A NEW landlord and lady are hoping to bring the heart back into the rural community after stepping behind the bar of a South Somerset pub.

Phil and Sarah Taylor have years of combined experience in hospitality and dealing directly with the public, which they are already putting into use to turn around the Windwhistle Inn, in Cricket St Thomas.

“We took over on October 1, so it has been just over three and a half months” said Phil.

“We have got to build the reputation back up, and build the service back up.”

Sarah added: “We have got mostly good reviews and rave reviews. We got the odd customer but we just learn from it.”

The couple have also got the backing of the St Austell brewery, which is set to invest in the pub and carpark.

Phil said: “We are creating a destination that people can come and enjoy having a chat, enjoy having a couple of beers or a meal.

“We want to make this a hub for the community in between Chard and Crewkerne.

“We are not just a pub. We have meeting rooms and then functions rooms for weddings.”

Phil previously ran a 28 bedroom hotel in Torquay. He was also the junior chairman of the local rugby club and used to bring the team for games in Chard.

Sarah’s background is in nursing, and the pair also own a care company in Torbay.

The Taylors have a host of improvements they are planning to bring to the Windwhistle over the next few years, starting with a new breakfast menu.

Phil said: “What we want to create is that whole home from home feeling almost - a place where you can bring the kids and the dog and just have a good time.

“We are planning to put a bar outside, possibly have a serving hatch during the summer and do basket meals in the garden area.”

Sarah Tricker is the events and marketing manager for the Windwhistle.

She said: “It is trying to put the heart back into the community.

“Sarah and Phil really want to start bringing people together, and also working with the local people and businesses.”

The Windwhistle Inn is also enjoying a 90 per cent recommended from people on social media and the new owners have already held a number of successful events.

The couple are also hoping to create links with as many local clubs as they can.

“The car club use this as their base, and we have a rally that comes through once a year on their run up to Weston,” said Sarah Taylor.

“We are planning to add a bike night for cyclists to ride to the pub, and add community based events for charity.”

With plenty more in the pipeline, stay up to date at facebook.com/thewindwhistleinn.