Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Pub Walk on the Somerset Levels and Moors

Wrapped up against the cold wind, I have been out walking on the Somerset Levels and visiting one of my favourite village pubs - The George Inn at Middlezoy. Not only do they always have superb food but by unexpected good fortune this weekend just happens to be their beer festival!

This is a great local and a real community pub that welcomes visitors into the fold and one that we have returned to regularly. As well as all the usual pub favourites, they also often have springbok and kangaroo for those looking for something a little more unusual! Their twice-cooked chips are some of the best and the cheesy leeks are every bit as good as they sound.

All mouthwatering stuff but twice as good after a bracing walk! Following Langmead Drove from Westonzoyland to Middlezoy, I belatedly realised that my walking boots would have been a wiser choice than the trainers I was wearing as the route soon became deeply rutted from regular use by tractors. Many of the trenches were filled with water while the ridges subsided slowly under my weight as I picked my way forward.

 Although progress was slow, the surroundings made for a fascinating walk with a series of drainage channels dissecting the grassland and reed beds. The water reflected the blue and white sky as unexpected breaks in the cloud also allowed the sun through to brighten the colours.

Back to The George Inn with its roaring fire and beer festival underway until 1st April.

To find other great pubs with walks from their doors, click on favourite pub walks.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Top 10 Favourite Pub Walks of 2012

The Plough and Harrow, Monknash
The weather may still be bitterly cold this long Easter weekend but for some of us the sun is doing its best to break through the clouds and entice us out into the countryside.

The extra time off work is a great opportunity to combine exercise with indulgence - we can enjoy the fresh air and feel we've earnt the right to some good food and real ale in a traditional British pub.

The Dartrmoor Inn pub walk
So, it seemed the perfect time to revitalise this blog with some of the favourite pub walks enjoyed by users of during 2012.

A walk from The Plough and Harrow in Monknash, South Glamorgan, is always a favourite, offering views over the Bristol Channel, an impressive cove and a woodland route through a nature reserve. Then you get to finish off in a character pub appearing in all the best pub guides.

Alternatively there is The Dartmoor Inn with another favourite circular walk, this time venturing onto Dartmoor near Lydford with moorland views and a cascading stream and a climb up Widgery Tor. Return to The Dartmoor Inn for your refreshment and you won't be disappointed.

The Rose and Crown, Nympsfield
How about a beautiful walk around the Woodchester Estate in Gloucestershire (National trust), taking you through woods, past lily pad filled lakes and an impressive, abandoned gothic mansion. The dog-friendly Rose and Crown at Nympsfield serves food all day and has a huge beer garden.

To see details of more great pub walks perfect for the Easter weekend simply click on Top 10 favourite pub walks of 2012.

Happy pub walking!

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Top 10 Presents for Pub-Walkers

What Pub Walkers Want for Christmas - My Top 10 List

Looking for last minute gift ideas for your pub-walking friends or partner? Well, one of the things I love about pub walks is that they combine so many different interests into a single hobby. Clearly we all enjoy a good walk and a good pub but for most of us there is so much more to it than that.

It's true the walk may simply be some exercise ahead of a calorific indulgence; more likely though it reflects a love of fresh air and the outdoors with a real interest in nature in all its forms and seasonal variations. Likewise, the desire to help preserve our precious pub tradition is often linked to a deep-seated passion for other aspects of our national heritage.

So, all that gives a good variety of things to choose from when buying Christmas presents for pub walkers: from real ale to Ramblers membership, natural history books to National Trust membership, OS Getamap to good pub guides!

If you'd like to see my Top 10 list of gift ideas for pub walkers for 2011 then here it is. Perhaps if you share the list, your friends may take the hint and buy one of these for you too! You may have other ideas in which case then please add a comment and share - we'd all love to see them too :-)

1. Ordnance Survey Getamap Service
This is a great new service from Ordnance Survey which earns my top slot for pub walkers. It gives online access to all OS Landranger and OS Explorer maps and allows you to plot, save and share your walking routes. By paying an annual subscription of £19.99, you also get to print unlimited A4 maps, and add waypoint photos, customised route styling and use a full screen view of the map window. Even better, it is linked to the Good Pub Guide, so perfect for creating your own favourite pub walks!
Click on Ordnance Survey Getamap for more information.

2. National Trust Gift Membership
Did you know the National Trust owns or manages 38 pubs and inns? Of course they are better known for their commitment to the preservation of our coast, countryside and historic buildings, with their extensive tracts of land offering great walks and spectacular scenery. Right now, Gift Membership offers 25% off the normal price plus an extra free gift of a pair of National Trust binoculars, making it our favourite Christmas present!
For more details go to National Trust Gift Membership, click 'Join Online' and then select 'A gift for someone else'. Costs start as low as £17.63 for someone up to age 25.

3. Good Pub Guide, Good Beer Guide or AA Pub Guide

Although the Good Pub Guide may historically have been the most popular pub-goers bible, its independent status is now being debated since starting to charge pubs for entry for 2012. So this year why not try the Good Beer Guide instead which also gives general comments on the pubs beyond the quality of the real ale on offer. It too is densely packed with information in text form so if you prefer something easier on the eye (albeit covering fewer pubs) then the AA Pub Guide has many colour photos and feels better quality for a book to enjoy browsing. All are updated annually.
You can buy any of these from via The Pub Walker's On-Line Store which showcases Amazon products of interest to pub walkers.

4. Walking Socks
OK, I know that socks as a present for a man are the butt of many jokes but forget the stereotype as a pair of really good quality walking socks make a great gift for him or her! Cold feet can be a misery and this present could make a real difference to your walking companions in terms of both comfort and warmth.
To see a good selection try the Cotswold Outdoor site.

5. Bottled Real Ale
Much as we must use our pubs, or lose them, there are evenings at home when a glass of bottled real ale really hits the spot. If a pub walking friend lives some distance away then why not surprise them and arrange to have a few bottles delivered to their door by such companies as Ales by Mail.

6. Compass!
If you do your pub walks with someone who does not have a compass than you should get them one, seriously. Apart from just being able to check it occasionally to ensure they are heading in the right direction and avoid retracing steps, it may open up a whole new world to them of exploring new routes (and pubs).
Click on Compasses at for the ideal stocking-filler as they have a wide range starting from less than £2.

7. Yaktrax Walker
This is a great new product for anyone who wants to still get out and enjoy walking when there is ice and compacted snow around. A simple and lightweight accessory that fits over boots, shoes or trainers, it provides extra grip and makes the perfect winter gift for pub walkers as well as keen joggers, commuters, outdoor workers, dog owners, the elderly and indeed anyone who has to or wants to walk on icy pavements. What's more it uses coils rather than spikes so cannot damage the pavement, or you!
Click on Yaktrax to find out more.

8. Garmin GPS for Walkers
Much as I am a fan of the traditional OS map and would always carry one, there is no doubt that a handheld Garmin device adds a new dimension to your walking experience - record your routes and share them with friends or publish online; and upload your own routes or those of others to the device before you set off. There can be many other features depending upon which model you choose and in fact there are some great offers in the run up to Christmas.
Click on Garmin devices for some of the best offers I could find.

9. Gamma Head Torch
I have to admit my walks often take somewhat longer than I expect, sometimes even arriving at pubs after food has stopped being served - at lunchtime that is! And with darkness descending earlier every day almost until Christmas and cutting short our walking time, I think this powerful head torch is a great idea. Voted best value head torch in Trail magazine, the Gamma head torch also has numerous positive user reviews on-line. At £12.50 it is definitely on my list.
To buy this, go to Alpkit Gamma head torch.

10. ??? What do you suggest?
No-one wants a Top 9 list so can you help make it a Top 10? If you have a suggestion for my final last minute gift idea for Pub Walkers then please add a comment below and share it with us all!

As many people know, our website uses free pub walk downloads and links to promote the best of our pub heritage to a hungry and thirsty walking community. Some of the links above are affiliate links which pay a % commission which help to pay for the costs of running the site. So if you like any of the ideas and want to help us support our community pubs then please do click through using the links above. Either way, we hope you find the gift ideas of interest and a help if you are buying for someone who shares our passion for pub walks.

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my pub walking friends!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Autumn - A Time for Pub Walks

Autumn is well and truly upon us and there is nothing better than getting outside on a pub walk to enjoy the simple pleasures we all associate with the season – the explosions of colour, kicking through the fallen leaves, foraging for fungi and, for so many of us, combining this with a stop at a favourite pub!

According to recent research by The National Trust, more than 32 million people plan to head outdoors to enjoy an autumn family walk with over 16 million saying it’s the season’s beautiful colours that makes autumn walking so special. They don’t say how many of those plan to include a pub somewhere along the way but most of the walkers I know will certainly choose to - so this must surely run into many millions too!

So, time to don the walking boots and warmer clothes and go for a pub walk, savour the season and help our best pubs to thrive. And in case you need any inspiration, I have highlighted a few of my Autumn favourites below.

If you have any favourite of your own then I do hope you will share them by adding a comment too.

1. Winchester Pub Walk – Inspired by Keat’s To Autumn

Let’s start with a pub walk with a special link to the season. Keats enjoyed a daily walk though Winchester’s Cathedral Close and water meadows to St Cross. He was so inspired by the natural beauty of Winchester that, on Sunday 19 September 1819, he penned his ode To Autumn on his return. I can’t say whether he also frequented any of the selection of pubs along the route but there is no reaon why we cannot stop at one to raise a glass to his celebration of this season! (2 hr – 4m)
Route and Pub Details

2. Malham Pub Walk - Janet’s Fosse and Gordale Scar

Woodland and waterfalls give us the best of both worlds with Autumn as we get the combination of beautiful foliage and the sight and sound of rushing water as the increased rainfall gives for a greater spectacle. Here of course you have the added dimension of the views from the top of Malham Cove too. Couple that with a choice of pubs serving excellent food, well, don’t let me keep you!
Route and Pub Details

3. Pub Walk on Halkyn Mountain - Flintshire

The Blue Bell Inn stands high on Halkyn Mountain with impressive 70 mile views over the surrounding countryside. Take your pick of a choice of walks to navigate yourself or join one of the pub’s regular free guided walks before returning for refreshments at this award-winning hostelry.
Route and Pub Details

4. Pub Walk around Woodchester Park - Gloucestershire

This is a beautiful, pleasant pub walk around the Woodchester Estate (National Trust land) through woods, past lily pad filled lakes and an impressive, abandoned gothic mansion. The Rose and Crown accepts dogs inside and out and serves food all day. Previously a gem but I understand it is now under new management so any feedback welcomed.
Route and Pub Details

For some more ideas click on Autumn Pub Walks and if you have two minutes to spare, I'd love to hear what are your favourites too - please just add a comment below and share.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

A Pub Walk by Any Other Name

I have been having a little fun on Twitter this week. Although I talk with a passion about "Pub Walks", one of my followers light-heartedly referred to these as "Boots 'n' Beer". So I thought I would invite the twittersphere to be creative and suggest other alternative names for this very British pastime.

One or two suggestions sound more like pub crawls but for me the walk and pub are of equal importance - you have to earn the indulgence after all in order to fully appreciate it! Anyway, I thought I would share the list here and please feel free to comment and let us know your favourites or any additional suggestions:

In no particular order:

Boots 'n' Beer
Peaks 'n' Pints
Ale Trails
Wine & Wanderings
Tarns & Mist (cockney)
Hikes 'n' Hooch
Hop 'n' Trail
Inn ways
Beery Bimble
Inns and outdoors
Beer Bound
BeeRamble or BeerAmble or even beeRAmble
Pub Potters
Hostelry Hikes
Maps 'n' Taps
Cask Walks
A Bar Too Far
A Snug Fit
Trip To The Bar
A Walk On The Mild Side
Get Fitter With Bitter
The Pub Trudge
The Green Green Glass Of Foam
Pale Ale Snail Trail
A Guiness When You Finish
Ales & Ambulations
Summits and Slurps

To find some great pubs with walks from their doors, click on favourite pub walks.

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