The long term leasehold of the Owl, which remains an integral part of the Hawnby Estate, has been bought by Coastal and Country Inns Group.

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Chris Hannon, managing director of Coastal and Country Inns, said: “Trade has been absolutely amazing since we reopened on April 12.

Chris Hannon (left) and Jamie Savile (right) at the Owl’s brand-new bar

“It has been non-stop and bookings are essential. We have been completely astonished and humbled by the response.

“The lockdown enabled us to complete the £650,000 refurbishment which has transformed the 19th century Owl into one of the finest restaurants with rooms in Yorkshire. It has been frustrating not to be able to show everyone what we’ve done, but now everyone is getting a good look, even though we are only operating outside.

“We have been fully booked each day and our brand-new Shepherd’s Hut, which serves seven different pizzas and a special every day, has been going down a storm. Repeat

bookings are coming in, day after day, with tremendous feedback, which is incredibly reassuring.

“Upcoming highlights include Nyetimber Champagne for £30 per bottle every Friday and, from May 17, when we will hopefully be allowed to serve food indoors, 2 8oz steaks for just £25."

Numerous shooting parties are now booked in from September 2021 until February 2022, but there are still a few spaces available. Mr Hannon said swift booking is recommended.

Situated on the Hawnby Estate, the Owl is integral to the village, serving as a hub for the local community, as well as being very popular with hikers, cyclists, countryside sports enthusiasts and tourists.

Jamie Savile, who runs the estate, said: “The hill-top village of Hawnby has really missed having a thriving country inn. The Owl is now looking magnificent and it is really putting our picturesque village on the map again.

“We are absolutely delighted that the Owl is now managed by an accomplished company such as Country and Coastal Inns. They have a tremendous track record, with a number of other successful rural inns across the UK, and they share our enthusiasm and desire to build a sustainable and successful business.

“We believe the Owl is now a destination pub and restaurant with rooms, becoming the beating heart of the village again, as well as a welcome oasis for hikers, tourists to the

National Park and lovers of good food and drink.

“The success of The Owl is crucial to the estate and the wider village and we are extremely happy to have found somebody who shares our enthusiasm and desire to build a thriving rural business."

Mr Savile said the restoration of the pub is part of an on-going regeneration of the whole village, which includes transforming a number of run-down properties into holiday cottages and shepherd’s huts.

Other Coastal and Country Inns include the Crown at Roecliffe, near Boroughbridge, and the Devonshire Arms at Hartington, near Buxton.

The Hawnby estate was purchased by John Savile, the 6th Earl of Mexborough, in 1897. Mexborough Estates, owned and operated by the Savile family, currently maintains a number of properties in the village.

The estate received significant funding for the refurbishment of the Inn through the LEADER grant scheme. The LEADER programme is a European Union initiative to support the development of the rural economy.