ABOUT two weeks ago the Admiral Rodney pub at Berrow Green, near Worcester, was a building site. Workmen were still putting the finishing touches to a four and a half-month refurbishment and hoping to meet a re-opening deadline of March 18.

But, with a bit of persuasion from the pub’s owner Andrew Cornthwaite, the project came in before the deadline and the pub re-opened just before Mothering Sunday – a week early.

Andrew, who owns the Admiral Rodney and the Baiting House at Upper Sapey with his wife Kate Lane, explained that the Baiting House was fully booked for diners on Mothering Sunday and the staff were turning people away.

There is no other pub in Martley and it was an opportunity for people to try the refurbished Admiral Rodney, which had been closed for about 18 months.

“We finished the work and opened it on a wing and a prayer, and we did about 70 covers for lunch on Mother’s Day,” said Andrew.

The project has been different from the Baiting House, which was more of a rescue than renovation – it was almost falling down. The Admiral Rodney has undergone a significant refurbishment, making the most of a sound building, refreshing some of the furniture, redecorating and adding some personal touches like the handmade individual and cluster lighting from Ross-on-Wye supplier Fritz Fryer in the dining room.

Andrew said one of the main aims was to re-establish a community pub in Martley for the locals as well as an eating and drinking venue for visitors from further afield.

“The village pub is at the heart of its local community but this place can bring in tourists and do functions. I like the feel of the pub and the way we have got the space to have a proper local bar so people can come in and have a drink, a nice restaurant with good food and a middle bit where people can eat in a more informal area.

“I hope we have created a place where all these things can co-exist happily. I am also happy with the way we have kept enough of the old, that it is familiar to someone who knows the pub from years ago.”

Kate has taken the lead on the interior design and some of the chairs were upholstered and blinds made by his cousin Carl Hobson and his wife Sally.

While the menu offers a range of dishes from pub classics like quality sausage and mash to pie of the day, there are some more unusual dishes too and two vegetarian options.

“One of the pies of the day is always vegetarian and another dish too. Our aspiration is to have a vegan starter and a vegan main course too,” said Andrew.

Although the Admiral Rodney is open for business, it isn’t complete yet. Six rooms upstairs are still being finished but should be open by the end of the month and bookings are already starting to flood in, said Andrew. The old skittle alley is also undergoing a serious make-over and will operate as a function room, while there is planning permission for three, three-bedroom lodges at the back.

Andrew says they want to see how popular the rooms inside the pub are before they decide what to do about the lodges. But one of his aims is to establish a herb and vegetable plot at the back of the pub to serve the kitchen.