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North Cotswold CAMRA Seasonal Pub Awards

North Cotswold Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale


            This branch started the Seasonal Pub awards in Winter 2016. This award is in addition to the annual pub of the year accolade. It is aimed at those pubs which are under new management, and have shown improvement of the beer range and quality or have raised the standards of their pub through new initiatives. The Quarterly award will be judged by the pubs officer and committee members on the recommendation of branch members. This page gives details of all the awards made so far, with the most recent at the top.




Autumn 2019 – Horse & Groom, Upper Oddington


  The Pub has recently been bought by Norman Liu and Warren Turner as their first venture into the licensing trade having lived and worked in London previously. They had owned a Holiday let in Moreton in Marsh through which they got the hospitality bug and they started the search for a pub to buy. They looked at premises all over the country before by chance Warren visited the Horse and Groom for some food with his mother who passed comment that it would be the ideal premises for them. A week later it came on the market and they took the plunge and bought it.


  Norman explained that he and Warren are keen real ale drinkers and to ensure they got things right with the Beer, as he lived in Chiswick he attended a Fullers cellar management course. They have also had a Cask Mark visit confirm things are running properly in the Cellar.


  The Branch was impressed with the quality and range of offering on the three hand pumps which includes Wye Valley Bitter and Butty Bach, Stroud Tom Long and Prescott Hill Climb. Norman wants to offer changing beers on two of the pumps and is busy tasting other local breweries offerings to be featured in the future. For Cider drinkers Dunkerton’s Black Fox and Craft Organic cider is also on offer.

North Cotswold Pubs Officer Martin Jones presents Norman Liu with the Autumn Seasonal Award whilst being watched by the pub dog Beaker.


Summer 2019 – Snowshill Arms


  North Cotswold Branch awarded its Summer Pub of the Year to the Snowshill Arms.


  The branch were impressed by this is a traditional Country Pub in the heart of the Village of Snowshill and its undoubted popularity as a summer destination. It is an unspoilt 15thCentury Inn owned by Donnington Brewery and run by sisters Izzy Barr and Jackie Spear. Serving an excellent pint of Donnington Beer is a good start but then the popularity of the pub is another challenge and the excellent customer service for the many walkers, tourists and regular customers who flock to the village in the summer is a credit to Izzy, Jackie and their staff.


  The sun trap of the terrace and the children’s play equipment in the garden make it an all-round summer pub worthy of our Seasonal award. The photo shows Izzy receiving the award.



Winter 2018/9 – Lion Inn, Winchcombe


  North Cotswold Branch have awarded their Winter Seasonal Pub of the Year for this winter to the Lion Inn in North Street Winchcombe. Members of the branch had visited the Lion over the Christmas period and also had good reports from local CAMRA members commenting on the excellent selection of beer and its quality.


   With local ales from North Cotswold and Prescott alongside Wye Valley and other guest ales the four hand pumps provide a good choice. The Lion is an old Coaching Inn dating the fifteenth century and retains its exposed oak beams and stone fireplace which makes very welcoming on a cold winters day.


  The Cellar and Bar in looked after by Tom Clancy supported the Pub Managers Luke and Nicola Buckle who have a background in running pubs with Wadworths. Congratulations to them for supporting local real ale and the warm welcome at the Lion. 

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Branch Chairman Roger Price awards the Winter POTY Certificate to Nicola Buckle of the Lion Inn



  Autumn 2018 – The Halfway House, Kineton


  The Halfway House at Kineton has been awarded the North Cotswold Branch Autumn Seasonal Pub of the Year.


  This Donnington House is run by Tania Marley and her team and is a classic rural pub set in a Cotswold Hamlet. It has been recognised for its improvement and innovation in offerings to its customers.


  The well-kept Donnington Ales have been supplemented with up to four real ciders and the Pub hosts several local community events. Tania is more than happy to let her locals take the limelight so pictured are two her regulars showing off the Seasonal Award.




Summer 2018 – Butcher’s Arms at Mickleton


  The Summer Pub of the Year was awarded to The Butchers Arms at Mickleton.


  Run by Colin Badham for the past 10 years with his family the Branch has noted a steady improvement in the Beer Quality and choice at The Butchers with a regular guest ale now served and this summer a Beer Festival was a great success for the Pub. A real locals Pub in the village they support 4 Skittles Teams, 2 Darts Teams, Dominoes, Poker, Football Team  and even an Air Gun Club in the Skittle Alley.


  With a very small cellar Colin has had to improvise to get all his barrels housed in it so has built some bespoke shelving to expand his range. They have been awarded a Cask Mark 5 Pint Rating for the quality of their Beer and Cellar management.


Pictured with their certificate are Landlord Colin Badham with his wife Michelle, Son Harry and Daughter Hazel


Spring 2018 – The Bell at Willersey


  The Bell at Willersey has been awarded North Cotswold Branch Spring Pub of the Year. Run by Sue Kearney and her daughter Louise the Bell was described as tired when they took it over four years ago. It was then serving John Smiths and Whitbread Flowers so they soon introduced Cask Ales and have never looked back.


  For Sue, the key features to a great pub are atmosphere, one that has something to offer to all, a place to meet with family and friends, to meet new people or to find a cosy corner where you can relax and read a good book whilst enjoying a good pint.


  Louise is offers a youthful, energetic and creative input to The Bell, introducing new exciting services, whilst serving as the backbone to the highly efficient team. Louise understands there are few pleasures that can beat savouring some real British Ale in a traditional pub and she expends very last effort to ensure that their range of Purity Ales and Guest Ales are served in top condition. They have recently been awarded their Cask Mark.


  The Branch were impressed by the great improvement in choice and quality of the Beer and Sue and Louise’s enthusiastic approach to making the Bell a great all round pub.




  Sue and Louise are pictured outside the Bell with Mr Twitcher one of the Cotswold Hare Trail art works that they sponsor so that he lives at the pub.


Winter 2018 – The Mousetrap, Bourton On The Water


  North Cotswold CAMRA seasonal pub winner for this winter is the Mousetrap in Bourton on the Water. Having undergone a major refurbishment last autumn it is under new management but its commitment to good real ale has not diminished. The new management team of Frank Fellows and Robert Tudgey have retained three hand pumps serving a staple form North Cotswold Brewery and then a variety of other local ales. Frank was keen to champion Real Ale, he said” I love the chance to serve local ale to our customers as we welcome locals, visitors and their families”


  The Branch had concerns that a major change at a Good Beer Guide regular could impact on its reputation for real Ale but did not have to worry as it became clear from the start that the new Mousetrap team were passionate about serving good beer. This we felt should be rewarded with our seasonal award for this winter as they provided an exceptional choice of ale over the Christmas and New Year period.   


Pictured are Mousetrap managers Robert Tudgey and Frank Fellows along with owner Mike Gascoine and North Cotswold Pubs Officer Martin Jones with the Seasonal Pub of the Year Award for this Winter.


Autumn 2017 – The White Hart, Winchcombe


   North Cotswold Branch of CAMRA has awarded its Autumn Seasonal Pub of the Year to the White Hart Inn, Winchcombe. Pictured is the Pub manager Gareth Stone with the Certificate awarded by the Branch.


  Gareth who selects the beer and looks after the cellar explained that they had bought out the beer tie from Enterprise 18 months ago and since than he has aimed to have at least two local beers including a Goffs from Winchcombe itself and another Gloucestershire Beer. Otter has proved very popular and he also tries to get a variety of guest ales for small breweries. Sharps Atlantic or Coaster is the national offering giving a good balance at the bar.


  The Branch was also impressed with a recent beer festival the pub had run and its friendly unfussy atmosphere and service. It was also nice to see some real cider on offer behind the bar.

Gareth Stone at The White Hart Winchcombex .jpg



Summer 2017 – The Seven Tuns, Chedworth


  The Severn Tuns in Chedworth was given the Summer 2017 Seasonal Pub Award. Landlady Liz Henty took on the pub two years ago after it had been shut for two years and was in a very sorry state. Having sold her business in France where she had been running restaurant’s for 25 years she was attracted to the Tuns as she had family living locally.


  It was a big task not helped with setbacks such as a fire destroying the kitchen last year. All is going well now and Liz wants the Seven Tuns to stay as a traditional Pub that does food.


  The Pub which has been at the centre of Chedworth since 1610 and was a Good Beer Guide premises before its recent decline. Now with an excellent selection on the bar with mainstays Hooky and Otter Amber complemented by TAP brewery Old Dairy Gold and Seven Tuns House Beer also from TAP. A regular guest beer is also featured form small breweries in the area.


  The Branch were particularly impressed by the knowledge and service provided by the staff who are form the local community so are interested in  making the pub a success.              

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Spring 2017 – The Coach & Horses, Longborough


  The Coach & Horses at Longborough was given the Spring 2017 Seasonal Pub Award. The village of Longborough is situated between Stow and Moreton. This Donnington Pub is run by Joe and Wendy McDonagh is at the heart of the village and they support many good causes locally. The branch was impressed by the continued high standard of the Donnington Ale and their commitment to the community.


  Joe and Wendy celebrate 25 years in the Pub trade this year having previously spent 10 years at the New Their connection with Donnington Brewery goes back further as they met at the Mount Inn at Stanton some 30 years ago Inn at Willersey, and before that at the Seagrave Arms at Weston Sub Edge.


  Their connection with Donnington Brewery goes back further as they met at the Mount Inn at Stanton some 30 years ago Joe recalls his early introduction to pubs as his father ran the White Lion in Winchcombe when he was a boy and how he would watch the usual weekend dust ups in the street outside at closing time!


  Their family are part of their team with Wendy and their daughter Anna ran the Coach initially in 2012 when they took the licence whilst Joe continued to run the New Inn before moving full time in 2015. Their son Luke can now be found in the Kitchen or behind the Bar serving its excellent pub food.           

Coach and Horses Award 1x.jpg



Winter 2016/7 – Great Western Arms, Blockley


 The Great Western Arms at Blockley was awarded the North Cotswold CAMRA branch winter Pub of the Year. This Hook Norton Pub was taken over by Steve and Mandy Aubrey last march after it had gone through a period of chequered stewardship leaving it struggling to fulfil the potential it no doubt had.


  The couple had bought the Plough at Stretton on Fosse just over the border in Shakespeare country three years ago and had enhanced this great village pub and been recognised by the local CAMRA branch. So when they took on the Great Western last March the North Cotswold Branch were keen to support them in the hope they could turn the pub around.


  Over the past year we have not been disappointed as they have given the Great Western a breath of fresh air making it the friendly vibrant premises it now is. The Hook Norton beer range is on offer and in excellent condition.  This was a particular labour of love for Steve whose parents had run the pub when he was a teenager. This was some years ago, the exact amount Steve was coy about  he said but it was when old boys queued outside on Sunday Lunch times for the 2 hours opening and Scampi and Chips was seen as posh dining!


   Report and Photo by Martin Jones       

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Autumn 2016 – The Royal Oak, Andoversford


  The Royal Oak in Andoversford was nominated to receive the Autumn 2016 Seasonal Pub Award. The pub has stood on the Gloucester Road in the village since 1867. The pub was extended after the Second World War when the adjoining barn was converted to become an unusual and attractive galleried eating area. Unfortunately in the recent past the premises has had a chequered history as a succession of tenants of Enterprise Inns struggled to make a success of the pub. It was a concern when it was closed for a protracted period in 2015.


  Thankfully along came the Brown family who bought the premises from Enterprise Inns and set about refurbishing and revitalising the pub. It was a real love affair for new owners Roger and Debbie who spent their first romantic meal together at the pub some 36 years ago! They live above the premises now with their son and daughter.


  Having run various businesses over the years including Shops, Filling stations and Oil Distribution they are new to the trade but have the support of all the family. Their son Phillip is head chef having previously run a three rosette restaurant. Daughter Sammy and Phillips partner Devon are at front of house.



Royal Oak Roger and Debbie Brown

 Roger has worked hard with his beer selection over the past 12 months experimenting with local breweries alongside established brands. North Cotswold CAMRA branch have rewarded the pub for the huge effort and investment the Brown family have made in resurrecting this popular local and the improvement in beer quality this has brought. During a recent visit we met with locals at the bar who were over the moon that they had their pub open again and offering good beer, great food and the reassurance that it is run by people who are passionate about he premises.   


Pictured Roger and Debbie Brown receiving Autumn Pub of the Year award.                        




Summer 2016 – The Bell Inn, Moreton


  The North Cotswold branch is pleased to award the Bell Inn on Moreton in Marsh high street as its summer season pub of the year. The Bell was in poor shape two years ago with the doors locked by Enterprise Inns and had an uncertain future. Along came John and Deborah Longbottom who took it on the lease and have turned the pub around.


  John had been in the leisure trade for 30 years cutting his teeth working in bars on Eastbourne and Blackpool Piers. “You learn quickly when the punters are 5 deep at the bar and queuing out the door and down the seafront” John recalls. With Deborah coming from an accounting background they had always wanted to run an Inn and spent a couple of years researching different areas of the country before they decided settle in the North Cotswolds.


Team Bellx .jpg

  It was then just waiting for the right place so when the Bell came up they visited and realised the potential straight away. “In fairness to enterprise they agreed to some refurbishment which we liked so we took the plunge” explains John “we received such a warm welcome from the local Moreton community we knew we had made the right move”. John wanted to ensure he got the balance of his beers right and in good condition. Working within the parameters that enterprise allows he has got national favourite Timothy Taylor which as a proud Yorkshireman was a must alongside local favourites from Prescott and Hook Norton. It took a while to get the balance right and he is always looking to improve his knowledge having done a cellar course with Hook Norton and recently a day on a course run by brewing legend Ed Theakston.


  John is keen to recognise his team at the pub who have learnt about the beer and offer customer’s tasters and advice before they choose a drink. This was recognised as a key by the branch in securing the award along with the evident support from the locals who are enjoying the live music nights and the fill the sunny courtyard and garden.                                     



Spring 2016 – Inn at Fossebridge


  This second seasonal award, the Spring winner 2016, was presented to the Inn at Fossebridge which has been purchased by Dee Ludlow and her partner Geoff Collins in 2015 who have taken it to enhanced levels serving a wider range of great beer and fine food. Regular offerings from Wadworth are supplemented by three local brewers. Feedback from locals and evidence on visits by Branch members have shown that the welcome, atmosphere and much improved beer quality make them a worthy winner.




  The landmark Inn at Fossebridge has been sold for the £1.85 million freehold asking price to hospitality veteran Dee Ludlow. The elegant and highly successful business occupies a fabulous riverside location on the A429 Fosse Way between Cirencester and Bourton-on-the-Water in the heart of one of the UK’s most popular visitor destinations. New owners are hospitality sector veteran Dee Ludlow and her partner Geoff Collins.




  Dee began her career with the prestigious Metropole group in London, Brighton and Birmingham and was General Manager of The Chelsea Hotel in Knightsbridge, The Londonderry on Park Lane and The Cavendish, St James’ in Piccadilly before running Hintlesham Hall Hotel in Suffolk for ten years. Dee said of her first venture into the West Country: “We will be focusing on casual dining presenting a range of familiar dishes to the highest possible standards. “A new kitchen team has been brought in to ensure guests enjoy a genuinely memorable dining experience.” Dee went on: “We were able to take over the reins five weeks earlier than planned thanks to an informal agreement with the previous owner and this has enabled us to really hit the ground running.”


  Colliers International hotels director Peter Brunt, who sold the property, said: “The Inn at Fossebridge is well respected across the region as a profitable business and there is considerable scope for further development. If your tastes run to roaring fires, Cotswold stone and unique lakeside views the Inn at Fossebridge should be on your must-do list.” A finalist in the Taste of Gloucestershire Food & Farming Awards in the Best Pub Food category, the Inn has a proud history stretching back 300 years. Ideally situated on one of the main visitor routes through the Cotswolds, the inn is ideally situated to explore Cirencester, Burford and Stow-on-the-Wold – which are all within 12 miles. The inn is also within comfortable driving distance of London.




  Winter 2015/6 - Bakers Arms, Broad Campden


  This first award was presented to the Bakers Arms at Broad Campden which has recently been taken over by Dave and Michelle Hirst who have taken it back to basics serving great beer and home cooked food. Staples on the bar are Wye Valley HPA, Stanway Bitter, Wickwar BOB and North Cotswold Windrush with a regular guest beer on the fifth pump. Feedback from locals and evidence on visits by Branch members have shown that the welcome, atmosphere and beer quality make them a worthy winner.


The photo shows the licensees Dave and Michelle holding the award certificate. Report by Martin Jones



Dave and Michelle Bakers Arms