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5th March 2024

Local Derbyshire hero, Alyson Hill, will reopen The Ashford Arms on 8 March after overwhelming support from the local community

The Ashford Arms, an iconic 17th century country pub in Ashford-in-the-Water, near Bakewell, will be officially reopened by local hero and Bakewell Mayor, Alyson Hill, on Friday 8 March. Alyson was chosen to cut the ribbon at The Ashford Arms following a Derbyshire-wide survey.

Commenting on the reopening, Rob Hattersley, owner of independent hospitality business, Longbow Bars & Restaurants, said:

“The Ashford Arms has been an integral part of the local community for the past 400 years. We wanted to celebrate that, and the fact that it is opening its doors for the first time since the pandemic, by inviting someone that represents everything that we love about the area to help us reopen the pub.

“Rather than approaching someone ourselves, we decided to ask the public. We published a Facebook post asking people who they thought was a true local hero, and we were blown away by the response. Almost 100 suggestions were put forward, with lots of very worthy individuals amongst them. However, Alyson’s name came up time and time again, and we’re delighted that she has accepted. We can’t wait for her to join us to reopen this very special pub.”

Several reasons were given by those that nominated Alyson, including the fact that she puts her all into her position as Bakewell Mayor – and is so visibly passionate about representing and promoting the area. Others mentioned the life-changing accident that she had in March 2023, during her position as Watch Manager with the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service. Despite her injuries, she hasn’t allowed it to slow her down or dampen her enthusiasm.

Responding to her nomination as a local hero, Alyson said:

“I don’t really see myself as a hero – that’s not how I would describe myself at all! However, I saw Rob’s kind invitation as a way to celebrate the lovely, tightly knit community that we’re all a part of. Like many of us, I’m very excited about the reopening of the historic The Ashford Arms. It’s going to be a great asset to the local area, and I can’t wait to share a few drinks, laughs, and stories with friends here in the years to come.”

“I would like to thank the people who nominated me for their kind words – and also recognise everyone else that was suggested as a local hero. They are all truly inspirational and a credit to our community.”

Despite thriving for around 400 years, The Ashford Arms couldn’t survive the pandemic and was forced to close its doors in 2020. Rob took on the lease in 2023 and has brought it back to life with an extensive £1.6 million refurbishment. The ground floor, nine hotel bedrooms, gardens and kitchen are in the final stages of a complete transformation. Its distinctive features, including its symmetrical limestone exterior have been carefully repaired and preserved.

The restaurant has been turned into a warm, welcoming space, with beautiful design finishes that nod to the history of the building. It will cater for 107 diners with Raymond Blanc trained executive chef, Adrian Gagea, designing the menu, and multi-award-winning chef, Chris Parker, stepping up as head chef.

The premium pub menu will feature pub classics with a modern twist alongside dishes inspired by the team’s travels and world flavours. Menus will change according to the season, and what is being grown nearby, with ingredients supplied by local farms, heritage brewers and artisan producers. The pub will serve breakfast, lunch (including Sunday lunch), and dinner.

Rob founded Longbow Bars & Restaurants shortly before the pandemic hit, selling his house to fund his first venue, The Maynard in Hope Valley. He had a rocky start, which saw him on the brink of bankruptcy, due to the nationwide lockdowns, but he has quickly established himself as a rising star in the Peak District hotel, pub and restaurant industry.

The Ashford Arms will join The Maynard, which has won numerous awards as a wedding venue, restaurant, and hotel, and The George, an award-winning historic bar, restaurant and hotel in Hathersage, which was once frequented by Charlotte Brontë.

The Ashford Arms will be fully open to the public from 9 March (8am to 11pm, Monday to Sunday) Bookings can be made now via

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Further information

Note to editors:

High-res images of The Ashford Arms are available on request. We will be capturing photos of Alyson opening The Ashford Arms on 8 March, which we can send to you, if required.


Jennifer Bell, Feather & Fern PR, on behalf of Longbow Bars & Restaurants.

Phone: 07955 031 986


About Longbow Bars & Restaurants Ltd:

Longbow Bars & Restaurants Ltd is a growing independent hospitality business located within the Peak District. Currently operating three venues; The Maynard, an award-winning wedding venue, bar, restaurant and hotel, The George Hathersage an iconic and historic bar, restaurant and boutique hotel, and The Ashford Arms.

The Ashford Arms in Ashford-in-the-Water was acquired in August 2023 and will open on 9 March 2024 following an estimated £1.6m refurbishment in collaboration with Heineken.

From dog walkers in muddy boots, to couples enjoying the Chatsworth Suite on their dream wedding day, The Maynard and The George appeal to a wide audience. After many years of exclusive use, both venues are always open to all; whether tourists enjoying a Peak District staycation or the immediate community looking for their local pub.

Food is fresh, hearty and delicious. Everything is made from scratch in state-of-the-art kitchens led by executive chef, Adrian Gagea who trained under Raymond Blanc. The menu changes to reflect the seasons and utilises the freshest sustainable premium ingredients from local farms and suppliers. Food intolerances and allergies are catered for with 90% of the menu adapted to make gluten-free or dairy-free with a wide array of vegetarian and vegan dishes.


Jennifer Bell, Feather & Fern PR, on behalf of Longbow Bars & Restaurants.

Phone: 07955 031 986


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