The popular 16h century Red Hart is an attractive pub bedecked with flowers during the summer months.
Wintles Forest Brewery in Mitcheldean once owned the Red Hart and in 1891 and 1903 their ale house had an annual rateable value of £16.0s.0d. and closed at 10 pm. When the Red Hart was put on the market in 1923 it was described as being built of stone, with rough cast and occupying a good position.
The Red Hart was freehold and fully licensed and let to Mr William Payne ‘a tenant of over 13 years standing’ and had the low rent of £24 per annum with a ‘rent of £2 per annum paid for the brewery for the adjoining orchard which is let with the house’. The particulars of sale gave the information that on the ground floor was a bar, tap room, smoke room, beer store, large store rooms, kitchen, pantry, wash-house and W.C. There were four bedrooms on the first floor with a large sitting room, box room and tank room. Outside was a coach-house and loft, closet and urinal, small garden and a brick built stable with room for two horses with a loft over.
Wintles Brewery was acquired by the Cheltenham Original Brewery in 1937 and the Red Hart exchanged ownership in the process. Through the subsequent changes and acquisitions the pub became tied to Whitbread. A legacy of the past is the West Country Ales ‘Best in the West’ ceramic plaque that still adorns the wall. The Red Hart finally became free of tie and since then the inn has flourished and has won many awards and accolades over the years.
The Campaign for Real Ale has bestowed many awards to the Red Hart and at the time of writing in February 2022 it is currently Forest of Dean CAMRA Pub of the Year – a distinction that has been awarded to the pub many times. In fact it was Gloucestershire CAMRA’s first Pub of the Year. Landlady Sharon Hookings said ‘We concentrate on the quality of beer for our customers. We keep one local beer, four other beers and a traditional cider.’ In 1994 the Red Hart was named CAMRA Regional Pub of the Year.
When the Bespoke Brewery opened in 2012, in the shadow of the old Wintles Mitcheldean Forest Brewery malthouse, it was entirely appropriate that the Red Hart was chosen to be the first pub to showcase their Saved by the Bell – a light hoppy bitter.
The Red Hart also has an enviable reputation for the quality of its cuisine and attracts diners from far and wide. In an ‘eating out’ review for the ‘Citizen’ newspaper in March 2013 the reviewer wrote, ‘As you step through the cottage-style door of the Red Hart the feeling of warmth embraces you. The pub has a roaring wood burner, traditional flag stones, oak beams and memorabilia along its window sills and on its walls. With candles lit on every table the atmosphere obviously attracts all age groups, Young couples, older groups, families and people just dropping in for a drink. The specials boards was special! There were dishes including venison, scallops and tapas.’
Sharon at the Red Hart said “At the Red Hart we welcome everybody, Ollie the pub spaniel is always pleased to greet new customers, including children and dogs.’
Landlords at the Red Hart include:
1856 J. Baker
1885,1891 Charles Hatfield
1902,1903 William Woodman
1906 Bosworth Sims
1919 William Payne
1927,1939 Gideon Price
1979-1991 John and Iris Dunbar (retired after 19 years, ending nearly 70 years family connection with the pub. John and Iris took over from Linda’s parents, Elsie and Frances Hogg, who took over from Elsie’s father, Gideon Price.
1991-1996 David and Eileen Burton
1996,2007 Guy Wilkins
2012-2022 Sharon Hookings