ONE of Ledbury's most iconic buildings, the famous House on Stilts, began a new lease of life this week as the ice cream parlour for the artisanal ice cream maker, Just Rachel.

Just Rachel has been making luxury dairy ice cream for more than 30 years at its dairy at Bromsberrow near Ledbury, using traditional Victorian recipes, from local ingredients wherever possible, "and with absolutely no additives".

The House on Stilts, at the Top Cross junction, dates back to at least the early part of the seventeenth century and gets its name from the wooden pillars which support it, on the New Street side.

The building has been the eye-catching location for a number of businesses in recent years, including a bridal shop and an antiques shop.

Further back, its ground floor may once have been used as a market area, and there is some evidence, following a recent restoration, that it may have been a cobbler's shop or even military factory, making saddles and boots, at the time of the English Civil War.

A spokesman for Just Rachel said: "The beautiful and historic Grade II * listed building at the Top Cross in the centre of Ledbury had stood empty for the previous eighteen months and has now been fully restored whilst bringing the inside into the 21st century with vivid colours and a modern twist.

"In addition to serving traditional cones and ice cream, to eat in or take away, Just Rachel will be serving crepes and waffles. They will also have a new range of sundaes and sammidges: ice cream sandwiched between cookies with fluff, sauce and sprinkles. Milk shakes will be on offer too, as well as premium coffee from the only wood fired roastery in the UK."

The spokesman added "Just Rachel have created a number of local jobs and the Parlour will bring a new dimension to eating out in Ledbury. The Parlour will be serving customers throughout the year, seven days a week."