In one village after another across the country, pubs are closing, as many as 25 a week by some counts, and this is accepted with English fatalism. But the people of South Stoke, near Bath, chose not to accept the loss of the Packhorse mutely; the locals decided to save their local. And in the process they may have demonstrated that ‘community’ and indeed ‘local’ or localism are not merely empty rhetoric.
Part of the charm of Bath is its setting, lying in a valley ringed by hills, a town surrounded by villages. Some of them, Widcombe or Weston, have been absorbed into the town, like those former villages called Hampstead and Clapham, but just to the south of Bath are true villages, Monkton Combe, Combe Hay, Wellow — and South Stoke, still separated from the city by open country, was praised by the great Pevsner as a rare example of a real village almost within walking distance of a mainline station.