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Pub Walk (9) Saturday 21st March 2009, from the North Cotswold Brewery

North Cotswold Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale

 

Eight members and friends of North Cotswold Branch of CAMRA met up at North Cotswold Brewery at Ditchford Farm on Saturday 21st March for the ninth walk, the third of 2009, Two of our cycling section Peter and Nicky turned out for this event cycling to the start from Moreton in Marsh via the back lanes turning up at the Brewery ahead of the motorists. We were also pleased to welcome Patrick Phair and John Barrett from Gloucestershire Branch venturing out for the walk and the brewery visit.

 

Jon Pilling, Brewer and owner of the 10bbl Brewery based in premises on the Ditchford Farm Estate is also a keen walker so was familiar with the various local walking routes. In glorious spring weather we headed South West from the Farm turning South at the cottages at the end of the track. Heading up the slope to a hill top with magnificent views and then descended to the medieval village of Ditchford Friary where Jon pointed out his Landlordís superb house. A pause to check the route since our local guide seemed unsure. We fortunately had two extra map readers in John Barrett (Photo 1) and Patrick and we headed West for a short distance before turning South on a poorly marked footpath (Photo 2) before crossing Knee Brook and onto a clearer footpath emerging at Todenham for a sweep to the south and a great view of Todenham Church (Photo 3) and some local new born lambs. Ahead of time we waited on the front terrace of the Farrierís Arms (Photo 4) before Landlady Louise Kirkwood let us in to this excellent Good Pub Guide Free House.

 

Three local Real Ales on offer- Hooky Bitter, Battledown Sunbeam and North Cotswold Pig Brook. Branch Chairman Roger Price presented the LocAle pump clips to Louise (Photo 5) and Lunch was taken in the sheltered garden and patio, a glorious South facing sun trap behind the pub.

 

Reluctantly we moved on and headed North East for half a mile before taking a left turn towards Todenham Manor. A sheltered bridleway to the North took us back over Knee Brook via a striking two arch stone bridge (Photo 6), ignoring the adjacent alternate deep ford. A small stray local dog accompanied us on this stretch of the walk so we followed him before traversing the only muddy section of the walk and then turned West at a meeting of paths near Horseleys Farm. Walking past two fields a clear footpath to the North appeared which took us back to Ditchford Farm past Jonís Reed bed water purification facility.

 

Jon ran through the process and after a short brewery tour we re-grouped in the visitor centre and shop where Jon served excellent Honey Stout and Cockles of your Heart. A pump clip titled Isambard Kingdom Brown Ale gave a sneak preview of one of the real ales planned for the GWR Steam and Ale Weekend on 6/7th June. Thanks to Jon for hosting this Walk and Brewery visit and for the refreshment. The cyclists made it back, but this time they were unable to outpace the car drivers due to the extra beer weight on-board.

 

All agreed this was an excellent little known walk in glorious quiet countryside concluding with a visit around a most innovative brewery.

 

For further Brewery Information please select this link.

 

Our next Walk is on Saturday 4th April starting from the Craven Arms, at Brockhampton. Meet in the pub car park at 1030hrs for a circular sweep to the south around the superb Brockhampton Valley and back for lunch at 1230 hrs

 

Report & Photos by Roger Price

 

Tel 01451 810305

Mob 07850 429630

 

Pictures taken on the walk:

 

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Photo 1

Photo 2

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Photo 3

Photo 4

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Photo 5

Photo 6