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Hop PresshopsHop Press Issue 72 front cover

Issue 72 – May 2012

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Contents


 
EDITORIAL Hop Press index

Mendacity, thy name is George! Watching our unfeasibly baby-faced chancellor giving this year’s budget statement we saw him gloss over the livelihoods of thousands of licensees with a single phrase, hardly even a complete sentence: ‘I’m announcing no changes in alcohol duties…’

Not a flicker of a blush accompanied Osborne’s obfuscation since, of course, the changes, which amount to 5-10p on a pint of beer, had already been laid in place, like landmines, in previous years and then (the Government hopes) forgotten. What is more, they are still there to be detonated again next year and the year after… The increase in duty, inflation plus another 2% escalator, brings the duty and VAT on every pint you buy to around £1.

Not many landlords, seeing yet another body blow to their businesses, will be able to take comfort from the bounty offered to the rich by cutting the 50p top tax band! CAMRA, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) have joined their voices in condemning this irrational assault on an industry that already contributes £21bn to the economy and are sponsoring an immediate e-petition, to remove the pernicious escalator, it can be reached at:
www.camra.org.uk/saveyourpint
Please sign it, this unfair ‘escalator’ must go the way of the window tax.

British beer drinkers consume only 13% of the EU’s beer production yet contribute 40% of the EU’s overall beer duty. Furthermore our duty contribution has itself increased by over 40% since 2008. By 2015 (when the current escalator regime is due to be still in force) we can expect to be contributing more than half of the continent’s beer tax. It is doubtful that the British pub can survive that.

Just a day after the budget, and inserted into the budget debate as a possible diversionary tactic, came the Home Secretary’s ‘statement on alcohol policy’ which has been widely reported as a call for minimum unit pricing.

She suggested that, after a summer of consultation, they may bring in a bill to set a lower price limit of 40p per unit of alcohol (equivalent, for example, to 90p for a pint of Courage Best or £1.15 for a pint of HSB). Clearly this would have no impact on pubs; the national average prices per unit in pubs is already, before the budget increases, £1.26 for real ale and £1.37 for lagers.

CAMRA supports this call for price limits as an attempt to curb the unbridled give-away competition amongst the supermarkets and other discounters. In the past ten years the average pub price of a pint has increased by 43% whilst in the off-trade it has changed by just 1%! But we shall have to be patient to see if the Government is really serious about this issue, the Home Office statement proposed implementation would not be before 2015 – time for plenty more binge drinking yet!

Although fully supporting the call for price constraint as an experiment to try to alleviate the peculiarly British disease of binge drinking we do deplore the depressing way that media representation of the problem continually harps upon images of draught beer drinking. No TV exposé of the matter is complete without the obligatory shot of a handpump filling a glass with cask beer – about as significant a contribution to the weekend city centre mayhem as is the consumption of vintage claret.

Meanwhile similar legislation is further advanced in Scotland with a bill already in progress which could be signed into law before the summer. This will give the EU a chance to get into the action since the first thing the drinks industry has vowed is that they will challenge any legislation, Scottish or English, on the grounds of being a ‘restraint of trade.’

The Home Secretary’s statement promised a number of other changes to the country’s licensing regime. For example there will be provisions for licensing authorities to designate late night drinking zones where levies can be raised on the bars to alleviate policing costs. There will also be increased powers for objectors to licence applications and for authorities to make blanket rules on restricting opening within the 12 midnight to 6 am period. None of these are likely to have a great impact on the type of community pub that CAMRA champions.

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Does the boss owe you a free pint? If you drink in an Enterprise Inn you certainly deserve a beer from the chain’s chief executive, Ted Tuppen.

The giant pub chain arose from the aftermath of the Government’s ‘beer orders’ as the wunderkind financial wizards (the same ones that brought about the present global banking shambles …) dreamt up a cunning plan for buying pubs without actually having any money; they called it securitisation. It looked fine initially but proved totally fragile in the face of economic hard times. In Enterprise’s case the company’s crushing £3bn plus debt has resulted in fire sale after fire sale of tranches of their pubs.

In early 2007, under Mr. Tuppen, Enterprise shares traded at 770p, by January this year they were 26p, a decline of nearly 97%. So presumably this contrite CEO refunded some of his salary to help out the troubled Enterprise? Not quite, he responded by awarding himself a £412,000 pay rise and a bonus of £558,000 to trouser a take-home package of £1.22m!

This disgrace has provoked LibDem MP Greg Mulholland to table an ‘early day motion’ condemning ‘irresponsible and crony capitalism’ and asking why ‘top bosses, like Mr. Tuppen, should be rewarded for failure.’ So, although you certainly deserve a pint, don’t hold your breath waiting for Ted to step up to the bar.

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The cover of this issue shows a truly sad spectacle: Southampton’s beer mecca, the Junction Inn, totally hidden in scaffolding after its disastrous fire in mid-February.

The blaze, which fortunately caused no injuries, started in the living area and destroyed much of the upper storey and the roof; fortunately the CAMRA prize-winning, listed bar interior was not too badly damaged.

The entire pub is a listed building and this of course adds the delays of officialdom into the rebuilding equation. Also there has been a hold-up from the almost obligatory discovery of some asbestos and, to cap it all, the gutted building has had two burglaries since it has been boarded up!

But the good news is that rebuilding started in earnest at the end of the first week of April. Users of Facebook can follow progress on ‘Fans of the Junction Inn’ pages from Dawn and Martin.



Pub News Hop Press index

Rob Whatley


Sway

Readers may recall the lengthy, but ultimately unsuccessful, campaign to save the Forest Heath Hotel in Sway. There was better news for villagers in January when the Silver Hind Inn and Restaurant opened. The new establishment took over the premises previously occupied by the Nurse's Cottage Restaurant in Station Road, close to the site of the Forest Health. The new proprietors are Andy and Carol Cottingham. Details are in Pete Simpson's article, Keeping Sway, in this issue.

Tiptoe

Close by, in Tiptoe, permission was granted for extensive work at the Plough Inn , including refurbishment of the bar area.

New Milton

The Oak and Yaffle in Ashley Common Road, New Milton is currently closed and boarded up, its fate unknown.

Lymington

A new pub will be appearing in Lymington. Following the granting of planning permission, a drinks licence has now been obtained for the controversial new Wetherspoon outlet in St Thomas Street, the Six Bells . The 8am opening time is slightly later than some other Wetherspoon pubs in a concession to those concerned about the impact of the new pub on the adjacent church and local residents.

We have also seen a closure in Lymington as the owners of Longs Bar in the High Street lost their appeal against the decision to restrict its late licence to 12.30am, having previously been permitted to open until 2am. While awaiting the appeal decision the cellar bar was redecorated but this and other changes did not attract the extra custom needed to compensate for the reduced hours. Another High Street outlet, the Angel Inn , has also been trying to increase custom through new external signage but owners Marston lost an appeal to keep the signs on the listed building.

On the outskirts of the town the Toll House , which closed after a fire last July, reopened in November. New licensees are Michelle and Michael Rogers, who also run the Waterloo Arms, Lyndhurst and the Plough Inn, Tiptoe. The former landlord of the pub has been charged with arson.

Totton

The site of another pub hit by a fire, the Red Lion , Totton, may host a drive-through McDonalds if permission is granted. Following much local opposition to the plan, including objections from the police, the original application has been withdrawn but a revised plan is to be submitted.

Eling

Entertainment at the nearby Anchor in Eling is attracting custom to the pub and helping people with mental health issues. Talented patients have been performing music, comedy and poetry at 'open mic' nights under a scheme run by the Southern Health NHS Trust.

Marchwood

The owners of the White Horse in Marchwood are hoping to attract more custom by improving the signage for the Main Road pub.

Dibden Purlieu

Continuing south, a second bid to add a 60 room hotel to the Heath Hotel at Dibden Purlieu has again been rejected by planners.

Holbury

Extensive refurbishment of both the inside and outside of the Bridge Tavern , Ipers Bridge, has helped new landlord Richard Cooper and his partner Deborah Richardson increase trade. Live music and quiz nights are also helping to pull in the punters.

Winsor

Another way to attract customers is to welcome their four legged friends. Advertisements for the Compass Inn , Winsor featuring pictures of the pub's Jack Russell have helped to boost the pub's dog friendly appeal and led to an increase in trade.

Battramsley

The Hobler Inn, Battramsley took a different approach by advertising French lessons followed by a two course lunch. Presumably the signs, for which the pub has also gained permission, will still be in English.

Brockenhurst

While happy hours have been a staple attraction for many pubs, the Rose and Crown , Brockenhurst took things a bit more seriously. In February it hosted a free 'laughter session' aimed at improving physical and emotional wellbeing.

Lyndhurst

Someone who remained unamused was the planning inspector who upheld the decision to order the owners of the Fox and Hounds , in the centre of Lyndhurst, to remove their uPVC double glazed windows that had been installed on the first floor of the Grade II listed building without planning permission.

Ringwood

There is good news in Ringwood as another pub that closed during last year has reopened. The Railway Hotel , which once stood outside of Ringwood's station is now back in full flow - Pete Simpson's article, The Railway returns to Ringwood, also in this issue, goes into detail.

Bursledon

There were celebrations at another Fox and Hounds , in Bursledon, in recognition of barmaid Pam Strickland's 35 years of pulling pints. The Chef and Brewer owned pub at which she has worked underwent a refurbishment last year.

West End

Also celebrating were Simon and Hayley Froud who were recognised as best newcomers in the managed house category by Wadworth in a recent awards ceremony. They took over the Master Builder in West End in December 2009 and have built up the trade at the pub over the last couple of years.

Eastleigh

Not such good news from Eastleigh as the Break Bar and Loft in the Swan Centre, which only opened in summer 2010, closed its doors in January.

Bishop's Waltham

The doors have reopened at the Crown Inn on The Square at Bishop's Waltham. It had been shut since 2010 but Fuller's have spent £2m on restoring the pub, including nine new hotel bedrooms. Guests will be following in the footsteps of French admiral Villeneuve, who was held there after being captured at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Swanmore

Nearby in Swanmore locals are battling to save another historic pub. The 19 th century New Inn closed in October after owners Greene King declared it was no longer viable. Winchester planners threw out an application to demolish the pub and replace it with four homes, but an appeal has been lodged.

Winchester

Also due to reopen in March after a period of closure was the Willow Tree in Winchester. The new licensees are Jurina and Brian Ahearn. There were concerns from local residents when the pub was boarded up but owners Greene King said that it was always their intention to reopen the pub. This is an example of a change in policy that has occurred over the last decade or so. In earlier times, when a licensee suddenly left a pub, the brewery would, after a couple of days, install a temporary manager to keep the pub open while a permanent licensee was sought. Nowadays in such circumstances pubs are likely to be closed for a much longer period. In most cases customers have no idea whether such a closure is intended to be temporary or permanent. This change of policy contributes to an impression among the public that the number of permanent pub closures is even greater than the current high level. (It also makes keeping track of closures for our local CAMRA records much more challenging and means that although what we report here is true at the time of writing, by publication time the status of some of the pubs mentioned here may well have changed!)

The Albion , near the railway station, also suffered a period of closure but reopened at the end of last year under new owners Paul and Hester Soulsby. As you will read elsewhere, there is a new brewery in Winchester at the Fulflood Arms in Cheriton Road.

Fullers continue their vigorous acquisition of pubs in our area by their take-over of the William Walker (formerly the Market Inn) in the Square. Another pub under a new regime is 5 Bridge Street, which has been known in recent times as the Blonde Beer Café and the Mikiki Lounge (after generations being content as simply the Cricketers). It is much changed and as well as an emphasis on food, also has six guest rooms. It is part of the Ideal Collection group.

Otterbourne

Another pub in the Ideal Collection, the White Horse at Otterbourne, reopened in November following extensive refurbishment.

Twyford

The Phoenix in Twyford has had a short closure for a refurbishment. Licensee, Paul Mundy, who has been dispensing beer in the village for thirty years, has persuaded Greene King to relax their tie to allow him much more flexibility on stocking local ales.

Morn Hill

While we mourn the loss of so many pubs over the last decade, the names of some pubs live on. A recent correspondent to the Daily Echo noted that the sign for the Percy Hobbs at Morn Hill has disappeared and been replaces by Neptune, the home interiors company that now operates from the site. Despite the pub, formerly Whitbread's New Inn, only having that name since 1982, the writer said that she had 'always' referred to the roundabout on the A31 as the Percy Hobbs roundabout. Readers may be able to think of other pub names that live on despite a pub being replaced or changing its name.

New Alresford

The Percy Hobbs roundabout will be passed by many visitors on the way to the Cricketers in New Alresford. Visitors to the pub will find new licenses in charge after Rick and Pauline Gallear retired in March after 16 years pulling pints.

Crawley

The last licensee of the Rack and Manger at Crawley had a much shorter tenure. The pub closed a year ago and late last year permission was granted for a change of use from former public house to single residential dwelling including new garage and landscaping.

Horsebridge

There is much better news a few miles to the south west. Having previously been put up for sale as a dwelling, the John o' Gaunt at Horsebridge reopened as a pub at Easter. New landlady Toni Simmonds sold her house in order to pay for the renovation of the pub. Work at the pub has been aided by many volunteers who, having campaigned to save the pub, are now keen to ensure it will be a success.

Lockerley

Another pub that reopened after a lengthy period of closure, the King's Arms at Lockerley, now has an added attraction as it is displaying the works of local artists. To thank the pub, Wallop Artists group ran a competition and the winning portrait of the pub was presented to landlady Lucy Townsend.

Romsey

Six en-suite bedrooms are due to open at Romsey's Cromwell Arms in May.

Braishfield

The Good Beer Guide listed Wheatsheaf in Braishfield closed suddenly in March after what is thought to be a dispute amongst the licensee partners, its future is unclear.

North Baddesley

The refurbishment of the Bedes Lea , North Baddesley, meant that after six years at the pub, landlord James Sawyer has the layout of the pub exactly how he wants it. It includes a large dining area that has led to an increase in trade.

West Wellow

The Rockingham Arms has saved some money on signage as it has been renamed The Rock .

Ower

The refurbishment of the Vine Inn , Ower had unexpected consequences for many customers. The makeover, when the venue became part of the Fayre and Square chain, included the conversion of the function room into a 'Wacky Warehouse.' Unfortunately, customers who had previously booked the venue, including at least two couples who had booked the room for their wedding receptions, had to make alternative arrangements.

Swaythling

The Fleming Arms , Swaythling, reopened at the end of February after refurbishment and a change of ownership. The former Fuller's house is now part of the Greene King Hungry Horse chain. There has been a big increase in turnover since the reopening and Greene King IPA, Abbot and Old Speckled Hen were on offer when we visited.

Southampton

Staying on a foody theme, the UK's first Toby Sandwich Express is due to open in the WestQuay shopping complex. This is a fast food version of a Toby Carvery. As with Harvesters, this chain seems to be moving away from their origins in the conversion of large, existing pubs.

A similar chain has at least temporarily lost one of its number as Quayside , outside Leisureworld, is boarded up at the time of writing. Just up the road, as mentioned elsewhere, the Platform Tavern now hosts the Dancing Man Brewery.

A number of venues have changed their name in the last few months. The Earl of Locksley in Sholing has returned to its previous, less noble name, the Robin Hood . Hamptons in Above Bar became Guava Bar last year and is now a Mango Thai tapas Bar. The Soul Cellar , close to the Guildhall is now simply the Cellar . The Endeavour (which in the past has traded under the names of the Queen, Atlantic Queen and Queen of Clubs), was renamed the Titanic during the period leading up to the centenary of the sinking of the liner.

Before moving on to some happier stories we will have a brief round up of current closures. The Crown in Shirley is currently boarded up. The Bevois Town remains in a similar situation and recently the freehold was offered for sale. Permission has previously been obtained for three flats and five houses on the site.

A Tesco Express in Lordswood has now opened at what was previously the Woodman pub. The Co-op has begun work on a similar conversion on the Anchor and Hope in Foundry Lane. The former Shotz, Pure and H20 (amongst many of its names) on the corner of Onslow Road and St Mary's Road, is now a convenience store.

The Anchor in East Street has closed and its future is uncertain given the proposed building of a new Morrisons on the site of the East Street Centre. After being closed for more than a year, the Fitz (previously Fitzhugh and the Corner Post) is now being converted to housing.

The Ship Inn , Woolston has an uncertain future as owners Punch Taverns have put the 140-year-old pub up for sale. It would be strange decision if the pub were to be closed as it is located opposite the former Vosper Thornycroft site which will become home to some 3,000 new residents.

Back to the good news. The Anchor at Redbridge reopened after a brief period of closure last year. Around the same time the Bricklayers Arms in Millbrook reopened after refurbishment.

As already discussed in the Editorial , it is not clear exactly when the Junction at St Denys will reopen but work has already begun on restoring the pub after it was hit by an extensive fire in February. A less serious blaze delayed the reopening of Talking Heads in Portswood. The venue closed in January, reopening in mid-April with four real ales on offer. A laudable intention, that could be adopted by other pubs, is to always have a hand-pumped stout or porter in the portfolio in place of Diageo's market-dominating keg product. The pub is looking to increase the pub side of the business while maintaining the musical and other entertainment attractions.

Another city venue that hosts a lot of live music, the Hobbit , hit the national headlines recently when the owners of the film rights to the Lord of the Rings trilogy wrote to the pub threatening legal action if it didn't change its name and references to the works of JRR Tolkein. After a short, high profile campaign, which had the support of Stephen Fry and Sir Ian McKellan, the two parties came to an arrangement whereby the pub can retain the name that it has had for more than 20 years.

Continuing along Bevois Valley, the Rockstone is the new name for the Bevois Castle . After a protracted battle to obtain a license, the refurbished pub offers a range of real ales, usually including the products of the Sadler's Brewery based at Lye, near Stourbridge in the West Midlands. This reopening will attract even more visitors to an area that also boasts the pub that was recently voted the Southern Hampshire CAMRA 2012 pub of the year, the Guide Dog in Earls' Road.
 



More Brewing Resurgence Hop Press index

Pat O'Neill

Fulflood ArmsThe beautiful green, tile-clad Fulflood Arms in Cheriton Road Winchester (a Good Beer Guide listed pub) now boasts its own in-house brewery. As the pub was once owned by the Winchester Brewery and still prominently announces this information on its façade, this seems entirely apt.

The Winchester Brewery, which was based in Hyde Street, owned 108 pubs and was purchased by Burton based brewers, Marston Thompson and Evershed, in 1923. Brewing stopped in 1927 but the site remained as Marston's southern depot until well into the '90s when Marston sold their Hampshire pubs to Greene King.

Now, 85 years on from 1927, father and son Clive and Andy Mansell, leaseholders at the Fulflood Arms, have installed a small 'one-barrel' brewing plant at the pub. The Fulflood Arms, which celebrates its 140 th year this year, started brewing the 3.9% abv Fulflood Arms Bitter, a mid-brown 'old-fashioned' hoppy bitter, in February.

Clive already had some experience of brewing having established the Alresford based Itchen Valley Brewery in 1997. Andy has been advised and assisted by Iain McIntosh until recently the Brewer at the Flower Pots Cheriton Brewhouse.

The Fulflood Arms is unusual in that it only sells snacks and does not have, or need, a catering kitchen. What was a small kitchen area behind bar now houses the compact brewery, the group of fermenting vessels can be seen above. The pub, complete with upright piano and acoustic guitar for customers to use, concentrates on locally produced real ales in addition to its own new brand.

On the 'it never rains but .' principle, as soon as we hear of this development at the Fulflood news arrives of a second brewery development in Winchester. Steve Haigh, a professional brewer since 2002, has acquired a site on the Winnal Industrial Estate and is currently installing brewing equipment for what will become the King Alfred Brewery . It is expected that his first brew, a 3.8% bitter, will appear on local bars in May.

Platform TavernThe city of Southampton has also been fortunate, gaining its own pub brewery. Stewart Cross, landlord of the Platform Tavern on the city's old Town Quay, another long standing Good Beer Guide entry, has installed a two-barrel brewing plant that started brewing in January and has been an instant success. The ancient dockside pub - which almost certainly would have served a last beer in 1912 to some of the unfortunate travellers departing on the Titanic - has its tiny brewery on view to the pub customers through an internal window in the side bar.

The brewery was the idea of Aiden Lavin, the bar manager, but its curious name, Dancing Man Brewery , comes from landlord Stewart. The skeletal, prancing figure, originating from a music festival, had been a sort of unofficial logo for the pub for some years; now it features in cast metal as a holder for the wood block pump clips! At a recent visit to the Platform the other customers included a gentleman who had travelled down from Nottingham to negotiate for a pump clip for the world's only pump clip museum! You couldn't make it up.

Dancing Man BreweryCurrently, brews take place twice per week and Stewart tries to have at least two differing beers available on the bar. But the four half-barrel fermenters, shown in our picture, have been unable to keep up with public demand, so bigger vessels are due for installation, but for one little snag - the ancient pub has only two narrow doors, both unable to accept the units. A window is only feasible way in but it is a major piece of building work.



A Walk (for a drink), from West Dean Hop Press index

Ray Massey

(download pdf file for printing 214kB)

This short walk is in the western part of Hampshire, close to the Wiltshire border and nearer to Salisbury than Southampton. There are several reasons for choosing this walk, apart from the pleasant countryside itself. Chiefly, it takes you to a cracking pub; and there is a very good train service that gets you close before the leisurely stroll to give you a good thirst on arrival.

A few years ago the train service to West Dean was abysmal. Just a few First Great Western Bristol-Southampton trains stopped there, and there were strong moves to reduce even those. Then Southwestern Trains stepped in and created a new hourly service that stopped at all stations on the Salisbury-Romsey-Southampton-Eastleigh-Chandlers Ford-Romsey route. I have difficulty believing it makes any money, except perhaps the Chandlers Ford-Southampton part of the route; but long may it continue. This walk would not be feasible without it: here it is.

Alight at West Dean station. If you turned left on leaving the platform you would immediately be in the centre of West Dean. The village is split north and south by the River Dun, slowly flowing eastwards through the village. The county boundary between Hampshire and Wiltshire also splits the village. By the river an old inn sign marks the sadly demised Red Lion , a well-used pub that closed in the 1990s, early victim to the trend to buy pubs as private houses. The pub was unique in having two bars divided by the boundary and requiring dealings with two licensing authorities!

However, turn right on leaving the platform, onto Rectory Hill. This road leads directly to West Tytherley, and is a perfectly reasonable and easy way to reach the village; though I think there are better options. The road climbs gently out of the village. Look out for small green and white footpath signs pointing both left and right. Take the right one along a narrow drive closely bordered by tall slim trees. Just before a white house, turn left along a path in a band of woodland, and then immediately turn right with the white house on your right. Go gently uphill, then downhill across a large field (probably full of vegetables). Good to note the farmer has respected the right of way and left a band of grassland for walkers, though albeit possibly muddy. The path ends at a stile giving access to a bend in a small country lane.

This is Frenchmoor Lane, from hereon the navigation is easy. Turn left up the narrow, winding lane; traffic is almost non-existent, because the lane ends at a pedestrian-only level crossing a short distance down on the right. The lane climbs, then drops gently, and climbs again. A few isolated houses border the lane. Gradually the houses increase in number, providing an unexpected example of between-the-wars ribbon development in the heart of the country. But the lane is never less than a delightful, peaceful walk. And so it goes on. Soon dark woods on the left add a slight touch of drama; just carry on and enjoy the peace.

At a cross-road continue ahead into Red Lane (Note this cross roads, you will return to it later). Red Lane is also an attractive, quiet, winding lane, bordered by a succession of well-kept houses. Bend slightly left where Pugs Hole comes in from the right. At the next junction continue ahead where the road from East Tytherley comes in from the right. Continue a short distance to a main road, and here turn right downhill into North Lane. The Black Horse is just around the bend on the left.

Black HorseThis pub last changed hands about four years ago, possibly more. It soon made a name for itself, and became an essential part of the village. It gained an entry in the Good Beer Guide in 2011 and is again in the current 2012 edition. Beers on when visited recently were two from Flowerpots and one from the Stonehenge brewery. The pub is a strong supporter of local ales and is in CAMRA's South Hants branch LocAle list. This year it was also short listed for the branch's 'Pub of the Year.' The pub's 'phone number is 01794 340308 and website is:
www.theblackhorsepublichouse.co.uk

Most times, when I am constructing these walks, I rely on my own knowledge. For this walk it was somewhat different, I was outside my sphere of experience. Almost without realizing it, I found a solution. The Black Horse is such a friendly pub, that when two gentlemen came to the bar to pay for their lunch, I simply asked them for their opinion on the best way to walk back to West Dean station. After a little hesitation they described their choice. I made a couple of suggestions, just based on looking at the map; these were given short shrift. Gentlemen, thank you: a five-minute conversation with you saved me hours of frustrated walking. Their suggestion is the return route to West Dean.

Black Horse interiorTurn right on leaving the pub, and retrace your steps, up North Lane, left into Coach Road and straight on into Red Lane, to the already noted cross roads. Here turn left into Bulls Drove, bend right, then follow a long curve left on a small but good tarmac road. When the tarmac ends, follow an earthy track ahead with woods on the right. After a few houses, there are open fields on the left, and the track improves. After nearly half a mile, turn right onto a good tarmac lane (this is Pugs Hole again), and go downhill, curving right, with woods on both sides. The countryside hereabouts has a neat, cared-for feeling; this is an area of large well run estates - no impoverished smallholdings strewn with barbed wire and rusting machinery in this area!

When the road and woods end, with good views of the downs ahead, turn right over a stile to follow the edge of the field with woods on your right. Cross a double stile over a ditch and continue ahead. At the next stile continue straight ahead, with a hedge on your right, and a single oak tree in the distance ahead of you. Go slightly downhill, then uphill to pass the oak tree on your left. Then bend left and right alongside the hedge, downhill, and then right and left past a shooting tower towards a green metal gate. Do not go through the gate, but veer left, to cross a stile leading to a grassy path.

Bend right to join a concrete drive, with parallel power lines. Soon, ignore a footpath sign to your left; instead make a sudden bend right, still on the concrete drive. The route is now straight and climbs gently. Just before Park Farm, bend right along the field edge around the farm buildings. At the field corner follow a small path diagonally left across the next field to a gap in the hedge and steps down into a small lane.

This lane should look familiar: the stile ahead is the only one crossed on the outward journey. If you are short of time then your best option is to follow the outward route back to the station. However, there is another pub just a few hundred yards away that is well worth a visit. Turn left around a bend in the lane, then bend right, and immediately after crossing the River Dun you will reach a pedestrian crossing over the railway. Take care crossing, this is a straight and fast part of the line. Continue up the small lane to reach the West Dean to East Dean Road, and on your left is the Old Brewers .

Old BrewersThe Old Brewers is an unusual pub. The original pub was an old thatched house, which was burnt down, allegedly by arsonists sometime in the 1960-70s to be replaced by a 'tin shack', which served as the pub. The tin shack was extended and extended, and grew to become the present building. It is now lavishly decorated with pictures, especially the toilets. The illustration is the patio area. The Old Brewers is listed by Stonehenge Brewery as one of their permanent outlets, when visited Pigswill was the beer on. Note that if intending to eat, evening meals are only Wednesdays to Saturdays with Sunday lunchtime roasts. Further info: tel: 01794 341596, website:
http://sp5.info/old_brewers

Now all you have to do is get back to West Dean station. Again there are two choices. Either retrace your way back over the railway and along Frenchmoor Lane to the stile, then across the vegetable field. Or turn left along the East Dean to West Dean Road. Unfortunately this road has no footpath, but it is a quiet road, and has a flat verge in places. Both routes are about a mile. I hope you enjoy the walk in this quiet Hampshire backwater, plus the train journey and of course the beer.

Maps: Maps are not absolutely necessary for this walk, the routes are fairly straightforward. However I always feel happier with a map; the relevant OS 1:25,000 Map is Explorer 131 Romsey, Andover & Test Valley. The walk is also covered by OS 1:50,000 Landranger sheet 184, Salisbury and The Plain.

Seasons: A walk for all seasons, except after heavy rain. In spring there are spring flowers, in summer the trees will not be overbearing, because much of the walk is in the open. Autumn colours may well make that the best time of all.

Distances: The outward walk is about 2½ miles, the walk back about 3 miles, plus an extra ½ mile to visit the Old Brewers.



Railway returns to Ringwood Hop Press index

Peter Simpson

A recent observation that the licensee of the Railway Hotel in Ringwood had asked about LocAle nomination was quite a surprise to me as it is a hostelry I had never been aware of, despite being a frequent traveller through the town.

There was no mention of it in the New Forest Pub Guide as the premises were closed during the guide's survey period. I could not even picture the location as the railway line disappeared long ago in the Beeching massacre.

Enquiries through a contact at Ringwood Brewery confirmed that the Railway is at the triple junction of Victoria Gardens, Euston Grove and Waterloo Way - clues enough to the long-gone branch line from Brockenhurst! Also, I found that this was a pub frequented by the brewery workers, being one of the nearest to their premises.

Railway HotelHaving been advised of the location I considered a visit was essential, especially as the beer was reputed to be of high quality and ever changing. A Sunday lunchtime visit did not disappoint as a competitively priced Sunday roast was served and four real ales were available. Sharps Cornish Coaster and Harvey's Sussex Bitter immediately brought a smile but these were only passing guests, as are all the ales.

The following day Keith Allen, the landlord and himself a CAMRA member, was expecting to sign a tenancy agreement with Admiral Taverns who, along with the SIBA direct delivery team, supplied all his ales. A quick discussion on the high level talks between CAMRA and government officials and the pressing need for at least one free of tie beer for every landlord assisted in his negotiations and he has had his wishes fulfilled. The dedicated handpump will be utilised for serving beers from our many 'local' breweries. Indeed, the new Totton micro, Vibrant Forest, had already arrived by my next visit.

The first decision by Keith, and Tricia his landlady wife, was to keep the pub open all day. This was not previously the case and may have contributed to the decline in custom. In the first months of their tenure Keith and Tricia have revitalised the pub with the basics of well kept beer, good value pub grub and much experience. The premises also boast the now rare arrangement of completely separate public bar and lounge.

In 2009, South West Trains and ATOC, the Association of Train Operating Companies, produced a report (Connecting Communities, June 2009) recommending rebuilding the line from Brockenhurst and re-establishing an hourly passenger service. They estimate that this would cost just £70m, take less than 5 years and is in their top ten most cost-effective schemes in the whole country. The Railway Hotel may yet welcome thirsty passengers stepping down in Ringwood. It is greatly to be hoped.



Competition Crossword Hop Press index

QUETZALCOATL   (printable pdf version here 30KB download)

Crossword Grid

Eight solutions are of a kind, hence lack definitions

Across
1. Fruity suggestion (6,3)
6. With a hundred views! (5)
9. "Debugged!" someone first cried (5)
10. A bar I once used is airless (9)
11. Explorer of hut left school finally (10)
12. Monarch, born a crook! (4)
14. 'Proto-Eve' is about on-line bungs (7)
15. She played, perhaps cricket? (7)
17. Danger in the salad bowl? (7)
19. Second sleeper (7)
20. Pillage an old canary (4)
22. Beautician's highlight (10)
25. The time (obviously) of responsibility (2,2,5)
26. Statesman of no small degrees (5)
27. Cheer, drug departed! (5)
28.  Set mark-up to give a good cut? (4,5)
Down
1. Central foam assists florists (5)
2. Current alien media mixed solvent (9)
3. Restrict goalie's movements? (10)
4. Nation in attempt to feature architectural delicacy (7)
5. Notoriously raucous show-off (7)
6. Israeli area (4)
7. Talk on state of Africa (5)
8. Heir (to a fortune clearly!) (9)
13. Columnar flutes no artist is creating (10)
14. Shade below edge of hat (9)
16. Belittle or a deeper act? (9)
18. Transplant surgeon, hard at work (7)
19. Grass reveals rough S and M 'play' (7)
21. Just, say (5)
23. Skill, can thousands hold it back? (5)
24.  Pretty small but detailed message (4)

Prizes to the first two correct entries drawn. Closing date: 31 st July 2012.

Send to:

The Editor, Hop Press, 1 Surbiton Road, Eastleigh, Hants. SO50 4HY


Issue 71 (October 2011) Solution & Winners

Crossword Answers

Eighteen entries for this edition. One correct one (post-marked Eastleigh) unfortunately was entirely anonymous and one other from a regular entrant had a single spelling slip so sixteen went into the hat.

Winners:
Mr David Chessman, Shirley, Southampton
Mr Trevor Crowther, Winchester

The other fourteen correct solutions were from:
Marian Bartlett Jocelyn Britcher
Vince Brockbank Rod Cross
Robert Elliott Roy Garraway
Liz Geear Keith Jones
John Green Stephen Harvey
Gary Morse Tim Parkinson
Ron Poole Harvey Saunders

 



Great British Beer Festival Hop Press index

Great British Beer Festival

After a number of years at west London's Earls Court exhibition centre, the Great British Beer Festival is returning this year to the nearby Olympia Hall. We have been displaced from Earls Court by some sporting events that seem to be taking place in London over August.

However, despite the attractions of the Olympics, we are still expecting to supply 800 different ales to over 50000 visitors during the five day event. This year the festival will run from Tuesday, August 7 th until Saturday, August 11th.

Our attendees' enjoyment will present a huge reproach to Heineken, the Games chosen beer supplier, for their decision to exclude cask beer from all Olympic venues.

Details of the festival are at: www.gbbf.org.uk



Keeping Sway Hop Press index

Peter Simpson

Following the controversial demise of the Forest Heath Hotel in the centre of Sway it could quite easily have been expected that village life would wither. However, in little more than a year a brand new free-house, the Silver Hind , has leapt into the social life of the village.

Silver HindThe retirement of Tony Barnfield, who ran the award-winning Nurses' Cottage Restaurant and Bed and Breakfast, enabled the premises to be purchased by Andy and Carol Cottingham and converted into the brand new pub/restaurant open to the entire community. The positioning of the new pub directly opposite the Forest Heath Hotel site almost derides the people responsible for that loss and change of use, as a phoenix contemplating its generative embers.

Andy is well known in the area and is very passionate about local real ales. The new bar contains three handpumps, one dispenses the almost obligatory Ringwood Best Bitter but the other two await the arrival of guest beers once the initial stock of complimentary Sharps Doom Bar and the selected Flack Manor Catcher have run their course.

The Silver Hind is open all day from 11 to 11 and welcomes children and pets. The food is locally sourced with Sway Goats' Cheese a notable component on the cheese board. The interior of the pub is mainly an oatmeal colour and with lots of light woodwork. Both dining and drinking areas are available to optimise the welcome to visitors. The pub's number is 01590 683900, a website is being constructed.

Although the Silver Hind, adjacent to Sway station, is the new social hub of the village, life is also being breathed into the other licensed premises nearby. The Gallery Restaurant and Bar has arrived following refurbishment of Sway Manor Hotel , a new drive for members is taking place at Sway Social Club , a real ale stockist, and the hugely successful Beer and Music Festival at the Hare and Hounds in Durnstown is set to be repeated again this year. In addition to the wonderfully diverse selection of ales supplied by Isle of Purbeck Brewery distribution division many real ciders were consumed during the inaugural festival.

Members of the Save the Forest Heath Hotel action group which was closely supported by CAMRA during last year's campaign have taken over the running of Sway News , a 44 page monthly publication covering all aspects of Sway life. They are also the driving force behind the developing Sway Parish Design Statement (SPDS), normally the remit of the Parish Council. Never again do they wish to lose their village pub.

At the centre of all this activity is the Silver Hind. As Andy Cottingham summed up when asked why he decided to invest in the freehold of his new venture, "I believe that every village should have two things, a pub and an idiot. I have provided both"



Hop Press Issue number 72. May 2012

Editor: Pat O'Neill
1 Surbiton Road
Eastleigh
Hants.
SO50 4HY
023 8064 2246
hop-press@shantscamra.org.uk

© CAMRA Ltd. 2012

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