Thwaites declares West Midlands pub as best in bloom

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Blooming proud: Doug Wilkinson of the Shoal Hill Tavern won the Pubs in Bloom contest
Blooming proud: Doug Wilkinson of the Shoal Hill Tavern won the Pubs in Bloom contest

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A West Midlands tavern has been named the best in its Pubs in Bloom competition, out of 250 pubs across the country, by its pubco.

Shoal Hill Tavern, in Cannock, was named the winner by judges for the Thwaites Pubs in Bloom competition, which was open to all pubs operated by Thwaites Brewery.

The site beat five finalists vying for the title because of the consideration taken when designing the aesthetic of its garden. 

Tiers of flowers were claimed to give the pub strong kerb appeal, while a 200-year-old holly hedge had been painstakingly replanted.

Customers are also said to enjoy smelling the fresh herbs used in pub food situated next to dining tables.

Time and effort

Licensee Doug Wilkinson, who won £1,000 worth of beer as a prize, said: “We have really transformed the place over the past six years and we have added to the flowers and outdoor area every year.

“When I first took the pub on, it looked tired and one of the first things I did was put baskets outside so people could see the love that was being put into the pub.

“We salvage as much as we can so it can be used the following year and we try to think how we can best use the outdoor space – so we have log piles to encourage insects and animals, we’ve got a herb garden that is used by our kitchen and we have a fantastic view from our new sunken garden.”

The other finalists were the Barrel in Walkington, East Yorkshire; the Druid Inn, Gorsedd, north Wales; the Anchor, Darwen, Lancashire; Kings Arms, Burton-in-Kendal, Cumbria; and Bulls Head, Blackburn, Lancashire.


Judge Toni Naylor, pub marketing executive at Thwaites Brewery, said: “Doug has really thought through how to make the best of the outdoor space around the pub.

“It is so striking when you arrive because of the wash of colour and the sheer volume of flowers there.

“But then you when you look closer, you see all the other work and features that have taken place, like the different herbs and how they are being used in the menu and the nature areas that are attracting all sorts of wildlife.

“It certainly draws attention and makes you feel like you’re somewhere really special.”

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