Medieval Peak District pub wins prestigious CAMRA design award for refurbishment

The Blind Bull pub in Little Hucklow has scooped the prize for best refurbishment at the Pub Design Awards run by the national Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

The awards, held in conjunction with Historic England, celebrate exceptional pubs across the country that have undergone conversion or conservation work, or are newly built.

Raab Dykstra-McCarthy, owner and landlord at the Blind Bull, said: “We are beyond thrilled. We spent two years carefully restoring and refurbishing this 12th century inn, using local materials and traditional techniques, and have been bowled over by the enthusiasm and support we've received – especially as we opened our doors for the first time in the midst of a pandemic.

“Our aim is to bring an unsurpassed drinking and dining experience to the Peak District, in a beautiful and relaxed environment, so it means a huge amount to us to have been recognised by CAMRA so soon.”

The 12th century Blind Bull was thought to have closed for good but now looks to have a bright future.

According to the awards criteria, refurbishment can range from a complete gutting and replacement of the pub to enhancing the design of what was originally in the building.

The pub was a regular entry in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide in the 1970s and 1980s, but it fell upon hard times and closed, apparently for good, in 2005.

After failed attempts to convert it to other uses, a very extensive refurbishment began in 2018, based on designs provided by Studio Gedye of Hathersage for the owner, Catriona Grant.

Andrew Davison, chair of the judging panel, said: “The team at the Blind Bull have done a fantastic job of refurbishing their pub. Using local craftspeople, and retaining original features and materials, the refurbishment was planned to be as eco-friendly as possible.

The pub includes a dining area and snugs perfect for hiding away with a quiet pint.

“Its new conservatory extension provides additional space in the pub itself, while a separate accommodation block should provide additional income to support the business. It is a worthy winner of the award.”

For information on the pub, see theblindbull.co.uk.

The seven award winners will be officially celebrated at a virtual ceremony on Thursday, August 26.

The announcement coincides with CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival At Your Local event, being staged across the country to helping pubs draw customers back in now Covid restrictions have eased. To find out more about the festival and what is happening in and around the High Peak, go to local.gbbf.org.uk.

A new conservatory has been added to the building as part of a comprehensive refurbishment.
Customers can also enjoy the breath-taking views across the Peak District landscape.