Like so much of the hospitality industry, the Covid-19 enforced lockdown, gave the Leslie family pause for thought and a rethink of their business model for their much-loved local, The Woodman Inn at Thunderbridge.

Already a popular wedding venue it was renowned for its hospitality and attention to detail, creating the perfect day for many a happy couple.

As the pandemic wiped out a packed diary of weddings overnight, the team took the opportunity to shape the future direction of the business.

Craig Leslie said: “There’s no doubt the last year has been a challenge for us all but as working from home became the norm and there were restrictions on travel, this allowed us time to reflect and take a different approach to The Woodman Inn as we re-evaluate our work-life balance.

“We’re delighted with the thriving wedding and events side of The Woodman Inn. Events director Jordan Lee has become something of a social media star during lockdown, holding regular ‘meet the expert’ events on Instagram, and keeping in front of our brides and grooms.

“His work has been invaluable in keeping our happy couples up to date with what we are doing here at The Woodman. We’re already seeing interest for face-to-face viewings and requests for intimate weddings of up to 15 people.”

The Woodman Inn

With a Wedding Fayre and open day booked to take place Sunday  July 4, the Woodman Wedding experience is showing rapid signs of recovery, with lots of post-lockdown couples eager to say, ‘I do!’

The pandemic allowed Craig and Graham Leslie to review other elements of the Woodman Inn, a change to the management team, a complete refresh and refurbishment, a new head chef and The Garden Room – an exquisite outdoor space – providing the perfect spot for a staycation and Covid-safe pub at the heart of the local community.

Craig added: “The pandemic gave us a pause to rethink the future of the Woodman Inn. We took the opportunity to become more ‘hands-on’ with our country inn and invested in improving what we have to offer.

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“We have a unique position of a glorious countryside setting, with family attractions such as the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Eureka on our doorstep, with 19 spacious rooms, including self-contained accommodation, we are the perfect spot for a family staycation, walkers retreat and romantic getaway.”

Lockdown has shown the importance of the great outdoors which has been captured in the refurbishment of the Woodman. Gone is the outdated colour scheme, replaced with a modern and soothing Parson Stone, which complements the beautiful countryside surroundings.

Head chef Andy Lynam has created a limited menu of his take on Yorkshire favourites for the Garden Room. Andy will be introducing the menu for the country inn, when the Woodman Inn is able to open our doors for indoor dining from May 17.

The Garden Room at the Woodman Inn

The re-imagining of the Woodman as a friendly local and heart of the village has been a labour of love for the community with local suppliers, tradesman and artisans completing the lion share of the work.

Sarah Craig said: “The Woodman is a lovely country inn and we really want to make it a fundamental part of village life once more. We have given the pub, the rooms, the outdoor space and the wedding venue a complete overhaul.

“Local beauticians Andrea Hardy and Rachel Day turned their hobby and shared passion for interiors, into a fledgling business. Hardy & Day have worked their magic across the accommodation, the bar and the Garden Room.

“Suppliers, builders and our team worked through the night so we could open.”