The Trooper Inn is run by husband and wife team Debbie & John.
How did you end up at The Trooper?
To cut a long story short, we were looking for a normal house in an entirely different area! The Trooper Inn popped up on the internet and John jokingly said, ‘Deb do you fancy having a look?’ Surprisingly, I said yes and we popped over on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The pub was shut and no one was in sight. We decided to have a look around Stourton Caundle village and just fell in love with it, it’s a magical place. As we strolled around everyone said hello to us no matter what age they were. Very unexpected – we lived in Poole and people tended to only say hello if you had a dog! We then did some research and turned up for the special Friday Fish & Chips, and again the people in the pub sold the lifestyle to us, they were so friendly and everyone spoke to us.
We then viewed the property and we haven’t looked back; we moved in on 1st November 2019, opened on 19th December and closed for the first lockdown on 23rd March… blimey what a journey we’ve had!
What’s your favourite local place to visit on an afternoon off?
We love walking round the surrounding countryside and visiting other local pubs such as The White Hart and The Olde Ox, it’s always good to chat with other landlords and compare notes, especially as we have never run a pub before!!
Tell us about your 2020/21
It has been an extraordinary period for us. There are 6 of us living at the pub – our two sons with their partners, me and John along with the pub pup Trooper (aka Fluffball). We have offered takeaways while we have been shut, and we have also kept ourselves busy working on and improving the pub. Last year we received a small grant so we set to task to clear out the old, unused car park to the rear of the pub and transform it into a sunny courtyard; we are really pleased with the result, and everyone says how relaxing the area is, making them feel like they are on holiday. It is also a great space for get-togethers like weddings and birthday parties – we’ve also held some wakes there too because it is such a peaceful, private spot and can be separated from the pub area at the front. This year we are putting a lot of energy into setting up the tiny campsite at the bottom of the pub garden area. It takes 5 motorhomes and 10 tents and is a pure piece of the countryside.
What are you most prioud of?
I am very proud of the Trooper family team and their sheer determination to keep going no matter what Covid has thrown at us – and its goes without saying the continued support and interest from some amazing villagers who have never stopped using our takeaway service and offered such friendly enthusiasm whilst the pub has been closed or open. Stourton Caundle is a wonderful place to live in and the local farmer Alban Harris of Brunsell Farm is always on hand to help with the campsite, bless his cotton socks!
What part of the pub is your absolute favourite?
The pub is just so charming with loads of history, you can feel that when you sit out front in the sunshine by the little bubbling brook, opposite Manor Farm that used to belong to Enid Blyton. Here you can watch the tractors,
horses and the occasionally sheep go by! Long ago the pub was used to enlist young men for battle, hence the name The Trooper Inn. We’ve also just had a lovely wood burner installed so the winter evenings are extremely
cosy to enjoy your pint with.
Which dish is your most popular?
Friday Fish & Chips is the winner, followed by our Wednesday hot pots and Sunday lunches. What’s better in life than sat outside a tiny pub in the middle of nowhere with a freshly cooked meal and a delicious cool pint of ale, cider or a delicious glass of wine?
What’s next – do you have big plans on the horizon?
We always have big plans – watch this space! Subject to the Covid guidelines we will be open, we have plenty of outdoor space and the campsite will hopefully be up and running from late April subject to weather. If you are looking for a small piece of escapism in the Dorset countryside, give us a call and book your space, we’d love to see you!
John, Debbie, James, Jo, Joe, Tracy & Trooper the Fluffball