Tweedsmuir community to bring former pub back to life

More than 100 residents in Tweedsmuir are hoping that levelling up funds from the UK government will come their way. Credit: ITV Border

The Crook Inn is one of Scotland's oldest pubs, serving, hosting and entertaining for more than 400 years.

However, over the last decade, it's been boarded up. 

It's just one of more than half a dozen pubs in this part of the Borders which have shut down in recent years, but the Tweedsmuir Community Company has begun to bring it back to life.

Gavin Parker, Chairperson, Tweedsmuir Community Company, said: "This is phase one of the project, a cafe bistro, with some new facilities around the back - disability access toilets, showers and the like for our camping pods, we have a little bar, it is just a great opportunity to get the community coming together."

The ambitious multi-million pound project, which is being reviewed to receive UK government levelling-up funds, has also received support from local politicians, the Scottish Borders Council and Destination Tweed.

Lesley Mason, Community Development Officer for Tweedsmuir Community Company, said: "The next phase of our project is to deliver accommodation on-site for visitors, and at the back of the building we are planning to put up a bunkhouse for cyclists and for families who want cheaper accommodation in the area.

"We have currently got all the plans in for that and are hoping for funds to help with deliver the project, and we also have five camping pods - which we have also submitted for planning approval."

The main building, which includes protected listed parts has been gutted inside and a survey has been circulated to residents as to what they think it should become.

Lesley Mason added: "Some of the key things that are now missing for our community are affordable community housing, so that could be something that the community aspires to create, some business units, spaces for people to work from home, there has been a huge change in how people work now."

Just across the road, local primary school children and volunteers have transformed the pub's abandoned and overgrown garden.

Frances Leckie, Tweedsmuir Community Company Board Member, said: "There is quite a lot of energy being thrown into this formal garden, there is going to be an area in the middle where we can play ball games and have barbecues, things like that."

The survey results are due on Monday 26 September with decisions on funding and support for the continuation and expansion of the project expected in the coming months.