Touring the Banburyshire pubs on a bike: Going to Greatworth

In support of village pubs around the area after the pandemic Miles Doughty is touring them by bike. Here is his latest column

By Miles Doughty
Friday, 7th August 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Friday, 7th August 2020, 12:03 pm
Map of the route.
Map of the route.

Pub Pedals by Miles Doughty

Since there are quite a few I decided my bike deserved a service but it was touch and go whether it would be reconstructed in time or even work.

Joined again by Howard and Celia we also had her grandson, Anthony, who often cycles to Middleton from Banbury. So, for anyone doing this there is a link route.

Map of the route.

Setting off again to Thenford we continued past to Marston St Lawrence and into the village. Allegedly Ginger Spice owned one of the houses but we only found Marston House which had been owned for centuries by the Blencowe family. This included Anne Blencowe who was described as a 17th century Delia and wrote one of the first recipe or ‘receipt’ books with delights such as lemon syllabub, and, perhaps less appealing, horse dung water. I hope this ale with manure, treacle, ginger and aniseed wasn’t what put the village pub out of business about eight years ago.

Fortunately, at the Greatworth Inn the beer was far better with the landlord and owner John convincing me to try the Cotswold Pale Ale. Apparently developed for the beer-hating wife of Hook Norton Brewery owner she was won over by the light, crisp and citrusy taste of this golden ale. It certainly deserved its awards as did the darker red, malty Old Hooky that followed. John also told us about the building work completed during lockdown, which, although not yet open would allow room for social distancing since at present only really the garden was suitable.

Despite all this the pub had been a vital lifeline for the community providing takeaway food and beer as a well as produce from their suppliers. With 16kg sacks of flour they were able to keep the keenest bakers satisfied. Since there were no starters Celia and I went for the Thai fishcakes while the others had fish and chips. Perfectly cooked by landlady Margaret and served in boxes with disposable cutlery these were delicious with crispy, fat chips. There was even proper curry sauce, to Anthony’s delight. This was fortunate since our route was lengthened by the Welsh Lane (B4525) being closed for HS2 as well as taking the circuitous route via the Three Conies and Thenford. Fortunately, the bike worked throughout although a bit of gear adjustment is required before the next Pub Pedal.

Miles with Howard, Celia and her grandson Anthony.