SEE inside a traditional village pub which has reopened on the outskirts of Salisbury with a renewed focus on simplicity.

Villagers of Great Wishford flocked to The Royal Oak as it opened for the first time under new management on Wednesday, May 1.

The Rude Giant Brewing Company took over the pub in March, carried out necessary repairs and redecorated to give the venue a "fresh look".

Before this, the pub briefly reopened in 2022 after villagers spent six years trying to save and it followings an initial closure in 2016.

Landlord Luke Randall, 43, relocated from Wales to take the helm of the Royal Oak with the aim of creating “the beating heart of the community” in an old fashioned pub.

Salisbury Journal: Luke Randall is delivering an old fashioned pub to Great Wishford.Luke Randall is delivering an old fashioned pub to Great Wishford. (Image: Newsquest)

The 43-year-old was looking for a new challenge and joined the Rude Giant team as he thought the Royal Oak had “the greatest chance of success”.

“I really agree with the Rude Giant vision and I think this pub can be what the brewery wants it to be which is a simple, constant boozer,” he said.

Five Rude Giant beers are sold at the Royal Oak, including a lager, pale ale, best bitter, session IPA and a juicy IPA. Two guest cask ales rotate weekly.

While Mr Randall is serving some great locally brewed beers, he doesn’t want to focus on the alcohol.

Instead, he wants to turn the Royal Oak into a place where everyone can feel comfortable to socialise, whether they’re drinking a Rude Giant best bitter, a coffee or an orange juice.

Salisbury Journal: Mr Randall pouring a Rude Giant pale ale.Mr Randall pouring a Rude Giant pale ale. (Image: Newsquest)

The reopening on Wednesday, May 1, “felt like a reunion” and Mr Randall said the village had warmly welcomed him.

“It has had such a lovely vibe in here, really positive, and long may it continue,” he added.

Tim Phelps, 61, a chimney sweep who has lived in the village for 59 years, thinks the pub is "going in the right direction".

Mr Phelps explained how villagers have been burned in the past by landlords who failed to deliver on their grand ambitions for the pub.

In reality, people akin to Mr Phelps just want a straight-forward, traditional pub. A place they can come to socialise and enjoy a good drink.

Salisbury Journal: Villager Tim Phelps, 62, has a good feeling about the pub's new management.Villager Tim Phelps, 62, has a good feeling about the pub's new management. (Image: Newsquest)

He first walked through the doors the day after the pub reopened and said he saw “all walks of life coming in from the surrounding villages”.

Impressed with the beer’s “excellent” quality and reasonable prices, Mr Phelps said: “I’ve got a good feeling about it. I will find an excuse to walk the dog this way every day.”

Daily community-level events will be introduced in the coming weeks to give people an extra reason to support the pub. Some of Mr Randall’s ideas include free play pool evenings, darts nights, movie club, karaoke and more.

Salisbury Journal: Landlord Luke Randall, 43, wants to build the beating heart of the community.Landlord Luke Randall, 43, wants to build the beating heart of the community. (Image: Newsquest)

The vision is for Mr Randall to solely run the pub which means a full food menu will not be served, although bar snacks are offered and food trucks will be brought in for larger events.

“We have a very simple menu designed to give people a bite to eat and keep them here rather than bring them here. We’re not claiming to be a food destination pub,” said Mr Randall.

“This is about showcasing the beers, community and simplicity itself.”

The Royal Oak is open Monday to Thursday from 4-10pm, Friday and Saturday 12-11pm and Sunday 12-10pm.