Pub pedals by Miles Doughty
It was great to see lots of people out in the sunshine and to be joined by new pedallers to find out how another pub is surviving the pandemic. Gill and David’s mountain bikes were sparkling although it didn’t make the hill to Kings Sutton easier. Out of the village past the cemetery we detoured to Walton Grounds to check out the off-road trail through the ford. Saving the off-road until later we took the road to Adderbury on a road I had not cycled before past Katherine House Hospice to the Pickled Ploughman pub.
It was a bustling Sunday lunch but we were quickly taken to our seats by landlord Trevor wearing a fabulous patterned shirt in keeping with the wallpaper. We ordered Sharp’s Doom bar with it’s usual fruity, malty notes but were intrigued by the pump labelled “Invisible beer”, was this like the “free beer tomorrow” sign? Trevor explained that this was a donation to the neighbouring hospice that provides palliative care for adults with life-limiting conditions. Together with money raised by their shop and takeaway during lockdown the pub has a target to raise £6000, we obviously ordered a pint.
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I didn’t have to debate starter choosing the moules which were large and succulent with a nice creamy saucy with tasty sourdough to mop it up. Gill and David’s salt and pepper squid also looked very good and since it was Sunday we followed this with lovely soft roast pork with crispy crackling.
From the pub into the village we past three more pubs and a plethora of places of worship. The Church of St. Mary the Virgin being particularly magnificent with a prismatory apparently “worthy of a cathedral”. The road into Milton by another church and pub soon turned into our bridleway across fields then up a track to the mini-windmill. This one-third scale post mill at Bloxham Grove Farm was built in 1865 as a memorial to all windmills and in good order is worth a look. Joining the National Cycle Network Route 5 also took us past Bodicote mill on the way into the village and more pubs for a future visit. Taking the cycle path to the station and then the Causeway (by Spar) to Overthorpe is a good route between Banbury and Middleton provided you don’t mind the hill. It was enough to finish us off so hopefully we avoid it on the next pub pedal.
Route 15 – 16.9 miles https://www.maps.ie/map-my-route/viewMap.php?route=164389