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The Bertie Arms in Uffington is having a new thatched roof

Getting your hair done during lockdown is pretty much impossible - unless you happen to be a village pub.

The Bertie Arms in Uffington is undergoing a complete rethatch, and the process is providing a great spectacle for anyone strolling by.

Built in 1681, the pub is now owned and run by Katie and James Genever.

Rethatching is needed at least every 30 years
Rethatching is needed at least every 30 years

They kept the pub going through the pandemic by providing takeaway meals until the middle of December - a service that proved immensely popular.

But, with the current lockdown in full force, they are taking the opportunity to have a huge job done, in the form of a whole new roof.

“It will cost well in excess of £50,000 - which equates to over 15,000 pints of beer!” said Katie. “The thatch is made from long straw, grown and harvested by the thatchers Dodson and Son in Cambridgeshire.

Katie and James Genever, landlords of the Bertie Arms in Uffington
Katie and James Genever, landlords of the Bertie Arms in Uffington

“At the moment there are eight on the team and we are expecting the work to take about six weeks. We’re about half way through.”

The roof needs recovering every 25 to 30 years, while the top ridge should be replaced every 15. The Bertie was last fully rethatched in 1998.

Katie and James discussed a ‘finial’ to top off the roof but couldn’t settle on which design to choose.

“After a few marital tiffs (lockdown is taking its toll) we decided to leave it without one,” Katie laughed.

The pub’s old straw will be used on the roofs of Copthill School’s Bronze and Stone Age educational huts, just down the road.

Katie added: “Being custodians of a 350-year-old listed building, we know how important it is to maintain the premises and we are very lucky to share it with members of the public.

“We can’t wait to be open again and welcoming people back to The Bertie Arms; we have so much to catch up on - not to mention the 15,000 pints we need to sell!”

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