A ONCE popular and award-winning Dorset country pub has closed its doors.

The Gaggle of Geese pub in Buckland Newton, that had been renowned for its charity poultry auctions, is currently closed to customers apparently due to a lack of custom.

A notice on the door from landlords Paul and Jinny Lambert states: “We are sorry to say that due to the lack of trade the Gaggle of Geese is now closed for the foreseeable future.”

The pub had also been housing outreach postal services for the village, which will continue in the short term.

The notice states: ‘The outreach post office will remain for the short term on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 9am to noon. For those who have used the pub in the last 18 months we thank you for your custom.’ Under the previous ownership of Mark and Emily Hammick the pub gained a host of awards and featured on BBC television’s Escape to the Country.

Their charity poultry auctions raised thousands for local charities such as Julia’s House children’s hospice, the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and the MS Society.

Vice chairman of Buckland Newton Parish Council Nicki Barker said villagers were waiting to see what was going to happen to the pub.

She said openings had been reduced to three evenings a week in recent months and last week it closed completely.

Cllr Barker said: “The village is unhappy about it and will try its hardest to find a solution that will get a pub back.”

Chairman of West Dorset CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Dave Harris said the response to the closure of the Gaggle of Geese was one of ‘shock all round’.

Left with ‘no choice’

LANDLORD Paul Lambert said he was ‘disappointed’ that he was left with ‘no choice’ but to close the pub.

He said: “We’re as disappointed as anyone about the pub not being a viable business.

“The way people use pubs has changed dramatically in the last five to ten years and there just hasn’t been the numbers of customers through the door we had hoped for.”

“We had been using another business to subsidise the pub over the last 18 months but the pub still didn't break even so we were left with no choice but to close.”