A DORSET pub has temporarily closed its doors after struggling for four years with the cost of living crisis.

The Swan Inn, owned by Hall and Woodhouse was known as a ‘friendly and welcoming pub in the heart of Sturminster Newton, offering a selection of beers and all.’

The pub offered a spacious open bar, a large separate dining area, and an attractive secluded courtyard garden.

A spokesperson for the pub said: “People's drinking habits have changed and they are spending less if and when they do go out, footfall is down and people’s pockets are shrinking.

“Covid has changed the way people drink, there’s too much competition for food locally, and finding a decent chef proved a massive challenge.

“All our costs were going up and revenue down, we have lost money every financial year of the four years we have been here.”

The Swan Inn dates back to medieval times and was rebuilt after a fire in 1721.

According to Hall and Woodhouse, ‘the Swan makes for the perfect pub for a short break in the beautiful Dorset countryside.’

The historic tavern also took pride in its history as the author Thomas Hardy used to live in the town.

Tributes have been paid to the pub on social media.

One person commented: “It's been good to know you both for a few years, I'll always remember the kind hospitality you offered me when I first started coming to Sturminster. I wish you both all the best for the future, and hope our paths will cross again.”

Another comment wrote: “I'm shocked and saddened.

“We really enjoyed our stay last month and were planning on coming back. Best wishes for whatever your future holds.”

A spokesperson for Hall & Woodhouse said: “The Swan Inn is temporarily closed due to a change of business partner (tenant). We are working to reopen the pub as soon as possible.”