A REAL ale enthusiast has started his first day as landlord of a popular country pub in Bricket Wood, which was on the verge of closure.

The Old Fox, in School Lane, was being sold by owners Punch Taverns, and there were rumours of it ceasing existence as a pub.

However, the day-to-day running of the pub has been taken over by Ken Dury and his wife Lea.

Speaking to the Review from behind the bar, the 44-year-old said he is looking forward to bringing the pub back to life.

He said: “We want to turn this into a thriving English country pub. With real ale and home cooked food.

“I knew very little about this place before today, but there are some punters from my old pub who sort of follow us where we go, and we've seen some other regulars come and go.

“It just needs bringing back to life. We'll give it a lick of paint and brush away the cobwebs to bring it up to scratch.”

He added: “I do love my real ale compared to lagers. I'll be running it predominantly as an ale pub.

“In the summer we've got plans to open up the beer garden and get the barbecue running.

“During Easter we hope to hold children's activities.”

Ken said The Old Fox is said to be haunted and he and his wife are planning to hold a psychic night at the pub.

He said: “The previous guy I spoke to said he used to sleep downstairs in the bar area, but he couldn't because he could hear whispers.”

Originally from Abbots Langley, the couple plan to set up home in the pub.

The future of the much-loved pub has been uncertain for months. It was being managed by Marion Buckley, landlady of The Fox and Hounds in nearby Station Road, on the few occasions it was open.

The Review has been contacted by many readers about the situation regarding the pub's future, since the previous landlord left in the summer of last year, after he was unable to pay the leasehold rent to Punch Taverns.

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