A community group has created a buzzing new food and drink venue in Kington, despite facing a major setback when it bought the historic Oxford Arms.

Open Arms Kington (OAK) took on the Oxford Arms in April this year but found it couldn’t re-open the popular pub and hotel straight away because it needs urgent repairs and renovation.

Undeterred, the volunteer group set about creating a beautiful new space in a historic barn and the courtyard to the rear of the pub, which has already hosted successful events in recent weeks, such as a Bastille Day supper with French-inspired food from the Cider Barn, Pembridge.

Hay-based Origin Pizza has also made a number of appearances at the Oxford Arms courtyard, including feeding some of the crowds who attended Kington’s famous wheelbarrow race in June.

The courtyard bar is now open on Friday and Saturday evenings with other pop-up food offerings planned throughout the rest of the summer. The Oxford Arms also has a colourful caravan café, serving barista coffee, cakes and snacks from 1200 to 1800 every Saturday.

In addition to the barn, protection from the weather is provided by a large vintage caravan and gazebos over the courtyard, creating a bright, open space, which is proving popular with visitors and locals.

Other events planned for the summer include the Kington Folk Club’s Summer Social on August 12th, with local musicians and food from the Cider Barn’s pop-up kitchen, and Ludlow’s Pizza Girls and Wild Street Kitchen from Shrewsbury will be serving food on 31st Aug and 22nd September.

The Cider Barn will make another appearance on 19th August, following Kington’s Vintage Rally and again on 21st September, during the Kington Walking Festival.

OAK plans to reopen the Oxford Arms next year, reviving one of Kington’s most cherished pubs and providing a community space, with an emphasis on supporting local youth.

Proceeds from the Oxford Arms will be reinvested into community projects.

OAK spokesperson Judith Gardner said

“We were so disappointed not to be able to re-open the pub itself as soon as we would have liked, but when we emptied out the barn and cleared up the courtyard we revealed an amazing unused space that we might not have discovered otherwise. This has enabled us to bring in revenue and hopefully keep us on target for the grand reopening next year.”