In the picturesque village of Ireby, at the northern edge of the Lake District National Park, lies The Black Lion, a traditional village inn with a rich heritage. Positioned behind Skiddaw and opening onto Binsey, the northernmost of the Fells, The Black Lion is not only a cherished local establishment but also the last remaining pub in the area.

Unfortunately, this beloved inn is under threat of closure and potential conversion into residential properties or holiday homes. To preserve this vital community asset, The Black Lion Community Group has launched an urgent campaign, accredited by the Community Shares Standard and with the help of the Community Ownership Fund, to save this irreplaceable local treasure. 

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We spoke to Malcolm Boswell, Secretary of The Black Lion Community Group Limited, who said: "We persuaded the current owner to give us a window in which to raise funds for the pub. So far in this time, we have secured a bank account and become a registered CBS (Community Benefit Society) charity." The goal is to purchase the pub and transform it into a community pub, social hub, and arts venue. 

The Black Lion Community Group needs to raise £165,000 to purchase the pub. Since the local launch on April 15th, the group has already raised over £72,000 from 133 local investors, which is 44% of their goal, but additional support is crucial to reach the target. Malcolm tells us: “So far we’ve raised an incredible £72,767 locally and we’re now at the point of trying to get wider interest in saving a vital part of this community.” With a minimum investment of just £50 for 50 shares, your contribution will make a significant difference.

Denise Hardy, the Treasurer for the Group, said: "I moved to Ireby seven years ago, one of the big attractions for me was having a local village pub, especially within walking distance. The Black Lion is pivotal to our local community, which is reflected in the amazing response and support we have received in our aim to save our pub."

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The pub’s strategic location next to the Globe Hall, a popular venue for music, theatre, and film, enhances its potential as a community asset. The Black Lion aims to support and revitalise local events, including the much-missed Ireby Music Festival, which drew large crowds before its hiatus due to COVID-19. Moreover, The Black Lion will create jobs and training opportunities in an area with limited employment options. Malcolm tells us: “This isn’t just about saving a pub, we have plans to turn The Black Lion into a thriving community hub that draws more people into this lesser-known part of the Lake District.”

In Ireby, a village devoid of shops, buses, or public services, The Black Lion serves as the central hub for residents and visitors alike. By investing in this project, you can help ensure that the pub continues to be a gathering place for the community and a welcoming spot for those exploring the Northern Fells. The Black Lion is not just a pub; it is the heartbeat of the community, providing a vital social hub in an area with no other public services. Malcolm emphasises the importance of the pub, especially in light of recent service cuts: "Our bus service was withdrawn at the end of last year, which has made the importance of having the pub as a community service even more significant."

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The mission to save The Black Lion has garnered support across all political parties, reflecting its universal importance to the community. There can't be many things upon which all the parties agree, however, the local Member of Parliament and the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates of three other main parties have all displayed their support of the project by making appearances at The Black Lion, which must be an indicator of the merits of the cause. Lord Melvyn Bragg recently shared: “I had scores of terrific nights drinking in the Black Lion with friends. It was the perfect pub for many years. Truly local, classless, and always welcoming.” 

Adding to the historic charm of The Black Lion, Ireby itself is the oldest Market Town in Cumbria, famed for its fair and market and which were first licensed in 1236 and 1275. Notable literary visitors over the years have included: Charles Dickens, John Keats and Hugh Walpole. “We’re trying to preserve our last surviving community asset,” says Malcolm.

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Join the movement to save The Black Lion. Visit to make an investment or view the full prospectus and business case.

Together, we can make the Lion roar once more and preserve this cherished piece of the Lake District for future generations.

Get in contact for more information:


Tel: 07771 983 248