Touring the Banburyshire pubs on a bike: The Roebuck Inn, Drayton
Pub pedals 19 by Miles Doughty
Not losing out in lockdown
With lockdown 2 started I did not expect to visit the last pubs on my list to find out how they were surviving the pandemic. However, with good weather Gerri fancied a cycle and whilst researching this column I discovered that one of the pubs was doing takeaway. So we headed off through Overthorpe to Banbury station then to Bodicote. From there you can take the Salt Way (Cycle Route 5) to North Newington or out past Wykeham Park Farm with the famous asparagus beds all grown into ferns to replenish themselves. There wasn’t any in the shop but it was good to see this open for click and collect. Gerri was not impressed by the hill up to the impressive Tudor Hall School but we were soon in Broughton. Passing the Saye and Sele, which was also open for takeaway and the castle grounds that was busy with walkers. We joined the Banbury Road before North Newington which you can also get to from the Saltway. On through Wroxton, past the beautiful St. Thomas of Canterbury church, the only thatched church in Oxfordshire that was actually only built in 1894.
In Drayton the 17th century Roebuck Inn with a steep pitched roof was probably once thatched until a fire. We were met outside by landlord Nick with our takeaway sausage and chips which, despite us being late, were perfect. Succulent, herby Cumberland sausages and crispy chips. Nick was glad to be suppling takeaway for the locals who he knows well after 15 years at the pub. It was one reason he got through the first lockdown. Suitably sustained, although missing a pint of beer, we continued to the Mineral Railway Path. The former Ironstone Railway used from 1917 to 1967 linked quarries near Wroxton to the Great Western railway near the former Alcan Factory that was important in WWII. With the Salt Way these are part of the 10 mile Banbury Fringe Walk that brought us out on the Southam Road. We followed the cycle path to the ring road then past Spiceball Park and through the industrial estate to Banbury Gateway. The old road to Chacombe of course meant a struggle up the hill home but at least we had been out and supported a local pub. Despite the weather I hope you still manage to get out and more from pub pedals next week.
Route 19 – 18.5 miles https://www.maps.ie/map-my-route/viewMap.php?route=168917