I feel a bit disappointed when I pull up in the car park opposite The Brewery Inn in the Shropshire village of Coalport. This has nothing to do with the pub itself.

Nestling on the banks of the River Severn and with the sound of laughter from of an early summer's evening drifting towards me, I'm looking forward to stepping inside.

But really, I shouldn't have come here in my car. I should have ridden into town on the back of a horse and tied him up outside while I go for a pint.

If that sounds more like something from the American west you should take a closer look at how freeholder Fiona Hotchkiss has attracted the horse-loving community to her pub.


She explains: "It's a very horsey area. I've got horses and half of the staff have horses. A couple of the local bridleway groups started coming down here so we installed a stronger fence and put tie rings on so they could stop and have a drink."

There are now about a dozen tie-rings and it isn't uncommon to see as many horses resting there while their riders pop over the road to the pub.

However, the idea that really took off was the mounting block and accompanying water for the horses that Fiona has put out by the front of the 150-year-old building.



"We put the mounting block out because a lot of people wanted to stop but some of the older people said they would struggle to get back on their horse if they got off," she continues.

"It went absolutely crazy the minute we put it onto Facebook with the amount of people commenting and sharing."

It has resulted in an impressive selection of local and national press cuttings as well as extra trade, not that Fiona was thinking about the till when she introduced the block.

"We are not fussed if they come in or not. We are quite happy for them to stop and have a drink and pop in and use the loo if they want.

"We did it because we are part of that community. It wasn't done to make money but we have had groups of 10 people tie the horses up for an hour and come in for a meal and a drink. It's nice to see people use it regularly and the kids love it when the horses are here."

She is proud that it has brought people together, especially as many had not previously met. The pub has even become the base for horse related equipment sales.

"It was like a car boot sale inside full of saddles and other bits," she adds.

It was also done in memory of her father Roger, who died last year. He ran several pubs in the area and took on the freehouse at The Brewery Inn more than 30 years ago. He was also a horse lover who encouraged Fiona's interest.

Fiona has lived at the pub her entire life and is keen to continue the work of her parents (her mum died when she was 12) by making the pub the beating heart of the community.

As well as horse riders the pub is a popular stop off for walkers and cyclists who use the Silkin Way that runs through the county.

Fiona opens for breakfast so that fisherman can get a bite for themselves away from the river.

"We open at 9am where most people open at 12. We get a lot in early for breakfast. A lot of fisherman will go out at 5am or 6am then come in at 9am for a bacon butty and their day ticket."

Food is a big driver of trade and the generous portions that are taken to the tables around me would be enough to satisfy the appetite of someone who was hungry enough to, well, eat a horse, but you won't find that on the menu here.

The noticeboard on the wall packed with local events tells you this is a pub that serves its community. As does the library of second hand books that have helped raise hundreds for a local hospice.


More money is raised through regular traditional games and clairvoyant nights.

Next on the list for Fiona is the continuation of a refurbishment project.

Like many successful contemporary pubs The Brewery Inn has stuck to its traditions while always being on the lookout for new ideas.