A popular 17th century Cumbrian inn, said to be the haunt of legendary huntsman John Peel, has been sold to a hospitality group.

The Pheasant, by Bassenthwaite Lake, has been sold to the North East-based The Inn Collection Group for an undisclosed sum.

It said the pub, which also has 15 rooms, will continue to trade before a 'full-scale' redevelopment takes place.

The Inn Collection Group managing director Sean Donkin said: “We are delighted to be starting 2020 with the announcement of this landmark addition to our growing portfolio.

“We search long and hard for sites that have that extra special quality when it comes to location and offering for our customer base.

"The Pheasant delivers on every level in terms of address, character and potential.

“We specialise in repurposing and enhancing historic buildings which are desperately in need of capital expenditure like this.

"We will be investing significant capital expenditure into this extraordinary venue as we broaden our customer base and long-term presence across the North of England.”

The addition of The Pheasant brings the group’s portfolio tally of inns to 12 in Northumberland, County Durham, Yorkshire, and Cumbria.

The Pheasant lays claim to John Peel, made famous by the song D'Ye Ken John Peel?, being a regular at the inn, which began as a post and coaching inn.

Today, it has a restaurant, which boasts an AA Rosette, and a bistro.

The announcement follows the recent opening of the group’s debut Lakes venue, the 30-room The Ambleside Inn in Ambleside.

The Alchemy-backed The Inn Collection Group is continuing its expansion trail to seek out new development opportunities to grow its portfolio in the Lake District and Yorkshire, as well as within its North East England heartland, supported through banking by OakNorth.

The firm said it aimed to more than double its portfolio of freehold pubs with rooms by 2022.

The Inn Collection Group was advised by Newcastle-based law firm Ward Hadaway on the transaction.