A POPULAR tea room, described by one reviewer as a "jewel on the canal", has closed "with immediate effect".

Toby's Tea Room, which is just off the Leeds-Liverpool Canal at Apperley Bridge, announced on its Facebook page late last night that it would be closing with a "heavy heart", thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

The small eatery, which was just past Dobson Locks heading towards Esholt, served up sandwiches, coffee and alcoholic drinks.

It was well-known for being dog friendly and was much-loved by people wandering off the canal towpath for a bite to eat or refreshments, as well as with regulars.

The post said: "We would like to share some difficult news with you.

"It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to close Toby’s with immediate effect.

"COVID-19 has presented many challenges and the ongoing uncertainty has forced us to make decisions as a family, as well as a business, that we feel reflect our morals and values.

"We can’t thank you enough for your custom and support over these past few months.

"We’ve been blown away by how thoughtful and considerate every one of our customers has been.

"We’re so very grateful to each of you and your poochies for coming to visit."

Many people responded to the news with sadness and a number of commenters shared photos of their dogs enjoying their time at Toby's Tea Room.

One review by somebody on Trip Advisor back in 2013 described the eatery as a "jewel on the canal".

Toby's Tea Room has been reviewed 139 times on the travel website, with roughly 86 per cent of those giving a rating of either Excellent or Very Good.

In total, 93 reviewers over the years have deemed the café to be Excellent.

The business also took time to show its support for the rest of the community, by reccommending other local cafés to visit and also revealing it may pass on its secret recipes.

The post said: "We love our community and all it has to offer.

"We would highly recommend two other local cafés for you to visit.

"The Cellar Trust Café is a charitable organisation based in Shipley.

"You’ll be helping others every time you visit.

"We may even donate our top secret recipe file.

"We also love The Little Coffee House in Calverley.

"We know the owners personally and this pretty café is a treat to visit.

"We apologise for any inconvenience, this has not been an easy decision to come to.

"If anyone has any outstanding bookings or vouchers, please message us directly and we will do our best to help.

"Thank you, we wish each of you well, take good care of yourselves and each other (and our favourite poochies that we have come to adore)."