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Meet the new owners of the Castell Y Bwch pub in Cwmbran

Gary and Karen Bulmer, the new owners of the Castell Y Bwch
Gary and Karen Bulmer, the new owners of the Castell Y Bwch

The new owners of the Castell Y Bwch have revealed the date they will reopen the Henllys pub.

Gary and Karen Bulmer are overseeing a refurbishment and plan to open on Thursday 15 December. I visited the pair this morning and had a coffee in the bar area while electricians, plumbers and builders worked busily in various parts of the pub around us as we chatted.

Gary said that during December they will focus on drinks and a tapas menu before their full menu and the new chef starts in February.

He said: “It will be great to get the place open again. The place goes back to  1670-odd. We’ve actually got a back plate that’s got 1679 on it. It was literally at the back of the fire. We will have it on show, low-down because it weighs a tonne. It’s part of the history of it.

“A lot of people drive past and think, ‘I wish it would reopen’ and now it is and everybody is quite interested.

“We’ve literally ripped out the kitchen and replaced everything.” He said that over the years many of the previous owners had done a “sticking plaster” approach which is why they are taking their time to do a full refurbishment.

Karen said: “The view is spectacular. I’m born and bred Cwmbran so I’ve always known how special it is up here. It is beautiful, it is stunning here.

“Farmers in the 19th century used to hold their annual competitions here. It’s got a hell of a history.”

They plan to do work in the garden including play areas for children. During the summer they took their two grandchildren to the Isle of Wight and got them to review play parks in pubs to help their plans.

Gary and Karen Bulmer
Gary and Karen are overseeing a refurbishment of the Castell Y Bwch

Gary said: “The idea is that there will be a little toddlers’ play area so they are safe all fenced in, and mum and dad can take care of them in there. And then you’ve got the larger kids using the remaining play area.”

Karen said the new toilets will be accessible and the men’s toilet will also have baby-changing facilities. She said: “I think it’s a big selling point. From a woman’s perspective and someone that cares for a disabled person, the toilets now are so much better than what they were. You won’t recognise them now.”

The pub will serve the same menu throughout but diners in the restaurant area will enjoy table service. All staff will wear a uniform.

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Meet the new owners of the Castell Y Bwch pub in Cwmbran