The Great Bustard, a country pub with 10 exceptional rooms, set in the picturesque hills of Wiltshire, will open in July 2024 following a complete restoration and expansion. Part of the Great Durnford Estate, renowned as the location for the reintroduction of the Great Bustard to the UK, the pub is named after these majestic birds that were once close to extinction but have now been successfully reinstated in the area. 

The Great Bustard will offer comforting, hearty cooking in the pub, a selection of more refined dishes in the restaurant and a combination of the two in The Courtyard, the restored walled garden. Each menu will be committed to farm-to-table dining and showcase the incredible produce found on the doorstep, always inspired by the seasons. From The Durnford Estate kitchen gardens, where their hard-working bees also live, to the wild game roaming the fields and forest, Head Chef Jordan Taylor will also work alongside local, passionate producers and farmers to deliver the highest quality dishes. With a focus on the best provincial ingredients, menus will offer inventive small plates, hearty roasts, fresh wood-fired pizzas and traditional puddings. A meticulously considered wine list, craft beers and home-infused tipples will be available across the pub and restaurant. The Great Bustard will also be home to The Black Grouse private dining room seating 12, a treatment room and a farm shop.

The Rooms

The Great Bustard will open with ten bedrooms named after birds also successfully re-introduced to the UK. Elegantly decorated in warm muted tones, using natural materials; linen, wool, warm timbers, bronze and ceramic accents, there will be oak flooring and natural rugs throughout and the furniture a mix of antique and contemporary, with ceramic and earthenware lamps. With two bedrooms in the main building and the rest adjacent in The New Yard, expect exposed beams and panelled walls, bathrooms stocked with the estate’s newly launched organic DURNFORD products, large walk-in showers and traditional nickel and porcelain wash stands.

The Treatment Room

The Osprey wellness room will be a calm and restorative space offering treatments, including aromatherapy massages and facials, using artisanal brand, DURNFORD, made with botanical active ingredients created by the Great Durnford Estate team in collaboration with aromatherapist Annie Brown. All products are designed with the best of British nature ingredients, without synthetic chemicals, genetically modified organisms, or man made fertilisers and pesticides, which benefits the local wildlife. As far as possible the ingredients have been sourced locally. This has been an intriguing learning curve for the estate in terms of finding the perfect ingredients for these products. As a result, The Great Durnford Estate Head Gardener and team are now adapting the estate gardens so that from next summer, the garden can be certified and all the ingredients can come from the Great Durnford Estate.

The Farm Shop

The Great Bustard opens with The Farm Shop, a converted shepherd’s hut stocked with DURNFORD products including artisanal jams, chutneys and pickles, game from the estate, DURNFORD botanical products including hand cream and oils made in partnership with local aromatherapist, Annie Brown, and hand packaged by the Great Durnford Estate team. In addition there will be products from local, passionate suppliers, and finally products from the Great Bustard Organisation. Locals and visitors will be welcome for a morning coffee and pastries or simply to stock up on delicious local produce.

The Location

Located in the picturesque Woodford Valley, The Great Bustard is just three miles from World Heritage Site of Stonehenge and six miles from the medieval city of Salisbury. Its position just south of the A303 acts as the gateway to The West making it the perfect stop over, and the surrounding countryside offers varied and picturesque walking and cycling routes. Close to the banks of the River Avon, the area is a hotspot for angling for all abilities, teeming with species including bream, carp, pike and trout. The Woodford villages are some of the prettiest in the area, with walking routes that weave through woodlands and follow the river. A ten minutes drive away lies the 11th century Old Sarum Castle, from which William the Conqueror staked his claim on the south west of England. Nearby Little Durnford Manor, a 17th century, Grade I listed house is home to a paddock of camels, alpacas, goats and horses which can be spotted from the public footpath which leads through the middle.

 

Conservation 

Globally, the Great Bustard is at risk of extinction. Experts estimate that there are fewer than 35,000 Great Bustards left in the UK, having been previously classed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Globally Threatened Species. Thanks to the efforts of The Great Bustard Group, this status has since changed to endangered, with populations increasing following support from the general public, local area and their patron HRH The King. The charity is committed to protecting and promoting the interests of the Great Bustard in the UK, reintroducing the birds at three different locations across south Wiltshire. All of the three groups are now successfully breeding and the population is growing. Part of the Great Durnford Estate, The Great Bustard pub takes its name from these iconic birds which were once close to extinction. To ensure the Bustards’ survival in the area, the pub works closely with the charity, and across the seasons guests can enjoy activities such as stakeout bird watching and nature tours as a result of this partnership.

Rooms from £200 Bed & Breakfast www.thegreatbustard.uk