South Downs village pub to reopen this weekend ... after six year battle

The Black Horse, Amberley, as it was after it closed in 2012
The Black Horse, Amberley, as it was after it closed in 2012

A village pub is to reopen on Saturday after a six year battle to save it from redevelopment.

The Black Horse in Amberley closed in 2012 and its future looked bleak - until villagers formed the Amberley Black Horse Action Group and banded together with other residents and Amberley Parish Council to save it.

It was declared a ‘Community Asset’ but remained neglected until 2016 when the then near-derelict building was bought up by Johnnie and Emma Kennedy.

The couple, who previously developed and owned both the Vintage Rose Café in Storrington and The Welldiggers Arms in Petworth, are now set to reopen the pub on Saturday (December 1).

Centrally located in the heart of the village, The Black Horse has been a popular meeting place for the residents of Amberley for more than a century and new owners Johnnie and Emma are confident it will become so again.

A new restaurant has been installed with a view into the kitchen enabling customers to see the produce and dishes being prepared. “Our head chef is passionate about working with seasonal, local produce and offering the best culinary experience from the simplest homemade scotch egg, to a seabass stew made with Nutbourne tomatoes,” said Emma.

The couple have also added 11 en suite bedrooms and a breakfast room with views over the South Downs and village. There is also an accessible room for the less able. On completion early next year, they will feature a cosy, individual style while incorporating a comfortable and practical design coupled with modern technology including free wifi, a flatscreen TV and DAB radio.

The pub’s enclosed garden has been landscaped to include a terrace and large seating area, also offering views across the Downs.

“The Amberley Black Horse will be the perfect environment for customers to relax with a cocktail or a pint, take a long brunch or a quick snack as they tackle the South Downs Way, enjoy a celebration supper or settle for a weekend stay in idyllic surroundings,” said Emma. “We look forward to welcoming back former customers together with newcomers and the many visitors to Amberley.”

From December 1 the Black Horse will be open 7 days a week from 11am until 11pm.

See www.amberleyblackhorse.co.uk