Marshwood’s Bottle Inn closes again

Another blow for world famous nettle eating pub

A WORLD famous West Dorset pub has closed again – a victim of stay-at-home drinkers.

The Bottle Inn at Marshwood has lost its third set of licensees in less than two-and-a-half years.

Despite its fame as the venue for the world nettle eating championships the pub has struggled to provide a year round living for its landlords in recent times.

The latest to reluctantly throw in the towel are Shelley and Simon Dumper – born-again Christians who even tried to double up the inn as a centre for Sunday worship.

But this week a notice on their website tells how they have had to cease trading and adds: “We would like to thank all of the customers for their love and support during our short time here at the Bottle Inn.

The Dumpers took over in May last year after previous landlord Rory MacLeod found the financial going too tough.

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Mrs Dumper said they encountered the same problems.

She said: “People cannot afford to come out. All pubs are in the same boat. They are all empty.”

“That cold spell over Christmas killed us.”

She said the family expect to stay on for some weeks, hoping to be re-housed eventually by West Dorset District Council.

Mrs Dumper said they were hugely disappointed but added: “We have made some really good friends.

“We also sponsored a football team, in Hawkchurch, and that has been great.”

The pub is owned by Michael and Pauline Brookes who live in Australia. They were unavailable for comment.

It is understood they are looking for a new tenant as soon as possible – hopefully by Easter after re-thatching and renovations have been carried out.

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

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.