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From Ilkley Gazette, June 28th, 2021
Written by Claire Lomax

A COMMUNITY campaign to save the historic Hermit pub in Burley Woodhead has been successful.

The Save the Hermit group has announced that following their campaign to have the 400-year-old pub registered as an Asset of Community Value, the sale by auction was withdrawn and the previous owner has accepted an offer from the Burley Woodhead Pub Company.

Nicholas Hooper, a Burley Woodhead resident and co-ordinator of the Save the Hermit campaign, said: "This is brilliant news for the community and for all those people from further afield who have expressed their regret at the loss of the Hermit.

"The success of our campaign shows that local people can stand in defence of a community asset. We are very grateful to all those who have given their support and advice during the campaign – notably the Bradford branch of Campaign for Real Ale, former Otley MP and pub champion Greg Mulholland, Shipley MP Philip Davies, Burley Parish Council, and Menston councillors and residents who have already successfully campaigned for the Malt Shovel to be bought by a local group.

"But above all we want to thank the local residents who set up the Burley Woodhead Pub Company to carry out the purchase. Residents tell me they can’t wait to enjoy a pint of beer or glass of wine in a friendly environment again."

Former Keighley and Ilkley MP John Grogan who helped advise the campaign said: "Getting the Hermit back under local ownership serving pints and good food is as important for the community and identity of Burley Woodhead as is The Wheatley Arms for nearby Ben Rhydding which was re-opened in 2009 after a similar but longer campaign. Bradford Council has now designated the Hermit as an asset of community value which strengthens protections for the future."

Work started at the Hermit on Tuesday, June 21 to remove a rotten tree that has represented a known hazard for more than 20 years and to thin out the wild-seeded trees that have been allowed to obscure the glorious views over Wharfedale for which it was formerly famous. 

Nick Hooper added: "I understand from the new owners that a lot of work and investment will be needed to prepare the pub to be re-opened and that the kitchen and cellars in particular are in a poor condition. It is going to be a substantial job to get the pub ready. The new owners have exciting plans and are keen to consult with local residents about how best to deliver a traditional Yorkshire country pub the whole community can be proud of."

Initial details of the plans can be found with contact details on the new website at

The owners are looking now for an operator for the pub, either a pub operating company or a manager with the vision and dynamism to make a success of it.