Lavender meadow boosts pub sales

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Related tags: Agriculture

A couple at a remote village pub in Cheshire have turned a love of French landscapes into a sales booster. Frances Cunningham, who has run...

A couple at a remote village pub in Cheshire have turned a love of French landscapes into a sales booster.

Frances Cunningham, who has run award-winning freehouse the Swettenham Arms with her husband Jim for 15 years, recreated the lavender fields of Provence to fill the pub's two-acre "eyesore".

Due to tight restrictions from the local council the pub is unable to use the space by its banquet suite as a garden - it is registered for agricultural use only.

So instead the Cunninghams planted 4,000 Grosso lavender plants, which are hardy enough to survive cold winters in the north of England.

And now the pub, believed to be the only one in the UK with a lavender meadow, attracts visitors from all over the country.

"People laughed at me when I told them my plans, but actually lavender has become in vogue," said Frances, who has worked in the trade since 1973. "We're always racking our brains trying to think of how to get customers to drive all the way here.

"Now they come for a walk round the fields, we give them free bunches of lavender and of course, the village smells lovely."

She says the crop, thriving after four years, has also been vital in putting the wheels in motion to obtain planning permission to build accommodation at the pub.

"We're very remote, and lose a lot of wedding bookings simply because we do not have enough accommodation," she said.

"Before the field, the authorities were very negative about our plans to build rooms, but we recently had someone in to view the property who was impressed with the lavender, and our plans for lavender honey, from a conservation perspective."

Related topics: Other operators

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