A FAMILY-owned pub and brewery chain is celebrating after adding a popular local to its portfolio of properties.

Lakeland Inns has snapped up The Royal Oak which sits alongside the River Crake in Spark Bridge, a village in the Lake District National Park.

The pub has been closed more recently, but will reopen later this month after a mini revamp serving a wide selection of wines, spirits and locally brewed ales.

From the kitchens, a team will create gastropub-style dishes with all fresh ingredients sourced from within 20 miles.

Bosses say they look forward to the pub becoming a part of the community once again, while offering a great place to stop for visitors to the area.

Kirsty Mackenzie, the managing director of Lakeland Inns, said: “We have been searching for a pub to add to our portfolio for quite a while. Finding the perfect place is difficult because there are so many factors to consider.

“The Royal Oak is a fantastic addition to the Lakeland Inns family. It is in a wonderful village which is beautifully situated on the River Crake. The pub is in great condition and has plenty of charm and character. We’re giving it a little TLC and will be open for business from Friday February 14 for drinks. We hope to open the kitchen for food the following week.

“The response so far has been overwhelming. Residents of Spark Bridge say they are delighted they will have a local again and the team are Lakeland Inns are excited by the next step in the development of the business.”

The village of Spark Bridge is steeped in the history of the Lake District Bobbin Mill industry.

The Royal Oak pre-dates the original Bobbin Mill of Spark Bridge, which was situated on the banks of the River Crake, running from the southern tip of Coniston Water to Greenodd.

The site where the Bobbin Mill stood on the river bank was once an Iron Foundry which dated back to medieval times.

This was converted into the Bobbin Mill in 1850. The Royal Oak dates back to the 17th Century when it was previously used as a home for the manager of the mill, who lived here with his family for many years.

The house was converted into The Royal Oak in the late 1700’s/early 1800’s and was mainly frequented by the workers of the Bobbin Mill many of whom lived in the cottages of Spark Bridge.

The Bobbin Mill thrived for many years producing wooden Cotton Bobbins until the 1930’s when it was converted to the production of bobbins for electrical wire, eventually closing its doors in the 1970’s after surviving both World Wars.

Many of the buildings housing the Bobbin Mill are now houses and many of the old workers cottages have now become Holiday Cottages.

Lakeland Inns owns three other pubs; The Sun in Ulverston; The Black Cock in Broughton-in-Furness and The Commodore in Grange-over-sands. It also owns Stringers, a 100 per cent renewably powered micro brewery

The opening of The Royal Oak will create eight new jobs in the area, which will increase in the summer months as casual holiday roles are created. An ongoing scheme of refurbishment will continue in the coming months.

Visit the Royal Oak’s Facebook page for details of the positions, or call 01229 585044 for more details.

James Higgins of 32West – 01229 808 306 or james@32west.co.uk

Lakeland Inns is a family business which is run by husband and wife team, Scott and Kirsty MacKenzie.

The company operates three pubs across the south Lakeland area; The Sun in Ulverston; The Commodore in Grange and The Black Cock in Broughton-in-Furness.

Lakeland Inns creates its own beers and ales from its 100% renewably powered brewhouse in Ulverston. The beers are sold in all Lakeland Inns pubs under the Stringers Brewery brand, and are also available at pubs across the north west.

The Sun Inn is the proud holder of a Cumbria in Bloom gold award.