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Showing posts from July, 2015

Norfolk and Good!

Here's a word to the wise: if you go to Norfolk expecting any place with a suffix of 'next-the-sea' to be actually close to it, think again. I went to three examples, Holme, Wells and Cley, and none of them are what could be described as being beside it. They all have their attractions - Cley has its windmill (owned by singer James Blunt's family for many years), Wells has the bustle of its harbour beside the river and a great friendly pub in the Crown Hotel, and Holme is a sleepy village with one of those huge churches which seems to be obligatory for all the villages around these parts.

So why the names? Well, originally they were by the sea but over time the coastline has changed significantly as the relentless North Sea waves have shifted the sands around and many former rivers and lagoons have become silted up, creating extensive areas of salt marsh. These are a haven for many species of birds, which in turn brings in masses of twitching and tweeting, binocular-wea…

Star Attraction

One of my favourite pubs in Huddersfield is The Star, at the bottom of Chapel Hill, at Folly Hall, on the way to Lockwood.

Very much a local's pub, with a loyal band of regulars, it hosts a beer festival 3 times a year, where you can come across a lot of new beers for the first time.

Yesterday was the Summer Festival, I called in with my mate Harry, and Dave and Joanne who we'd bumped into at the nearby Rat and Ratchet and who accepted our invitation to venture down the road.

Most of the beer is out the back, in what is basically a permanent marquee, with a bank of hand pumps as far as the eye can see. Dave and Joanne seemed to enjoy themselves, although Joanne - not a real ale drinker - had to resort to the main bar for a pint of lager in the end!

What I like about The Star is that it just shuffles along to its own beat. Always closed on a Monday, it has carried on quietly for years in its own world. Whilst always featuring beers from the very local Mallinsons brewery, it has had…

A Calder Valley Ale Trail - UPDATED July 2019

You will probably have heard about the Rail Ale Trail, which heads through the Pennines from Dewsbury through Huddersfield to Stalybridge. Originally made famous by Oz Clarke and James May on a TV drinking trip around Britain a few years ago, it reached saturation point on weekends to such an extent that lager and shorts were banned by some pubs and plastic glasses introduced to the hordes of stag dos, hen parties, and fancy-dressed revellers that invaded the trans-pennine towns and villages. There are some great pubs en route but you venture to them on a summer Saturday at your peril.

However, only a few miles away to the north, there is another trail possible which takes in some great pubs and travels through some lovely countryside via the Calder Valley. Not only can it be done by train, but because the canal runs close by for the full journey, it is possible to visit a load more places by doing some of the journey on foot, or you can get to all these places by bus, but please keep …