The Bloke from Hull writes...
Friends Maureen and David recently offered me the chance of a ride round some of the countryside pubs in the Barnsley CAMRA area. We agreed on a Sunday in late June prior to Le Tour. This meant that we were in for a treat as many of the hostelries had pushed the boat (or is it bicycle) out to welcome visitors to the area with fantastic tour decorations and equally amazing beers.
With the local Real Ale Guide in hand, our day began at around midday at the Rose and Crown at Hoylandswaine. Of the four cask ales available, Bradfield Blonde was chosen to refresh our palates after the ride from Leeds. A great start. We left just as the kitchen warmed up for the diners who had begun to arrive for lunch. Such a pity we had to go!
As we drove into Thurlstone it was clear we were now in Le Tour country as notices for camping and viewpoints began to appear on lamp posts and fences. The Huntsman pub even had a yellow bicycle suspended from its sign. I had read good things about this place in various pub guides and it certainly lived up to its billing as a great community local. Oak beams, friendly staff (and locals) were topped off with six Yorkshire beers (of which three were very local). Here we chose the Acorn Sur Votre Velo beer and all too soon we were, metaphorically at least, on our bikes to the next pub.
On reaching Millhouse Green The Blacksmiths Arms came into view. Although not on our list we decided to investigate due to the “Under New Ownership” sign. Our curiosity was rewarded by friendly staff, a pleasant interior (featuring several old photos of the building) and a pint of the Marston’s seasonal beer Fever Pitch. Well – we were still in the World Cup then!
The Foxhouse Inn at Hepworth was the next stop. Despite being an extremely popular destination for dining, we found a good spot close to the bar and were served straight away. A great feature was the pot of nuts that was included in the “three thirds” deal of different beers from the Two Roses Brewery.
Heading south to the Woodhead Pass in the Dark Peak District we were greeted by the fine sight of a giant yellow bicycle in the car park of the Dog and Partridge at Hazlehead. A photo opportunity if ever I saw one! We could not resist. Given the location, the pub was obviously geared up for accommodation and dining. However, we found an area opposite the bar to sit and have our pint of traditional bitter from Stancill Brewery.
We continued into the depths of Le Tour country soon arriving at Langsett where we found that the Waggon and Horses had been transformed into the Pedalers Arms. As it was on the route, the pub had got together with cycle clothing company Polaris Bikewear and students from Leeds Metropolitan University to re-imagine the pub to create a vintage cycling look both inside and out. For over a year a group had been knitting bunting to gradually cover the pub with brightly coloured hand knitted and crocheted triangles. Even the food menu holders had been sprocketized! We played our small part by drinking cycling beers from Timothy Taylor and Bradfield breweries. As we departed we could not help but admire the Bank View Cafe dressed as the “King of the Mountains” directly opposite. Another photo opportunity!
I had been told great things by a friend from Barnsley about Cubley Hall and this day was my opportunity to confirm that he was right. This multi-roomed former gentleman’s residence retains much of its charm and character with some fine interior architectural features. Despite being very much a large function venue majoring in dining, there is a comfortable bar area where three regular and one guest cask ale were on offer. We struck it lucky with a beer from a brewery I had never tried before - Long Man in East Sussex.
A short ride to Penistone led us to the newly reopened Spread Eagle following a year of closure. Four cask beers gave us plenty of choice while over at the Penistone British Legion we signed in for a pint of an appropriate cycling beer. The final call of the day was The Fountain at Ingbirchworth. As the heavens opened we sought shelter with a choice of beers from Ossett, Taylors and Pennine breweries.
As we made our way back to Leeds in the rain we were grateful that it had only arrived at the end of our grand tour around some great pubs, most of which had previously been merely names in books and magazines. Many were supporting Le Tour and were a great advert for God’s Own County for the event that was soon to come.