THIS week's pub review calls in at a friendly, community hostelry that has been transformed in recent years. “The Vols”, as it's known locally, was a tired-looking and relatively run-down establishment up to a few years ago.

Thankfully that has now all changed to the extent that it is now a double award winning boozer.

Built in the mid-19th century, it is believed to have been renamed in 1890 as the landlord at the time was a rifle volunteer. It's what I would call a back street pub, a type that is now sadly in decline.

Located not far from the lower entrance to Towneley Hall on Todmorden Road, “The Vols” looked splendid in the early afternoon sunshine as me and my beery amigo, Dave Miller, strolled in.

The entrance to the pub is most impressive, with a floored mosaic tiled doorway and the name Rifle Volunteer Inn inscribed to welcome its thirsty patrons.

It’s a cosy, old-fashioned pub with a decent-sized lounge and an off-room area boasting lots of soft furnishings, ornate mirrors and framed pictures of local interest.

However, it was the room adjacent to the bar that impressed me most. It looked liked nothing had changed in this part of the pub.

A piano stood proudly in the corner, along with a quite superb high-backed settle and a couple of dark oak tables and chairs. More old, ornate mirrors decorate the walls — and there was even a doorway leading to the rear of the bar.

Of course the bar is my favoured area — it's certainly Dave Miller's — and there were three cask ales on offer.

We were met by a most friendly lady called Gwyneth, the sister of the landlady, Kath Ratcliffe.

Gwyneth was keen to tell us about how the pub had become so popular.

She said: “It's just gone from strength to strength. My sister has done a great job here — she's ace.”

The pub had recently won CAMRA's 'Burnley area, Pub of the Year' award for 2014 and had been their ‘Most improved Pub’ winner just three years earlier.

So we were eager to sample the ales on the bar — two local beers from Reedley Hallows and a rare ale in this area, Bass Draught.

We went for the latter, at £2.60 a pint (the Reedley brews being £2.40). It was in great nick. A smooth, malty, easy drinking quaff, it went down a treat.

The ‘gaffer’ walked in shortly after our first slurp. Kath Ratcliffe is the reason why the local community now have one of the best run boozers in the town. Kath gave you an immediate impression on how proud and passionate she was about her pub.

She said: “There was no cask ale on when I took over. I then introduced one, then two, and finally three, due to the demand. It was a lovely surprise when the pub got its first award. Then, when we got the second, we were so proud for the pub, the local brewers and our lovely, friendly regulars.”

You felt so at ease at this warm, welcoming, community ale house, and looking around you could see that it still had many of its original features. One feature that most impressed me was situated in the immaculate and old fashioned toilets.

The pub still had the original Burnley Ducketts urinals in place — a very rare site indeed.

Yes, hardly surprising this hidden gem of a pub has been recognised by the members of the local CAMRA branch. It simply ticked all the boxes. A cracking boozer that Burnley can be proud of. And as Arnie would have said: “I will be back”.