ONE of the oldest pubs in the Wye Valley - once the popular haunt of rock stars - has been sold.

The Boat Inn, at Penallt, was a favourite of stars including Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and Carol Decker from T'Pau when they lived in the area.

It is approached via a former railway bridge over the River Wye from Redbrook and used to regularly win prizes for its beer and cider.

The pub, which is right on the banks of the river in the heart of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, dates from the 1800s, has a large beer garden with a small waterfall flowing down the rock face behind.

Anyone who has been part of the popular Monmouth Raft Race knows it's a popular stopping-off point on the six-mile river trip from Monmouth to Whitebrook.

Previous owner, Shaleen Goodman had owned The Boat Inn since 2006. Late last year she announced she was looking to retire to France and to sell the pub. The freehold with vacant possession was advertised for £385,000-ono.

It has not been disclosed how much the pub eventually sold for.

The Boat Inn has been bought by Debbie Burch, an experienced pub owner from Chepstow, who runs the Three Tuns in Bridge Street in the town.

She said: “The plans for the future are to carry on running The Boat with the same team of staff.

"I will be looking at introducing a new range of locally sourced food for the menu and keep everything very simple but with great ingredients, along with offering local wines and spirits.

"Providing accommodation in the future will also be important for me, to encourage the tourism side of things.

The pub was sold through Christie & Co with funding secured through specialist commercial finance broker, Christie Finance.

Jimmy Johns, finance consultant at Christie Finance, said: “It was a pleasure to work with Debbie and I am pleased we were able to secure the funding she required in order for to complete this purchase.”

Corrina Jones, business agent at Christie & Co who handled the sale, said: “This is a unique property located in an idyllic spot on the River Wye.

"Shaleen has worked diligently to maintain the charm and ambience of the property throughout her time running The Boat Inn and has built up a fabulous business with a loyal client base.

"We wish her all the best with her retirement to France and I am sure that the business will be well looked after in the hands of Debbie Burch, an experienced publican who intends to be very much a hands on operator.”