Salisbury pub reopens after being left derelict for years

An “abandoned” pub near Salisbury has reopened after spending years in a damp and derelict state.

The Ship Inn, Burcombe, stood empty for three years, before married couple Andy and Egija Caston took over about a year ago.

The gastro pub, which is on the banks of the River Nadder, has now started welcoming customers again following a refurbishment project that took at least three months.

Andy, 45, and Egija, 41, leased the building last May. It reopened to customers in September.

The couple had prior to this been living in France for 13 years, managing a hotel and restaurant called La Vieille Maison in the Dordogne.

Before this, they lived in Devon, where Andy managed bars. They couple met when they worked together in the hospitality industry in Guernsey.

Andy said the pub had been “abandoned for two years”.

He explained: “There was nothing here – it was damp, it had been left abandoned. It was just a shell, basically.

“The garden was overgrown and the inside was rotting. Everything has been replaced. There was much more involved than we thought but we only went slightly over budget, which is a relief.”

Andy added that, despite its condition, the pub and its position “ticked all the boxes” for the couple: “It is a beautiful area. We were looking for something in the country.”

The pub runs a seasonal menu – currently serving a spring menu, it is due to change to its summer menu in early June – which is “not typical pub food” like fish and chips. 

Instead, Andy describes it as “good, modern English and European cuisine”.

He refers to it as a gastro pub, but adds he is “loath to use that word”.

Andy’s favourite items on the menu include the smoked trout starter, or the beef cheeks, which are “melt in the mouth”.

However, he says it is still a village pub, which is “supported quite well by locals, but not a huge drinking pub”, with a bar and separate restaurant area.

The 17th century pub has no nautical connections, but is called The Ship because of its position on the way to sheep fairs in the area.

The inn was nicknamed The Shep, until times changed and sheep fairs became less common, with lorries used for transporting animals, and The Shep changed with the times to became The Ship.


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The Ship Inn will be holding a Jubilee weekend celebration, with music and a BBQ, in early June.

From damp and derelict to cosy village pub – in pictures

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