Our Story

Lesley Burgess - My dad and I used to cycle to the Packhorse from Combe Down most Sunday lunchtimes in summer when I was 9/10 years old (60 years ago!!) Dad had a pint and I played on the wonderful old rocking horse that used to be in garden. First Pub I ever went to. Great to see it back.

The Team

James Dixon, General Manager

James Dixon, General Manager

James grew up in a small village near Tenby, West Wales. Engaged in the pub trade from an early age, James experience has covered large tracts of the country: Edinburgh, Cardiff, Oxford and Bristol before finding the delights of Bath. James is a life long fan of great local food, drink and the sweet science of rugby (supporting Bath RFC and Wales). James described the opportunity of becoming the General Manager of the Packhorse Community Pub as “the closest thing to a love story you can find in my profession”. James is charged with making the business both a happy place to work and a great place to visit!
Jade Stephens, Head Chef

Jade Stephens, Head Chef

Jade has been working full-time as a sous chef at The Packhorse since 2019 and has recently been promoted to head chef. She worked at Lucknam Park for 7 years under the best mentor a young ambitious chef could have – Hywel Jones. Under Hywel's tutelage, Jade competed in the South West Chef of the Year competition in 2016 and reached the final. In 2018 she entered the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards of Excellence and achieved one of their prestigious awards. Jade is really looking forward to starting the position of head chef and can’t wait to start cooking and creating new menus for The Packhorse customers.
Catalin Nita, Supervisor

Catalin Nita, Supervisor

Catalin grew up in a town called Bacau in northern Romania and later moved to Italy. He considers himself half-Italian and is completely fluent in the language. Looking for better work opportunities, he decided to move to the UK and has been living here for almost 10 years. Catalin has always worked in the hospitality industry and his adventure at The Packhorse started 18 months ago. He says it was love at first sight and the history, location, community spirit and friendly customers have only increased the love he feels about The Packhorse. Aside from his passion of pairing good food with wine, he enjoys music and can speak four languages!
Molly Cross - Supervisor

Molly Cross - Supervisor

Molly has been working at The Packhorse since 2018, she first joined the team as a summer temp and then came back to work full-time after her university degree. She feels it is the ideal job for her as she loves being in pubs (both sides of the bar!). When Molly isn’t working shifts at The Packhorse, she will either be dreaming about Disneyland Paris or physically be there, making the most of her annual pass. Her love of Disney also proved useful in her previous job as an organiser of Princess parties!
Cerys Boyce - Waitress / Bar Staff

Cerys Boyce - Waitress / Bar Staff

Cerys has been working at The Packhorse since May 2018 and is one of our original team members. She loves working at the pub and last year Cerys started an apprenticeship in level 2 hospitality training, with the ultimate aim of joining her best friend Molly at supervisor level. When she's not working, Cerys enjoys going out with her friends and walking her little dog.
David Earp - I was very saddened to hear of the closure of the Packhorse. I stumbled into it whilst walking in the area a year or so ago and thought it was one of the nicest pubs I’ve ever been to. Good luck with the campaign!

Our Values

The vision of the “Save the Packhorse” project was to re-establish the Packhorse pub as a community-owned, commercially-viable, social amenity that we can all enjoy and be proud of.

To this end, we aspire to run the Packhorse Community Pub with the following values at its heart:

(1) Guest Driven
Everything we do is based on exceeding our guests’ expectations. We succeed when we deliver moments of service that go above and beyond what is expected. Being guest driven means seeking to, consistently, provide an effective, fast and personalised service.

(2) Sense of Humour
Our guests do not come to the Packhorse to receive earnest, formal, high service; rather, we seek to be famous for putting a smile on our visitors’ faces. We look to recruit staff who fit this vibe: that is personable staff who take their hospitality profession very seriously but not themselves!

(3) Attention to detail
Aligned with the first value, is our attention to detail: the little things, the minor aspects of service that many others forget or can’t be bothered to attend to. People don’t come to spend their money just to eat and drink; they spend their money to experience atmosphere, service, performance and ambiance and to feel special. We aim to “wow” our guests and this requires us to stay on top of all the “little things”. When we do so our guests tell others and return time and time again.

(4) One Team
The Packhorse brand and story is far bigger than any single member of the team – regardless of position. There is no room for egos in our business. Rather, we seek to serve as “one team” with everyone playing an equally important part – from the Board Directors, to the General Manager, to the Head Chef to front-of-house to kitchen support. We all “live or die” together in terms of whether we succeed in establishing the Packhorse as a premier destination. If we are not serving a guest, we aim to serve a colleague who is.

Our Friends

The Packhorse vision was brought to life as a result of the many, many volunteers, professionals and community-spirited companies who gifted their time, services and products to this extraordinary venture. A heartfelt “thank you” to all of those listed below and the many others whose names went un-captured. The Packhorse, as you see it today, truly is the product of a thousand generous hands.

  • CIL Management Consultants
  • Angus Cunningham of Resourceful Earth
  • Martin Bridge of Oxford Dendrochronology
  • Alex Keene of All Things Green
  • Acoustic Consultants Ltd
  • Andy Borland
  • Ann Samler
  • Alide Hire Services
  • BANES Planning Services
  • bathSAT
  • Bath Recycling Skips
  • Ben Constable
  • Ben Purnell of Tynings
  • BuroHappold Engineering
  • BW-Tech Group
  • CAMRA
  • Cannon Clarke
  • Catherine Beale
  • CGL Card Geotechnics Ltd
  • Corrie Schrijver
  • Chris Timson and Anne Gregson
  • Claire Rendall Interior Design
  • Professor Robert and Mrs Judith Parfitt
  • Roz, Finlay and Claudia Moorhouse
  • D.B. Gibbons
  • Dando Surveying Ltd
  • David Austin Roses
  • David Chasemore
  • E3 Consulting
  • Fire and Brew
  • Hedges Direct
  • Heritage England
  • Honey's Midford Cider
  • Hugh and Jenny Steele
  • Jane Riley
  • Jeff and Alison White
  • Jeff and George Coles
  • Jenks and Helen Knill
  • JME Conservation
  • John & Ursula Brooke
  • Kevin Maxwell
  • Linda Chick
  • Lindum Turf
  • Mann Williams
  • Mark Angela
  • Mark Charlwood
  • Mega-Rod
  • Mendip Fireplaces
  • Paul and Jane Beazley-Long
  • Nicholas Pearson Associates
  • Paul and Kath Crossthwaite
  • Simply Carpets of Keynsham
  • Nigel Tyas Ironworks
  • Olly Swayne
  • Pam Nix
  • Neil Harvey
  • Nick Smith Photography
  • Paul Green Hi-Fi of Bath
  • Peter Carney
  • Peter Huish
  • Prior Park Garden Centre
  • Nigel and Becky Bryant
  • Robert Hellard
  • Richard Coles
  • R.O. Dando
  • R.M. Penny
  • Rob Clayton
  • Roper Rhodes of Bath
  • Jonathan Bruton of Wansbroughs Solicitors
  • Western Building Consultants
  • Sophie, Beatrice & Ava Alexander
  • South Stoke Parish Council
  • Steve Bruce-Jones
  • Sue Dawson
  • TBKS Ironmongers of Bath
  • Terry Pitt
  • Thrings
  • Tim Laney
  • Toby Brett
  • Tom Chapman
  • Tom Dawson
  • Will Larque
  • Weston Mummers
  • Sam and Charlie Tanner
  • Total Building Control Ltd
  • Jody Van Vestraut of Tomology Design
  • Tom Knights of Tomology Design
  • Jane Fox and the Ralph Allen School DofE students
  • Wessex Archaeology
  • Richard Sweet
John Allen - One of the finest inns in England that should be preserved as an asset for the whole local community and visitors alike.