Historic Marshwood inn named real ale group CAMRA’s West Dorset Pub of the Year

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Am historic village pub – home of the world stinging nettle eating championships – could soon become a community-owned business.

The famous Bottle Inn on the Devon and Dorset border at Marshwood has been put up for sale by its owners, who live in Australia.

It has recently been declared a community asset by West Dorset District Council which means “qualifying local bodies” have until March 17 to notify the authority of their intention to bid for it.

Leader of West Dorset District Council Robert Gould said:

“The Bottle Inn at Marshwood is recognised by the district council as playing an important role in local life.

“It is registered on our list of assets of community value which means community groups have extra time to develop a bid and raise money before the landowners decide who they wish to sell to.”

Licensee Nigel Blake, who runs the pub with wife Chrissy, said he hoped to be part of any new ownership team.

He said some 55 local people signed a petition to have the pub listed as a community asset and they all now have the right to make an offer for it, either individually or as a group.

If a bid is made the purchase money would have to be raised within six months.

“It looks quite promising and hopefully we can stay on as a part owner and go on running it for the community,” added Mr Brake.

Community organisations interested in bidding for The Bottle Inn need to check that they qualify under the Community Right to Bid and give notice of their intentions by contacting The Head of Community Planning and Development, West Dorset District Council, South Walks House, Dorchester, DT1 1UZ

In The meantime The bottle has just been named West Dorset pub of the Year by the real ale group CAMRA.

Spokesman Michel Hooper-Immins said: “The Bottle Inn is in many ways the perfect English country pub, with a thatched roof and porch, an open fire and a splendid selection of six real ales.”

* The Bottle Inn’s nettle-eating competition began in 1986 to resolve a dispute over who had the longest nettles.

Local resident Alex Williams brought in one over 15 feet long, and challenged anyone to beat it, promising to eat his if they could. Someone did, and the contest was born.

Competitors over the years have included Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and comedian Rory McGrath who filmed the event for a TV show.

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