ANOTHER popular Dorset country pub has shut its doors.

The Chalk and Cheese in Maiden Newton suddenly closed to customers on Sunday night.

A spokesman for owners Punch Taverns said: “The pub is closed temporarily and we are looking to reopen as soon as possible.”

It comes following the closure of a number of other rural pubs in the county in recent weeks.

A sign posted on the door of the pub reads: “Please note that The Chalk and Cheese is now temporarily closed until further notice.

“Mr Murray would like to thank all his regulars for the support given over the last few years and wishes you all well.”

Landlord Al Murray took up his role at the Maiden Newton pub in February 2009 after spending six years in the Royal Navy.

The pub has regularly supported the Help for Heroes charity over the years.

Residents have spoken of their shock at the loss of the renowned Dorset pub, which was considered an integral part of the Dorchester village.

Cllr Cherri Dyke, of Maiden Newton Parish Council, said: “It was as much a shock to us as it was to anyone else. I don’t use the pub myself but it is a loss to those people that do and for the village.”

Resident Gary Tippett said: “People just can’t afford to go out to the pub any more, pubs put up prices to survive and push customers away, who then stay home and drink cheaper supermarket alcohol.”

A staff member at the Maiden Newton Stores and Post Office said: “It closed quite suddenly and Sunday night was the final time it was open.”

Parish councillor Paul Valinksi said the issue would be discussed by the council at the next meeting.

The renowned Piddle Inn at Piddletrenthide recently called time and is now being sold, with the village community hopeful it can be retained as a pub.

This came shortly after the sudden closure of the Gaggle of Geese at Buckland Newton and became the third pub in recent years to close along the six-mile stretch from Piddlehinton to Buckland Newton after the European Inn closed around three years ago.

The European Inn at White Lackington has since been converted to housing while the future of the Gaggle of Geese remains uncertain.

The Piddle Inn is now being marketed for sale by Christie and Co, with anyone with offers of above £300,000 for the freehold invited before noon on Friday, July 25.

Anyone with enquiries is asked to email