Owner of All Creatures Great and Small pub The Green Dragon at Hardraw seeks new leaseholders to run the business

The owner of one of Yorkshire's best-known country pubs is seeking new leaseholders to take the business forward.

The Green Dragon at Hardraw
The Green Dragon at Hardraw

Mark Thompson has owned The Green Dragon at Hardraw since 2001, and ran it himself until he retired in 2016. He now leases the 13th-century inn to licensees, and the current lease expires in January.

Mr Thompson hopes that the recent success of Channel Five's All Creatures Great and Small, in which The Green Dragon's interiors appeared as fictional pub The Drovers Arms, will boost visitor numbers further and allow the business to reach its full potential.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The inn sits alongside the Hardraw Force waterfalls, and Mr Thompson also owns the visitor centre beside them.

He says he is 'open to suggestions' from interested parties, whether they want a long or short lease, and would consider adding other parts of the site into the contract. The business's accommodation includes letting rooms, apartments and a bunkhouse.

"I'm not sure exactly what I'm looking for yet. Initially I've put the pub up, but there are also the rooms and apartments. People might want part of it, just the pub on its own, a long or short lease.

"In the future, the visitor centre might come into the equation too. At the moment, I would prefer another lease, but in future I may consider a full sale of the site."

Mr Thompson, a keen painter, spends much of his time at his homes in Greece and Cornwall.

"I'm not on the ground as much any more. So far I've had plenty of interest from word of mouth, and I have interviewed a few people to find out what they want.

"The market is challenging at the moment, but it is a good stand-alone place. It has been affected by lockdown like everywhere, and I am mindful of that and will offer reasonable terms. In the last few years, it's not been open as often as I would have liked and I want someone who can take the pub forward and really develop it."

He described The Green Dragon as a 'one-off' shrouded in tradition and local legend.

"It's got the Georgian interiors, and it is unique in the district. That tradition needs to be maintained, and it has a strong local following. The accommodation and food could be developed, and there are 14 acres of land, so it could host weddings and festivals.

"Since All Creatures aired, we've had a lot of interest, though of course the pub was often closed when people wanted to visit. By the spring, hopefully travel will be allowed again. I think it could be like the Goathland Hotel (in Heartbeat country) and there will be a big uptake in interest. We already get 20,000 people visiting the waterfalls each year.

"I would say to anyone interested to come along - I'm an open book and all offers are invited, with terms to be discussed. I'm open to all suggestions, providing they are sensible!

"You can really shape your own future here. I can't see this pub ever being boarded up."

Contact Mr Thompson on 01969 667572 if you are interested in taking on the lease.