Puddleducks Tearoom is a dream destination and it’s for grabs
When Tony Bradshaw retired five years ago, little did he suspect that a simple day out in the Lancashire countryside and a cuppa in the local tea shop would result in a whole new life chapter. But so it did.
Tony and his wife Glenda were enjoying a walk in the Forest of Bowland when they decided to stop for a bite to eat at Puddleducks Tea Room & Dunsop Bridge Village Post Office.
At the time, the buildings were being advertised for sale and, for Tony and Glenda, who had been looking for a new challenge for some time, were instantly intrigued. Tony had been an enthusiastic but amateur cook for more than thirty years and they could both immediately see that the site had huge potential.
“We just instantly fell in love with the location,” said Tony. “We had no hesitations whatsoever and, as we drove away, we turned towards each other and said ‘right, we are buying it.’”
The popular tea room, which includes a shop and post office, is famously situated at the geographical centre of the United Kingdom in the picturesque rural village of Dunsop Bridge, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The site forms part of the Duchy of Lancaster’s 6,000-acre historic Whitewell Estate and the tea room gets its unique ‘Puddleducks’ name because of the many resident ducks which are a key part of Dunsop Bridge village life. They have proved to be a big hit with locals and tourists alike.
Tony, a former operations manager and Glenda a former School Bursar had no previous experience of running a business nor had they any experience of professional catering – but they didn’t let any of that trouble them.
As luck would have it, the couple bought the business at the same time as the UK saw an explosion of interest in cycling. The new owners saw the potential and took full advantage by making some smart cycle-friendly changes to the facilities, including a welcoming covered patio garden with cycle park, secure lock-up spaces, a drying room and adding a multi fuel burner in the Tearoom for those cold and wet days.
Tony explained, “Our business has really benefited from the popularity of cycling. We get hundreds of hungry and thirsty cyclists including a few famous faces too such as Olympic hero, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Brian Cookson, a former president of British Cycling.”
Five years down the line, Tony and Glenda have made many improvements to the premises, the latest being extending the Tearoom into the shop area in December 2017 and completely refurbishing this area, adding more seating.
The business is thriving with cyclists, walkers and day visitors all stopping to sample Tony’s home-made cooking which has become legendary throughout Lancashire. So much so that his recipes are regularly featured in many of the local magazines including ‘Lancashire Life’ as well as a chapter in The Lancashire Cook Book.
He said, “It was a bit daunting at first but I have always been keen on cooking and our customers seem to love our food. Our home-made bread, cheese & onion pie, bacon & egg butties or pea & ham soup are really popular with our customers.”
Sadly, due to Glenda’s health, the couple have decided to retire for good this time and are looking to sell their business to new owners. “We have just finished the renovations and the plan had been to keep going until I was 65 but it’s now time for someone else to take over here and build on what we have achieved. We are hoping to be able to pass this on to someone with lots of drive, determination and a real passion for cooking – someone who, like us, will see this as a way of life and will love it as much as we have.”
Puddleducks Tea Room & Dunsop Bridge Village Post Office is being marketed by Ernest Wilson. Established since 1956 the company has sold thousands of businesses across the UK. For more information on this or any of the other businesses currently for sale in the area, potential buyers can visit www.ernest-wilson.co.uk.