The Boxford is built on a site that was formerly occupied by ‘The Bell Inn’, a rural roadside inn that captured passing trade on the road to Newbury.
In 2023, work began to reimagine the site which comprised a Victorian public house and 1980s annex, much of which had fallen into disrepair. In such a prominent roadside location, the local community agreed that a new approach was needed.
So, the team behind The Woodspeen took on the project and promised to create a modern and welcoming new community building with sustainability and accessibility at its heart, delivering full-time employment opportunities and career progression for local people. The concept of all-day family-friendly dining and drinks was born, and plans were laid to create a contemporary space that is as much a destination for morning coffee as it is for an intimate evening meal.
The 1980s annex has been retained and repurposed, with a striking brand new architectural structure added. The contemporary pitch-roofed restaurant building is covered in thatch, and a palette of sustainable natural materials with muted tones has been chosen so that the building sits subtly and comfortably within its context. Most of the materials have been sourced locally and utilise local skilled craftsmanship during production and construction.
Stunning natural landscaping creates an attractive and softened foreground to the building, with the added benefit of boosting biodiversity.
It’s a new chapter in the history of The Bell, and we’re privileged to continue to serve the community of Boxford and those who travel through.
Emanuele Mirko Privitera
Italian Head Chef Emanuele Privitera, or ‘Mirko’, brings skill, energy and experience from an impressive career spanning multiple continents, cuisines and Michelin-starred restaurants.
The Boxford’s menu is heavily shaped by his passion for exceptional ingredients and authentic Italian flavours – these aren’t just dishes, they’re stories, traditions and the essence of his Sicilian heritage.
General Manager Bert is a true local, having grown up in Welford and Bagnor.
A terrific personality who is hugely passionate about embracing the local community surrounding our new restaurant. Bert has worked in some fantastic restaurants over the years and can’t wait to bring a lighthearted and comfortable atmosphere to The Boxford, not only where everyone is welcome, but where everyone is looked after and embraced with terrific hospitality.