Page Updated:- Monday, 09 October, 2023.


Earliest 1970s

(Name from)

Timber Batts

Closed March 2023

School Lane


01233 750083

Timber Batts 2009

Above photo 10 April 2009 by Nick Smith Creative Commons Licence.

Timber Batts 2013

Above photo 2013 by Julian P Guffogg Creative Commons Licence.

Timber Batts sign 1988Timber Batts sign 2016

Above sign left, April 1988. Sign right 2016.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Timber Bats 2015

Above photo 2015.

Timber Batts

Above photo 2017 by Ross Berry.

Timber Batts 2023

Above photo 2023.


The building is 15th century and was originally known as the "Prince of Wales," and changed some time in the 1970s.


From, 30 October 2009. By Christopher Middleton.

Usually when you leave a pub, the landlord doesn't kiss you on both cheeks and say: "Merci beaucoup. A la prochaine." A non-committal "Bye now" is about as good as it gets.

But not at the Timber Batts. Despite being tucked away in the sleepiest of Kent countryside, it has completely French bar staff, sports a tricolore alongside a Union Jack, and runs a restaurant which positively rejoices in the name of Froggies.

In fact, there's barely a flat surface which isn't occupied either by a pottery frog, a metal frog playing a musical instrument, or some other form of decorative ''amphibiabilia''.

Of course, the choice of restaurant name is a tactical coup worthy of Napoleon. By acknowledging traditional Anglo-Saxon ambivalence towards the French, le patron wins over the locals without a shot being fired.

Far from feeling invaded by a foreign power, customers queue up to have a go at parlez-ing le lingo, ordering moules farçies or à la marinière off a 100 per cent French menu; either table d'hôte (two courses, £16) or à la carte (starters £7-ish, mains £15-plus). Even the bar food is more French than English (ham baguettes, croque-monsieur, Roquefort cheese omelette). It's a surprise the prices aren't in euros.

By contrast, les environs are as British as can be: a low-beamed yet airy dining room, with solid stone floors and lots of space between tables – this thanks to the removal of a few dividing walls at some point between now and the 15th century.

Speaking of space, there is a glorious hilltop view over rolling farmland, from the pub's grassy sitting-out area ("garden" is too formal a word for this rather insouciantly kept spot). Indoors, non-eating customers are confined to a somewhat cramped little corral to the right of the bar.

Out here, though, they can bring their pints of old English ale (Woodfordes Wherry, Adnams Southwold, Fullers London Pride) and admire the stubbled fields of Albion from a little patch of ground that is forever France.

From the Dover Express, 31 December 2014. By Amy Woodland.

Residents fight to keep village pub from closing.

Timber Batts 2014

IT WOULD be a “tragedy” for Bodsham if the village pub was allowed to be changed into a house, according to residents.

But landlord of The Timber Batts, Joel Gross, says he has been left with no option due to dwindling customer numbers and tough economic times.

He said: “I have been here 12 years but for the last three years business has been terrible.”

Mr Gross has asked Shepway District Council for permission to change the use of the 15th-century building from a pub to a dwelling.

The application states: “Unfortunately as the present business’s survival becomes suspect, in line with the national demise and loss of public houses especially in rural areas, then an appropriate alternative use for the premises has to be found.”

The application has attracted more than 20 objections, including one from TV weather girl Kaddy Lee Preston, who states: “I have lived in the area for about 14 months and if it wasn’t for the public house in Bodsham I would have found it much more difficult to integrate into the local community.”

A former owner of the pub, David Macfarlane, adds: “It is hard to express how important the pub is to the soul and community of the village. When it is closed the village feels quite different and quiet. It would be a tragedy to lose it.”

Elmsted Parish Council states: “While the parish council of course has sympathy for the landlord’s current situation, it is concerned that an inherently viable public house that provides an important social focal point for the local community is being threatened with closure.”


Some of the objections state that Mr Gross needs to change the pub to attract new customers but he says he has done all he can to find another solution since the business went into liquidation in 2012.

The restaurant, formerly Froggies, was changed to offer bistro-style food and a take-away service. Mr Gross also put the pub on the market - but in two years attracted just two viewings.

Mr Gross, who runs the pub with his wife and two children, said many of the objectors did not actually use the pub and added: “What can you do if you can’t make a living?”

In a further letter to the district council responding to the objections, he said: “All reasonable avenues have been explored and the pub has gone through remodelling and resurrection and substantial improvements, yet it is still proven, beyond any doubt, that it is in today’s fiscal and economic environment non-viable as a commercial venture.” A decision on the application is expected to be made by SDC in early January.


I have been informed that the pub was put up for auction on 25th November 2015 and was estimated at between £400,000 and £450,000. At the listing it was said it was a 15th Century Grade II listed country pub on the village green and backing onto undulating countryside. Formerly a thriving French restaurant and public house, it is now thought likely that the premises may be suitable as a home with combined business potential subject to any necessary planning consent.

Good news from Ross Berry received in December 2016. The Timber Batts" has reopened as a pub by Ross & Sarah Berry we are also running a blacksmiths forge from the pub; Kaos blacksmiths."


From the  By Vicky Castle, 13 July 2016

Family reopen the Timber Batts, in Bodsham, Ashford, with a forge next door.

A 15th century Bodsham pub that has stood empty for two years has finally been bought back to life and reopened its doors.

The Timber Batts, formerly Froggies, has been taken over by a family-of-four who say the "special place" now has a lot to offer.

Sarah and Ross Berry, have taken over the Grade II-listed public house with their two children: Katie, 18 and Emily, 20.

Sarah and Ross Berry 2016

Bodsham Timber Batts pub new owners Sarah and Ross Berry.

Sarah, 51, has a host of hospitality experience while her husband Ross will be taking over and running the Forge – a blacksmith’s workshop – next door.

The 41-year-old is an experienced blacksmith who has previously worked on the Tour of Britain Trophy and was the Duke of Buccleugh’s blacksmith in Drumlanrig Castle, in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

Sarah said: "He’s very talented and we actually found the pub because we were looking for a bigger forge.

"This one just happened to have a pub attached!"

Timber Batts forge

Blacksmith Ross Berry in the Forge.

The Timber Batts will be open four days a week – Thursday to Sunday – from noon to 11pm, with a focus on real ales and local ciders.

Katie, who has just finished a two-year catering course at East Kent College, in Broadstairs, will be cooking up pizzas on the outside wood-fired oven, while Ross is in charge of the fire.

Sarah added: "We would really rather have a busy pub four days a week rather than dragging through a Monday or Tuesday and it means Ross can concentrate on the forge.

Timber Batts inside 2016

The Berry family: Sarah, Ross and daughter Katie.

"We have tried to make it loungey with coffee tables, a big leather sofa, low lighting, taxidermy and it is a little bit different to any other pub around here.

"It’s more like walking into your front room then going to your local pub.

"Outside it's absolutely beautiful. There’s about a quarter acre of beautiful garden with an outside eating area that overlooks the Downs.

"It’s a special place. When the sun is shining there’s no one in the pub at all, they’re all outside."


From the By Millie Bowles, 12 August 2023.

Couple behind The Timber Batts in Bodsham moving to The Compasses in Crundale.

The couple behind a quirky country inn hailed “Kent’s most remarkable pub” are moving to a new venue a village along – and taking the name with them.

The Timber Batts in Bodsham, near Ashford, has developed a reputation for its museum of curiosities collected over several years, but the current tenants have packed up and left at the request of the building’s owners.

Ross and Sarah Berry are relocating seven minutes away to The "Compasses" in Sole Street, Crundale, which suddenly shut earlier this year.

It will be renamed "Timber Batts at The Compasses."

The move comes just months after KentOnline’s pub reviewer, The Secret Drinker, called the venue “out of this world”.

He added: “It is welcoming, wonderfully quirky, ferociously, non-politically correct and punky, but it makes no excuse for its unique approach and you must accept it and enjoy it.”

It is this charm that has been a “recipe for success” for the tavern.

Timber Batts 2023

The Timber Batts in Bodsham is filled with wacky knick-knacks.

Having been in charge of the pub for seven-and-a-half years, Sarah and Ross say they have made “good, lifelong friends”.

Speaking about the move, Sarah said: “I have a warm feeling about it.

“They are not just customers; we have been so welcomed here and it's been really, really lovely.

“But we’re not saying goodbye - just moving up the road.”

The Timber Batts is believed to date back to the 15th century and takes its name from a former saw mill nearby, where timber was cut down into battens, or batts.

Timber Batts inside 2023

The Timber Batts in Bodsham is an eclectic, quirky pub.

It is not clear if the Bodsham building will continue to operate as a pub, or retain the Timber Batts name.

But Sarah and Ross – who say they were given until December to vacate the building – have their eyes set only on making a success of their new venture.

The landlady recalled: “When our lease was terminated it was a case of ‘I don't want to stop what we're doing’.

“We are a brand, we are busy and have good customers.

“Why stop that when there's somewhere available and it's the next village along?

“If we go somewhere all our customers will follow.”

Ross and Sarah’s last day at The Timber Batts was on Saturday, July 29.

There is a lot of work to be done at their new venue, but they hope to welcome customers again next month.

Sarah says it will offer an eclectic menu cooked by her, including rabbit burgers and Yorkshire pudding cheesecakes.

The "Compasses," which was once recognised in the Michelin Guide, closed its doors in March this year.

The owner cited cost-of-living-crisis struggles and said the hospitality industry was in a "scary state".



GROSS Joel 2002-Dec/14

BERRY Ross & Sarah Dec/2019-29/July/2023 Next pub licensee had


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