Pigs, a shop... oh, and some great beer too!

MPLO, Unicorn in Cublington
MPLO, Unicorn in Cublington

A pub which, with its customers rears pigs, and doubles up as a local shop has scooped a top award from Aylesbury Vale District Council.

The Unicorn in Cublington has been named the overall winner of the council’s annual village pub competition, sponsored by Dayla.

It’s a huge turn around for the 17th century inn which was previously threatened with closure but is now thriving under the ownership of two villagers.

Councillor Pam Pearce, cabinet member for community matters, said: “This is the 15th year we have run this competition and we have seen some excellent pubs, but the Unicorn has set a new standard. It’s a true example of what can be achieved with hard work, especially given the current economic climate.”

As well as offering a wide range of real ales, outstanding food (the pub has two AA rosettes) and a variety of top entertainment, the Unicorn supplies freshly baked bread and milk to villagers by running an on-site shop. It also heads up a syndicate which owns Cublington pigs, where villagers jointly rear the animals.

Manager Tim Harwood said: “We’re thrilled to have won this award. I guess our secret is team work, top quality food and support from the community.”

Tim Cooper, managing director of Dayla, said: “At a time when pubs are closing across the UK, it is really great to see so many flourishing.”

Aylesbury Vale District Council received more than 700 nominations for 35 pubs – the highest number of entries since the contest started in 1997. The nominees were whittled down to 20 finalists by the judging panel, which considered, among other things, how pubs supported their local community and attracted tourists.

Winners were selected in six categories:

> Best overall pub: The Unicorn, Cublington

> Runner-up overall pub: The Old Thatched Inn, Adstock

> Best community pub: The Bell, Chearsley

> Runner-up community pub: The Red Lion, Bierton

> Best food pub: The Old Thatched Inn, Adstock

> Runner-up best food pub: The Chequers Inn, Weston Turville

> Best speciality food: The Swan, Grendon Underwood

> Best website: The Old Thatched Inn, Adstock

> Best website runner up: The Pheasant Inn, Brill

> One to watch: The Boot, Soulbury, The Seven Stars, Dinton, and The Pilgrim Pub and Restaurant, North Marston.