Flora in the new look Dashwood

James and Flora are hard at work at The Dashwood in Kirtlington when we arrive, making coffees and chatting to the locals. That they are already at home in the historic pub, now converted into a restaurant/cafe with rooms, is obvious, but they also have big plans for the site, which lay empty for several years before they took it on.

Since then they have given it a new lease of life; redecorating, renovating, fixing the leaks, and generally making it as friendly as possible.

The Dashwood, now a coffee shop and village hub

“We want it to be a space the village can really use, a home away from home,” Flora says looking around at the groups of mums with kids, ladies having coffee and cake together, while others work on their laptops while enjoying a sandwich.

“We want it to be a village hub for locals, dog walkers, hikers, mums, the elderly and everyone in between. Family friendly I suppose, somewhere people can come on their own and a fun space to be. And it’s been so nice to meet everyone and get to know them,” Flora says.

The Dashwood

“So while it has been hard work because the building was in a much worse state than we expected, we have spent all our time bringing it up to spec, putting down new flooring, painting walls, bringing in new tables, we don’t do anything by halves,” James says, “so we haven’t really stopped.”

And with a new wine list, extensive pizza offering, cakes and pastries from Barefoot Bakery in Jericho, coffee from Noni, and Flora’s daily specials, the duo plan to introduce a more complex menu soon.

Coffee from Noni at The Dashwood

“We are learning fast on our feet but are getting busier and busier. We were fully booked on Saturday night and sold out of pizza, so it’s all going according to plan,” they said.

“It’s such a wonderful location here and the community is lovely, so we are really looking forward to the future here and putting The Dashwood back on the map.”

The Dashwood. https://www.the-dashwood.co.uk