Jeremy Clarkson pays £1m for dilapidated Oxfordshire wedding venue to be his village pub

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Grand tour star Jeremy Clarkson has taken on a dilapidated Oxfordshire wedding venue to be his 'village pub'

The Diddly Squat entrepreneur, 64, was said to be interested in The Coach and Horses near Bourton on the Water in April, but news came out last week that he had agreed to purchase The Windmill, in Asthall for ‘less than £1 million’.

The venue, once used for weddings, is set to be totally transformed, complete with a new name. It comes with five acres of land.

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The disruption caused by Clarkson’s Diddly Squat Farm Shop in Chadlington has attracted some criticism from neighbours. But Asthall has so far given Clarkson’s big plans the benefit of the doubt.

The Windmill as seen from above. The pub comes with five acres of Oxfordshire countrysideThe Windmill as seen from above. The pub comes with five acres of Oxfordshire countryside
The Windmill as seen from above. The pub comes with five acres of Oxfordshire countryside

Tom Walker, 51, who farms livestock and arable, believes Clarkson’s arrival would buoy the local farming community.

“He’s already spoken to some farmers about using their produce,” he said “I think he does a lot of good for farming.”

“I am worried about the traffic - they will hopefully come off the main road. But I think it will do more good than harm.”

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Neighbour Derek Netherton, 79, who rents an Airbnb in the village, was also optimistic.

The Windmill in Asthall where Jeremy Clarkson will transform and open under a new nameThe Windmill in Asthall where Jeremy Clarkson will transform and open under a new name
The Windmill in Asthall where Jeremy Clarkson will transform and open under a new name

He said: “We are excited for the extra custom but apprehensive about the noise. With a bit of luck the traffic will stay on the A40, as the roads are very narrow.”

In the Sunday Times, Clarkson spoke of The Windmill’s grounds as previously being ‘a famous dogging site’.

He has set out intentions to ban ‘noisy TVs’, encourage traditional pub games, serve only British produce,and hand out a free pint of his Hawkstone beer to farmers.

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Mr Netherton said he thought the area had been used for underground bare knuckle boxing fights.

Farmer Tom Walker, 51, thinks Clarkson's investment in The Windmill will buoy the local farming communityFarmer Tom Walker, 51, thinks Clarkson's investment in The Windmill will buoy the local farming community
Farmer Tom Walker, 51, thinks Clarkson's investment in The Windmill will buoy the local farming community

Chris Townsend, 50, a sculptor, hoped people would flock to Clarkson’s new pub. He said: “It potentially could be really positive for the area as The Windmill had been struggling for years.”

Fiona Dunbar, 50, owner of Cotswold Home Manager, was also supportive of Clarkson’s endeavours.

She said: “If he is taking over a business that is struggling, helping British farmers by stocking their produce and raising awareness of how hard it is for them, then go for it.”

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Tanya Hunt, 44, who works at the same company, added: “He is brilliant for farming and is trying to help, not annoy. He is like marmite and I love him.”

James, 60, who who moved to the area for peace and quiet said he thought the pub’s new ownership would benefit the area.

He said: “It’s obviously good for the village, but I am concerned about how busy it will get. It’s a bit manic over (at Diddly Squat), but this will be a restaurant so hopefully it’s a bit different.”

Clarkson hasn’t won over everyone just yet. When asked for their reaction to Clarkson’s purchase, one resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Am I allowed to swear? I’ve never been keen on him to be honest.”

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The pub will open until later this year to allow time for refurbishments,and a wedding booked in before the purchase to take place.

A renovated Windmill will drive competition with The Three Horseshoes - the quaint and only pub in Asthall, which is owned by Daylesford, part of Lady Bamford’s Daylesford Stays collection.