Yet another of our pubs has been turned into an Indian restaurant. During the 1980s and 1990s the Three Tuns Willingham was a superbly run village pub and a fixture in the Good Beer Guide. In recent times its fortunes have declined, particularly after an ill-fated attempt in the gastro-pub direction but it’s still a sad loss.

However, just occasionally, pubs can return from the dead, as shown by the Three Horseshoes Harston, which Jerry Brown writes about elsewhere. For the time being, the interior retains the (very smart) décor from the last of the restaurants which occupied the premises though the intention is to return to something more pubby in due course. Real ales to begin with are Greene King IPA and St Edmunds. The menu is the same as that at its sister pub, the Navigator Little Shelford i.e. Thai, though the daily specials will differ.

A previously unreported LocAle outlet is the Black Horse Melbourn which in addition to Greene King IPA and Woodforde’s Wherry normally has a beer from Buntingford (but sometimes from another East Anglian brewery). On our visit the beer quality was superb and we’re assured by locals that this is always the case (and it is Cask Marque accredited). Clearly a pub which we’ve unfairly neglected. Please note that it does take some finding, being tucked away down a side street.

In the same village, the Star has been boarded up for many months now and the chances of this Punch Taverns-owned pub reopening are beginning to look slim, particularly as it occupies the sort of site which a developer would love to cram with little houses.

Another LocAle outlet we haven’t mentioned is the Royal Oak Barrington where Potton Shannon IPA is a regular alongside Adnams Bitter, Youngs Bitter and a changing guest.

The Arts Picturehouse bar (in the same building as the Regal Cambridge) has a house beer – Reel Ale – brewed by Cambridge Moonshine and seriously tasty it is too.

The Hopbine, Fair Street, Cambridge is a decent bet for some unusual beers. A recent visit found two ales from the Green Jack brewery in Lowestoft accompanying Adnams Bitter and Ringwood Fortyniner.

Batemans, the Lincolnshire brewer, have brought their first pub in our area in the shape of the Red Lion Swaffham Prior. They are currently advertising for permanent tenants and in the meantime four of their beers, including the delicious dark mild, are on handpump. Traditional pub food is served 12 to 2, 7 to 9 Monday – Saturday and 12 to 3 Sunday.

At the same time of writing the County Arms, Castle Hill, Cambridge was closed for refurbishment but it will be open again, suitably refreshed, by the time you read this.

On to our regular round up of pubs seeking new tenants, managers or owners. Greene King currently have just four pubs on their “to let” list – The Bakers Arms Fulbourn, Bell Bottisham, Hop Bind Cottenham and Tree Stapleford; they also want a manager for the Prince Regent Cambridge. Punch Taverns only have two “tenants needed” – for the Haymakers Chesterton and Chequers Cottenham; ditto Enterprise Inns who have the Brewery Tap Waterbeach and Greyhound Sawston on offer. Christies have for sale the freeholds of the King William IV Heydon, Plough Shepreth and Blue Lion Fen Ditton plus the leasehold of the Rupert Brooke Granchester where “the vendors are now looking to concentrate on other business interests”. Messrs Edward Cole are selling two local pubs on behalf of Punch, both free of tie – the Jolly Brewers Milton (£275k) and Chequers Cottenham (£300k – which makes you wonder why punch are also seeking tenants). Finally, Cheffins have available the lease of the Cross Keys Cambridge on a free-of-tie basis.

The Carpenters Arms Great Wilbraham reopened before Christmas and is offering LocAles from Cambridge Moonshine and Buntingford along with Greene King IPA. The new restaurant is scheduled to open in May.

Planning permission has been granted for conversion of the Woolpack Sawston to an estate agents.

The Sauce Bar, Station Road, Cambridge has been taken over by Matt Dellar, formerly a managing partner of D’Arry’s, and has reverted to its old name, the Great Northern. There have been no physical changes and Adnams Bitter and Broadside remain the real ales but the décor and furniture is all new. The Great Northern was one of the railway companies (pre-1922) which served the nearby stations. The old name of the Devonshire Arms (see elsewhere), the Midland Tavern, also commemorated a railway company; the midland railway’s trains from Kettering came in on what will one day be the Guided Busway.

Talking of which, we were asked (by a non-local person) if we intended producing a guide to pubs close to the Busway stops. As that would comprise a guide to the (admittedly excellent) Railway Vue Impington, we decided against.