There are more floral delights at the back where the large garden (180 feet long) features beautifully tended borders and impressive pots of hostas. The garden is particularly geared to families with loads of play equipment for the kids, including a bouncy castle. There are also lots of trestle tables, some in the shade of an enormous willow.

But enough of the horticulture - what about the beer? Colin sells four real ales, two of which, Greene King IPA and Tim Taylors Landlord, are permanent. Changing guests occupy the other two - Ringwood Best Bitter and Fullers London Pride on my visit. The Horseshoes is an Enterprise pub so Colin has a good selection of beers to choose from, but he is also one of the declining number of pub chain licensees who has a guest beer right in his lease, allowing him to have a free choice as to one of the beers.

Colin and wife Lindsay have been at the pub, their first, for four years now and have made it very much the centre of the community. They are proud of the fact that their clientele is a complete cross-section of the village, with all types and ages mixing happily. The pub is popular with local clubs and societies and sponsors the village football and cricket teams.

The main bar is long and low-ceilinged with a particularly cosy alcove area at one end. The separate games rooms has pool, darts and a jukebox.

Food is served 12 to 2.30 and 6 to 8.30 except on Tuesdays and on Sunday evenings. Main meals include home made steak and ale pie and chicken and leek pie, plus curries, chillies, steaks and so on. Colin reckons that the All Day Brunch is a challenge to even the most dedicated trencherman - a real plateful. Plenty of snacks and light meals as well.

On the second Sunday each month the pub plays host to a traditional music jam session with up to 15 players taking part. It's also hoped to start a quiz night on Mondays.

Finally a date for your diary. August Bank Holiday will see a family fun day with attractions like a hog roast, falconry display, magicians and other entertainers. See you there.

Paul Ainsworth