IN a time when the future of the traditional pub is a subject for much agonised debate, an enterprising author has produced a guide to the inns, hotels, taverns and other hostelries of Malvern and the surrounding area.

The Pubs of The Malverns, Upton and Nearby Villages, by Tony Hobbs, is a comprehensive guide to local drinking place, from grand hotels to humble alehouses, past and present.

Mr Hobbs, of Dilwyn, Herefordshire, is no stranger to the task, having previously written books about the pubs of Ludlow and of Radnorshire.

He is also the author of six other non-fiction books and several plays.

He describes the latest book as a natural step after his two previous pub books.

In his introduction, he writes: “It made sense to travel further afield and Malvern seemed as good a spot as any.

“As the area didn’t start to flourish until the opening of the spa amenities in the late 18th century, it is not surprising that most of the hostelries date from that period and later although there are a few of a more historic nature.”

By moving beyond Malvern, Mr Hobbs has included the numerous historic country pubs that can be found in surrounding villages, and of course the hostelries of Upton, which has always been noted for the number of its pubs.

The book charts the histories of dozens of licensed premises, some still around and others just distant memories.

There are stories of murder, mayhem and ghosts, of landlords and customers, explanations of pub names and much more. The book also covers how the licensing laws have evolved and includes a chapter on local breweries.

Among its features are hundreds of illustrations showing many of the pubs as they were and as they are now.

The Pubs of The Malverns, Upton and Nearby Villages is published by Logaston Press, priced £10.