Touring the Banburyshire pubs on a bike: Rose and Crown and Hare and Hounds

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

Miles and his team on the route.
Miles and his team on the route.

Pub Pedals by Miles Doughty

Summer days are gorgeous for bike rides, although on the hottest August days on record I was happy to wait until evening.

This is the longest and first double pub visit to find out how lockdown had affected them. I was joined by Pete and Ben again, plus older brother Alex, who barely fitted his bike after growing 2 inches in lockdown! Out to Chacombe we took a new direction to Cropredy enjoying the summer smell of harvest and the quiet lane Claydon.

Rose and Crown and hare and hounds

The detour into the village was worth it for the lovely church with attached chapel. The former Sunrising Inn, opposite, is still identifiable by the Hunt and Edmunds plaque from the Banbury brewery which shut in the 1960s.

Back-tracking, we turned off to Chipping Warden. After a little push up the hill, we were soon pedalling past former RAF Chipping Warden, used in the Second World War to train bomber crews.

Entering Chipping Warden we passed through the HS2 works that have affected businesses, like the Rose and Crown, as we heard from co-owner Debs Perry.

However, business has restarted well, with the pub celebrating its first anniversary at the start of August with a barbecue and live music from singer Natalie Thurlow. During lockdown they kept in touch with locals using the HouseParty phone app and prepared for their return by ordering some excellent seating pods to help social distancing.

Map of the route.

I went for their only cask ale, Sharp’s Doom Bar and ordered a Mexican pizza from their simple pizza menu. The pizzas were perfectly cooked although I was slightly jealous of the vegetables on the country pizza.

Refuelled, we cycled back to Edgcote House we visited previously and onwards to the Hare and Hounds in Wardington that had reopened that day. The garden was beautifully decorated with fairy lights. Landlord Ton told us that he was glad he had waited before reopening and it was all very organised with the whole family with tasteful baseball cap visors at hand to welcome the locals. The pub is not doing food yet but I was tempted by ice cream although settled for a pint of old Hooky that was as good and easy drinking as ever. Very soon it started getting dark and blankets were brought out so we made a quick exit to get home in the light. The nights are definitely drawing in but that will not stop the mission to pedal to all the pubs within five miles of Middleton Cheney.