A VILLAGE pub which has been closed for several months is bucking the national trend by re-opening as a traditional local hostelry.

The 300-year-old Blacksmith’s Arms at Westow, one of only a handful of free houses in Ryedale, has been bought by Mark and Jane Scholefield who, for five years, ran Will’s Bar in Malton Market Place.

And one of the first moves the couple have made is to return its name and signage back from The Blacksmith’s Inn – at the request of villagers, says Mark.

“They are really pleased that it is re-opening but many of them asked us to change the name back again,” he said.

The pub has also won back the local darts, dominoes and cricket teams which had left it.

While retaining its character as a village pub, The Blacksmith’s will also have a restaurant.

“It’s ironic that we should have come to Westow,” said Jane. “Both of us were born atWestow Croft Maternity Hospital.”

Before opening Will’s Bar – named after one of their two children – Jane was an assistant manager with Nat West in York and Malton, while Mark worked at Wards the building construction company in Sherburn.

The pub, which is being extensively refurbished, is due to re-open later this month.