Rob Hattersley, 39, from Bakewell in the Peak District founded Longbow Bars & Restaurants, an independent hospitality business, shortly before the pandemic hit. After selling his house to fund his first venue, The Maynard in Grindleford, Rob almost went bankrupt after opening just 6 weeks before the first lockdown.
However, fast-forward three years and he is preparing to open his third venue in early 2024, The Ashford Arms in Ashford-in-the-Water. A beautiful 17th century pub at the gateway to this popular Peak District village, The Ashford Arms didn’t survive the pandemic and has been closed for the past three years.
Rob has undertaken the lease on the pub – which was once owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire of nearby Chatsworth House – in August 2023, and has kicked off an extensive 1.5m GBP refurbishment, with the ground floor, hotel bedrooms, gardens and kitchen undergoing a complete transformation.
“The Ashford Arms will look strikingly different as it undergoes necessary structural work and a complete redesign of the restaurant, bar and nine hotel bedrooms,” said Rob. “As with our other two venues, we will be offering a premium pub experience that ticks all of the boxes; whether visiting the Peak District as a tourist, seeking a pint with friends, a romantic date night by the fire or a lively gathering with loved ones.”
The Ashford Arms will join The Maynard, which has won numerous awards as a wedding venue, restaurant, and hotel, and The George, an award-winning historic bar, restaurant and hotel in Hathersage, which was frequented by Charlotte Brontë.
Rob Hattersley said, “Hospitality was one of the hardest hit sectors in the pandemic and personally I wondered whether I’d ever financially recover. I had no choice but to go on Universal Credit in lockdown as the team and I struggled to keep The Maynard afloat.
I’m so proud of the team and what we have achieved over the past three years, and there is a great deal of excitement about the new addition to the Longbow family. As a Peak District lad, nothing brings me greater pleasure than breathing life into unviable hospitality businesses in my home county. I can’t wait to share The Ashford Arms with everyone, whether they are local or from further afield, in the New Year.”