News Cheers68BlackBullEtal

Published on March 10, 2017 | by Alastair Gilmour

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Celebrated pubs set sale

The Black Bull, Etal, renowned in particular for being the only thatched pub in Northumberland, is seeking a new tenant. Following several decades of being let to a pubco, the charming village pub has been returned to Ford & Etal Estates, allowing the opportunity for renovation to create a business which will be the hub of the locality.

The Black Bull sits in a row of cottages in the hamlet, itself sitting on the looping River Till, not far from the border with Scotland. This area once rang with battle and ran with gore – difficult to believe on weekends when visitors pick over Etal Castle and Heatherslaw Light Railway. Close by is the site of the Battle of Flodden where, in 1513, the last great medieval battle in the British Isles was fought – the army of James IV King of Scots alone numbering 30,000 men.

Michael Evans of estate agent Savills in Woller said: “The Black Bull offers an exciting opportunity and is recognised far beyond the north Northumberland area. The Estate is very proactive and hopes to work with an enthusiastic, entrepreneurial tenant to create a destination pub at the heart of the community while contributing to the area’s strong tourism offer.”

The pub’s whitewashed, 18-inch thick walls are a welcome sight, particularly if you’ve walked the couple of miles from neighbouring Ford village. The surroundings are blissfully rural – the Ford & Etal estate is supported by 32 farms and 1,480 acres of woodland.

While thatch is the perfect roofing material, shedding rainwater quickly, it requires replacing every 25 years or so. At the last refurbishment in 1999 – completed in Norfolk reed – the team included a female practitioner of the craft, so come 2024, look for the return of yon lady thatcher.

The Black Bull is being offered under a commercial lease for an initial term of 11 years. Deadline for tenders is March 20.

Elsewhere in Northumberland, the pub recently named by Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer as his favourite has been taken over by a newly-formed company. The previous owners of The Diamond Inn at Ponteland, TDI Pont, filed a voluntary liquidation notice in January. Its directors Paul and Margaret Holliday had run the pub since 1986.


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Alastair Gilmour



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