Arkell’s Brewery has completed a makeover of the garden at recently refurbished pub The Runner, by clearing out a formerly overgrown river flowing past the pub to reveal The River Ray, transforming the garden into a mini paradise on the Wootton Bassett Road between Old Town and West Swindon.
This is the final investment in Arkell’s latest refurbishment of the pub, formerly known as The Running Horse. Earlier this year the pub’s interior was completely refurbished when new landlords, Roger and Sally Waite, took over in February.
As a result of the investment, turnover at the pub has risen substantially and the new pub garden is already pulling in visitors, according to brewery director George Arkell.
“The River Ray is a tributary of the River Thames. It begins at Wroughton Reservoir and flows through Swindon into the Thames at Cricklade,” he said.
“When we were refurbishing the pub we realised how beautiful the pub could be if we revealed the river properly, clearing out decades of silt and rubbish to turn the pub into a summer oasis in the middle of Swindon. I’m really pleased with the results and our customers seem to like it too.”
Arkell’s is the latest in a number of organisations helping to restore and maintain the River Ray. In 2007 Wiltshire Wildlife Trust built a tunnel near the Great Western Way at Rivermead to allow the nine species of fish to travel the length of the river without obstruction.
The River Ray Parkway is an off-road ‘greenway’ between Mouldon Hill and Coate Water Country Park following the line of a dismantled railway line. It is a key habitat and supports protected species including otters as well as providing a vital habitat for riverine species of plant and animals. The Runner is a good stopping off point along the way.