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Issue 70 – May 2011

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EDITORIAL Hop Press index

CAMRA celebrating 40 years of campaigningThis edition's Editorial is headed up by a new logo we are proud to display. 2011 is CAMRA's fortieth birthday, we are entering middle age! When the four founders of the Campaign, so disillusioned by the beer being offered in the early seventies, light-heartedly formed a group of their friends into the 'Campaign for the Revitalisation of Ale' there is no possibility that they could have dreamt what it would become. After a rapid renaming to the less tongue-twisting Campaign for Real Ale we have grown into what is now a significant political force. With a membership of 120,000 consumers, CAMRA's views carry weight in the boardrooms of breweries and in the corridors of Whitehall.

For years our flagship publication, the Good Beer Guide has been in head-to-head competition with that rival publication the Good Pub Guide. Look out for the Pub Guide to get ever more glossy and sumptuous since they have, we are informed, succumbed to the wiles of Mammon. For £200 a licensee can now write his own (presumably rather glowing) description of his pub and have it presented in the book as an objective comment.

Presumably this flow of many thousands more income will be used by publishers Ebury not only to line their pockets but also to try to make their guide a more attractive looking vehicle. Do not be fooled. From information gleaned from some local landlords of excellent pubs, many are refusing to go along with the demands for cash. At a stroke the Good Pub Guide has lost whatever credibility it had although unwitting purchasers will no doubt have to search some pretty fine print to find any mention of this change emphasis.

This provides our own Good Beer Guide with a wonderful boost. We are now the only objective guide to both the beer and the pubs it is sold in! So much so in fact that we even occasionally include pubs with superb beer against the wishes of their licensees. The 2012 edition will be published in October, look out for it.

Whilst on the subject of money I suppose we should comment on the depressing subject of the recent budget. It was of course entirely predictable - another body blow to the community pub. How much more punishment landlords can take without throwing in the towel is hard to see. There is only one nation amongst the EU's 27 that is now marginally more taxed than Great Britain (Finland). There is not much to be gained by further protestations here, this Government is clearly deaf to the wishes of the sensible pub goer but just one point should be reiterated: Why persist in mendacious comments such as ". beer will go up by 4p." - as we all know this must be multiplied by the mark-up to translate, for the beer drinker, into 10p at the bar. If we cannot have justice in the next budget let us at least have some simple honesty.

The creation of the new national park in the area of the New Forest has given CAMRA's Southern Hampshire branch the impetus to enter the publishing business themselves. For some months past branch members have been researching every licensed outlet - pub, hotel or bar - within the national park to produce the New Forest Pub Guide.

This handy pocket book will contain full details of some 200 outlets within the national park. In full colour throughout each one is illustrated and has a full description of its character, ambience and of course its beers. A comprehensive map section helps locate each one although the modern user is also provided with their coordinates to enter into a satellite navigator.

Other sections give details of the local breweries, the art of brewing and some history of the Forest and its ways. Although it might be considered as primarily intended for the New Forest visitor and tourist it is also undoubtedly the essential reference work for the resident as well.

This guide is currently being typeset and is due for publication in July at a cover price of £5.99. If you are interested in getting a copy please just email a short note to us and we will let you know as soon as they become available.

CAMRA congratulates Martin Horwood MP after the Tied Public Houses (Code of Practice) Bill , a '10 minute rule' Bill, passed its first reading with unanimous support on March 10 th , its next reading and full debate is set for mid-June.

Martin Horwood MP said:

'Tied licensees are being strangled by high rent and high beer prices, and small businesses are subsequently going bust and pubs are closing. Such losses have a devastating impact on community life, and it's about time tied licensees were given greater flexibility in this difficult economic climate. Pub companies have been dragging their feet over the beer tie issue since a Trade and Industry Committee report in 2004, showing simply that voluntary reform is not working.'

'Progress by the large pub companies has been limited so far and the voluntary approach appears to be failing. Whilst companies have introduced new codes of practice these codes are seeking to do as little as possible and do not offer the free of tie options and guest beer rights urged by the Business Select Committee and Government.'

Jonathan Mail, CAMRA's Head of Public Affairs, said, in anticipation of the Bill's next reading:

'Strong cross party support for this potentially groundbreaking Bill shows that CAMRA's beer tie campaigning is having an impact and bringing the issue to the fore. If large pub companies fail to reform their business practices, CAMRA fully endorses Government intervention to ensure large pub company lease conditions are improved for tied publicans, and to ensure the consumer benefits from increased choice, quality and value at the bar.'

The Far Marches Hop Press index

Pete Simpson

The Southern Hampshire Branch of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has its membership predominantly based in the city of Southampton and the surrounding Eastleigh and Winchester areas. We are more tenuous in the New Forest and even more so towards its northern edge. Yet our branch area extends north-westwards to the Dorset and Wiltshire borders.

In a bid to recognize this somewhat over-looked region here are some thoroughly splendid pubs out on those north-western boundaries.

Cartwheel pubThe village of Whitsbury straggles along an unclassified road that meanders unhurriedly from Fordingbridge towards Salisbury; the village has but one pub, the Cartwheel. The pub is owned by Ringwood brewery (now, of course, themselves owned by Marstons) and has been greatly renovated by them in recent years. Not originally built as a pub it has been at various times a barn, some cottages, a bakery and a wheelrights - possibly giving rise to the name when it became a pub in 1860.

The Inn has been run for the past year by Steve and Tanya who have accumulated a wealth of pub experience in houses all around the Ringwood and Devizes areas - including, amongst others, the Red Shoot, the High Corner and North Gorley's Royal Oak.

As a Ringwood house the pub features a good range of the Ringwood beers complemented by other beers from the Marstons range and there is a very extensive menu to suit all tastes. There is a monthly quiz, on the first Wednesday, frequent weekend music nights and a variety of other events make the Cartwheel an indispensible village asset.

West of Whitsbury the village of Rockbourne straggles in a very similar way along another road that seems to lead to next to nowhere. Again a single pub enlivens the life of the village, the Rose and Thistle.

The chalk cob, thatched, Rose and Thistle in this attractive village is rapidly growing in stature since being taken over by Kerry Dutton. Previously in the computer industry in East London, a search for pastures new within two hours of the capital saw her arrive and quickly breathe fresh life into the stagnant village pub with her dedication and personality.

Real ale was already sold in the pub in the form of Palmers Copper Ale and Fullers London Pride which had a strong following.

Rose & Thistle barKerry immediately also introduced her favourite beer, Timothy Taylor Landlord, to give a sustainable range of strengths and beer colours on the bar. Not long after, real cider was introduced and drink sales rocketed.

Not one for being complacent, the beer quality was deemed to require further improvement and the cellar and lines were completely renewed such that a Cask Marque quality accreditation was achieved.

The core trade of the pub consists of the resident country gentlefolk but in the summer months the local cricket team pack the premises after close of play. Numbers are also swelled by cyclists, walkers and visitors to the nearby Rockbourne Roman Villa remains and visitor centre.

This increase in summer activity, supplemented by the annual anniversary party (of Kerry's arrival) on the second Bank Holiday Sunday in May, enables investment into the guest beer market. Several local breweries within 20 miles of the pub are used to give an added range of styles and tastes.

Limiting the number of beers to a level reflecting attainable consumption ensures all are kept in tip-top condition and has led to a deserved short-listing for the CAMRA Good Beer Guide in 2012.

Some weeks before Christmas 2010 a vehicle failed to negotiate the bulging wall in the narrow car park entrance properly and a chunk was knocked off.

This led to the discovery of rot in the ancient structure and the consequent insurance dilemmas. As a Grade 2 listed building the wall had to be replaced in the original material. There are few, if any, cob chalk wall components in your average builder's yards so special sourcing had to be investigated and the work continues. To add insult to injury the pub boiler packed up during the exceptionally cold snap over this last winter time.

Rose & Thistle pubDo not be put off by the thought of cold though. The pub has two traditional open fires, one in the bar and one in the restaurant area. A placing in the top ten 'British real fire pubs' has been achieved in yet another guide.

The menu is almost entirely created from locally sourced products with particular pride taken in the Steak and Kidney and Belly Pork dishes and home-made sorbets. Game and fish in season are also popular in this country sport location. There is no pretence that the fare is cheap but it is certainly value for money considering the quality of ingredients and originality of the unrestrained chef. Note there is no food served Sunday evenings and the closing time is 8pm on winter Sundays.

A further talking point is the collection of humorous, framed Simon Drew animal caricatures which adorn the restaurant area. These are guaranteed to raise a smile on every visit. The well cared for front garden is enclosed with a low hedge next to the road and smokers are accommodated under a large umbrella.

The locals, although mainly well heeled, are welcoming to all thus making this pub a shining example to the many cash starved and neglected establishments which are shaming our national drinking heritage. You will not find a regular local bus service passing the pub but a good walk in daylight hours taken with care from Fordingbridge, Breamore or even Coombe Bissett will be well worth the effort. You are allowed to drive but please mind the wall!

Slightly west again we arrive at the next village - Damerham, on the B3078 from Fordingbridge to Cranbourne Chase. Here again the village has a single pub, the Compasses.

Compasses, Damerham pubThe Compasses has been an inn for four centuries, for many of them self-sufficient with its own brewery (remnants of which can still be seen), dairy, butchery and coaching stables. It is still a true inn offering high quality accommodation to visitors in six en-suite bedrooms and two self-catering chalets in the pub's grounds that can accommodate whole families.

The Compasses features four real ales, Ringwood Best is always on and the other three are varying guests from both local small brewers and sometimes from regionals further afield.

The menu is extensive and available every day, it is sourced locally wherever possible and is all home prepared. A feature is the range of twelve locally made cheeses from the surrounding counties.

As with the other houses in this article, the Compasses is the centre of village activity, the last Sunday of each month is a quiz session and Monday nights have a sporting tinge with free pool sessions. There are themed events for every possible national day or every excuse for a celebration.

These three fine pubs are the only hostelries in an area of over 25 square kilometres of some of the most beautiful countryside in the land. With an abstaining driver it is hard to imagine a pleasanter way to pass a summer day than to tour them, perhaps with a cultural diversion to take in the Roman villa as well.




Pub News Hop Press index

Rob Whatley


Following the refusal of New Forest planners to allow a Wetherspoon branch to open in Lymington local residents obtained more than 1,000 names on a petition supporting the idea. In February Wetherspoon held an open day on the site, the former retail outlet C Ford & Co in St Thomas Street. There was no appeal against the original refusal but new plans have been drawn up in an attempt to overcome the objections that led to the refusal. The original licensing hours will be reviewed and windows facing the adjacent church will be screened. Part of the garden to the rear of the premises would be maintained as a nature reserve. A Wetherspoon's spokesman said that the company already had pubs next to churches in Horsham and Dover and also next to Chichester Cathedral and there had never been any problems. The revised plans have not been submitted at the time of writing.

Just down the road, an application for some minor structural alterations at the Angel Hotel has been granted and an application for new signage is awaiting a decision by planners.


Marstons have been granted permission for new signage at another of their New Forest hotels, the Original White Hart in Ringwood.


Staying with Marstons, the Red Lion , Boldre has won the company's 'Food Pub of the Year' for the south.


Returning to the theme of our lead story, despite many objections, the Forest Tea House in Burley was granted a licence to sell alcohol between 7am and 7pm. Villagers have vowed to monitor the premises and some of the objectors expressed surprise at the outcome given the rejection of the Wetherspoon in Lymington. A spokesman for the Forest Tea House claimed that the majority of customers are over the age of 60 and that it was "not going to become a bordello of vice."

Also in the village, an application for new signage at the Burley Inn was only partially granted and an appeal has been made.


One pub that won't be selling pints any more is the Grade II listed Forest Heath in Sway. There was a well run campaign to retain the building as a pub, which included a meeting attended by more than 200 people and it had the support of the parish council. Despite the many objections, New Forest National Park Authority gave permission for an application to convert the pub into five flats and a café and build two semi-detached houses on the adjoining land.

Beaulieu Road

Not a new pub but a new name has appeared at Beaulieu Road. The Beaulieu Road Inn has been renamed the Drift Inn.


After the fire that destroyed much of the Red Lion in Totton, the remains of the building have now been demolished with the pub sign the sole indication of what was once there. The future of the site is unclear, as is the cause of the fire. The name of the pub has continued to appear in the pages of the local press at regular intervals as the result of various court cases involving the licensee of the pub at the time it closed.

Better news is that the nearby Elephant and Castle , which had been closed for almost a year, reopened in December. The first pint was pulled by former Saints full back Bob McCarthy, whose aunt and uncle used to run the pub. It is now being run by Nick Cremin and his niece Lucy Brown. Relations Denis Cremin and Georgie Brown run the nearby Saxon Inn.

Planning permission has been granted for a revamp of the Testwood in Salisbury Road. The changes will include a new outdoor dining area, alterations to the entrance and new external lighting.


More good news from Eling as the Anchor has reopened following refurbishment after a lengthy period of closure. The Village Bells also has new licensees, Tess and Andy Ashley who at one time ran the Croft , mentioned below.


Continuing on the Waterside, two applications for buildings on pub grounds have been rejected. Plans to build 15 flats on land to the rear of the Croft Tavern were turned down on appeal and an extension to the Heath Hotel that would have seen a 25 room Premier Inn added has also been rejected as being out of keeping with surrounding area. A 24 bed hotel that was at one time featured in the Good Beer Guide, the Fountain Court , has been purchased by a London based family after being under the same ownership for 25 years.


There may well be a new hotel and retail units on the site of a former bar in Eastleigh. Earth Bar and Club closed three years ago and was subsequently demolished. Previously permission had been granted for 63 flats on the site but building work was never started. The site is owned by the Council.

Another former pub in the town was in the news late last year when fire broke out in the closed Mija (one time Lucky Jims ) in Leigh Road. The small blaze occurred at lunchtime when the town was busy with shoppers. There was a suggestion that, given the number of onlookers, this was more attention than the bar ever had when it was open. Currently there is building work going on within, to what ends we do not yet know.

Another long closed pub site in the town's High Street has reopened. JKS Winebar occupies the site that was previously Bar 101 and before that Porter Blacks. It is owned by brothers Nick and Sean Patterson. The name comes from the initials of Nick's children, Joshua, Kyra and Shannon. Real ales, usually from the Marston's stable, are served from dummy cask fronts mounted behind the bar. Just a few doors away yet another outlet, the Artisan Coffee House and Bar has just opened, no details as yet.

An application for a licence for a new Harvester in the Swan Centre has been submitted by chain operators Mitchells and Butlers.


To the south of the borough, the Prince Consort at Netley had undergone an extensive refurbishment and is now run by Pepe Solis and his wife Karen.


Moving towards the city, the Plough Inn in Portsmouth Road, Bursledon closed for two weeks for a £310,000 refurbishment of its restaurant. It was due to reopen on Saturday, April 23 with a fun day. In Old Bursledon Greene King's Vine has changed hands and the beer service has reverted from direct from the cask back to handpumps.


Moving to Southampton, the Honest Lawyer in Lodge Road is now called Lime Bar. Unfortunately no real ales were on offer when Hop Press visited. We mentioned in the last Pub News that there was to be a new bar in Shirley Road run by the same company who run the Trago Lounge in Portswood. The new bar is to be called Santo Lounge but it is not clear how long it will be before it opens. Not far away new homes have been built on the land at the back of the Duchess of Wellington. Conditional approval has also been granted to convert the pub itself into a four bedroomed house. The pub had been closed for a couple of weeks at the time of writing.

Sadly this is one of a number of city pubs that are currently closed. The Bullseye in Butts Road was sold by Enterprise Inns to a development company and is currently boarded up. The same is true of the Percy Arms in Commercial Street. We mentioned in the last Pub News that the St Denys Hotel had closed. An application was submitted to convert the building into flats but it was rejected for over development and lack of parking. The Shirley Hotel was also sold to a local property investor at around the same time as the St Denys and the Percy Arms were sold but it is currently still trading. The Obelisk in Woolston closed suddenly and its future is under review by owners Enterprise Inns.

We mentioned in a previous edition that the Winning Post in Peartree Avenue is now home to a convenience store. The rest of the building has been converted to flats, one of which was advertised for sale at £117,500 earlier in the year. This indicates why developers are so keen to get their hands on pub sites. At another pub turned convenience store, the Eagle in Palmerston Road, retrospective planning permission for changes that were made to the building was refused. In the same road, the Lord Palmerston , which has been boarded up for many months, looks likely to be replaced by a three storey block of flats.

Shotz bar, on the corner of St Mary Street and Onslow Road was badly damaged by fire in February. It has remained shut since the fire. There is much better news further down Onslow Road as a new application for a licence under a new name of The Rockstone has been submitted for the Bevois Castle , which has been shut for more than a year.

Strangely, at a time when many pubs and bars are closing, one of the suggested uses put forward for the Grade I listed Wool House Museum, which has been put up for sale by the city council, is for it to become a bar. As a final pleasant observation , we notice that the Platform Tavern has concluded that the future lies with real ale and has replaced a lager font with a fifth handpump - well done.


Also reopened, after refurbishment, is the Three Tuns in Romsey. The new owner is Mark Dodd, who is part of the team who run the Chesil Rectory in Winchester. There are also new licensees at the Tavern in The Hundred. Iain Holloway, who previously worked on the door of the pub at weekends, is now running the pub alongside his partner Tracey Hall, who has previously served behind the bar.


There was a short closure for the Wheatsheaf in Braishfield before it reopened after refurbishment. Previous licensees Peter and Jenny Jones left last summer and in the autumn new landlord, Carl Pearce came in and put in Matthew Meadus to manage the pub.


Continuing north, The Greyhound in Broughton has been ranked as one of the best three Italian (!) pubs in the UK.


The Cricketers in Easton reopened in December. New licensees Lyn and Pat Chesters spent 20 years in Australia and New Zealand but Lyn is originally from Kings Worthy. They were the fifth licensees of the pub in the last four years but unfortunately they have now left the pub. They put £30,000 of their own money into the pub but were unable to make the business viable. Let's hope that some of the other closed pubs that we mention are open again by the time this edition of Hop Press is published.


When developers are submitting plans to build housing on the site of closed pubs it is often claimed that the pub in question is no longer viable. This was certainly the case at the Bugle Inn , Twyford, which was closed for four years. Locals ran a successful campaign to keep the building as a pub and now it is thriving. A recent customer was chef Marco Pierre White, who was impressed with the pub and chose it as a outlet for a new beer that he is producing.


The future of the Heart in Hand in Bar End Road has been uncertain for some time but it is now set to be demolished after planners gave the go ahead for nine homes on the site. The New Queens Head in Stanmore is under a similar threat but locals have launched a campaign to save the pub. Ironically, where the nearby Stanmore Hotel was closed to make way for a nursing home, one of the arguments used was that pub goers could use the New Queens Head instead.

Another business up sale is the Albion, close to the station. John Sweeney is selling the lease in order to concentrate on the bed and breakfast business at his other pub, the First In Last Out in Wales Street.

Another city licensee starting a new business is David Nicholson. He already runs the Black Boy and the nearby Black Rat restaurant and has now been granted permission to open the Black Bottle wine bar in Bridge Street.

Late last year a Winchester pub featured in a court case in the city. Wetherspoon pubs, in addition to their wide selection of real ales, are also known for having competitive prices. However, one day last year customers were offered the chance of a free drink. After robbing Barclays bank of over £1,600 Christopher Allnut walked to the nearby, ironically named, Old Gaol House and threw most of the money into the air telling customers, "The drinks are on me." The judge imposed an indefinite hospital order on the offender.

Competition Crossword Hop Press index

QUETZALCOATL   (printable pdf version here 30KB download)

Crossword Grid

9. Jumping on early bus, nigh falling (9)
10. Yoga seen as a natural choice (5)
11. Fails! The Pole in charge knows (7)
12. Here Flo' sliced into eastern dress (7)
13. Seawrack, at first no one resists it (4)
14. With time a state gets a record back for sugar or tea perhaps (10)
16. Blow whistle before checkmate (7)
17. Succeed at rap - live performance (7)
19. Long for a very soft lad to deliver bombshells! (10)
22. Temptress unknown at the time (4)
24. Talk avidly of Zeppelins (7)
25. Tenuous vanishing point (4,3)
26. Head off gloomily to card game (5)
27. Unfenced with fewer knots (9)
1. Coaching bird ended in 1914 (9,6)
2. Old boys are healed in the dark (8)
3. Pale lady in an insertion (5)
4. Ease face ache: slap evil mixture on! (3,5)
5. Encourages morning preparation (4,2)
6. Soaked full around about a pothole (9)
7. South African association of bible lessons with a wild voyage (6)
8. Country beer unknown to the hacks in the bus (8,7)
15. Shelled vehicle quickly died (9)
17. Crumpet left out for the picker (8)
18. Queen said to have bred with gusto (8)
20. Fight to build base in New York (6)
21. No way for a Samaritan to go? (6)
23. Back Irish yet not Irish (5)

Prizes to the first two correct entries drawn. Closing date: 15th August 2011.

Send to:

The Editor, Hop Press, 1 Surbiton Road, Eastleigh, Hants. SO50 4HY

Issue 69 (October 2010) Solution & Winners

Crossword Answers

A good entry, sixteen correct replies, mostly from the usual suspects but there were also several regular solvers let down by small slips - two were caught out by 6 down 'pimp' a neologism that has seemingly passed some of you by!

J. E. Green, St Albans
Tim Parkinson, Eastleigh

Other correct solutions were from:
Tim Bardett Mike Barratt
Jocelyn Britcher David Chessman
Nigel Cook Trevor Crowther
Robert Elliott Barry Hall
Stephen Harvey Mike Hobbs
A. Leonard Nigel Parsons
Harvey Saunders John Yalden

Walking and Drinking (12) Hop Press index

Southampton Itchen(download pdf file for printing 987kB)

Ray Massey

Pub walk mapThis issue of Hop Press is timed to hit the streets just before Southampton Beer Festival, so I thought it might be appropriate to describe a pub walk in Southampton. Great idea in theory, but how does it work out in practice? Well I think the walk is good in parts, and it does use the new Itchen Riverside path to good effect. But I would be the first to admit that not all the streets on this walk are beautiful. Hopefully the pubs will help make up; and whenever you walk, rather than drive or ride, there are interesting things to see - if you have the eyes to see them. So with that mild warning ringing in your ears, here is the walk. The sketch map shows all pubs mentioned and other features indicated in the text with bracketed initials.

Start from the upper end of the pedestrianised area (PA) of the main shopping street, Above Bar Street (ABS). Walk north, slightly uphill, away from the pedestrian area, on the right hand side. Immediately you pass a very useful street map of central Southampton. (Your possible first pub visit, the Guide Dog, is in square D1, at the top). Very soon you pass a new enormous open piazza, with an unobstructed view of the Guildhall (GH) (Southampton Beer Festival venue) beyond. Continue past the most northerly of Southampton's extensive parks, a result of WW2 bombing I believe, to cross the city ring road (RR) at traffic lights.

This is London Road (LR), although I couldn't see a street name here. However you very soon pass the Giddy Bridge (GB) , a well-know JDW establishment, which is a good landmark. Continue up London road, which seems to be the estate agent centre of Southampton. Nearing the top you pass Bellvue Road on the right, with the Alexandra (A) just visible. Bend right as you reach the long green separating the opposing lanes of The Avenue. Ahead is a low but elegant building - the YMCA. Use the blue painted subway to reach it.

Here you have a choice of three parallel roads: Southcliffe Road and Rockstone Lane on the left of the YMCA, and Cranbury Place on the right. All lead you downhill into Bevois Valley. I suggest you pass just to the left of the YMCA, and cross a small green to reach the end of Rockstone Lane - a very pleasant cul-de-sac of small terrace cottages. At the end of the lane is the Bevois Castle (BC) (unfortunately currently closed).
Guide Dog pub
Guide Dog
Here bear left into Onslow Road, which soon becomes Bevois Valley Road; and very soon turn left into Earls Road. Just after the first bend, you will see the Guide Dog (GD). This small pub is a Mecca for real ale fans; it has often been the local CAMRA pub of the year. Generally eight beers are available, always including Fuller's ESB and a Flowerpots beer. Other beers are often from small and/or local breweries.
On leaving the pub, retrace your route to the main Bevois Valley Road. Turn right then immediately left by the Dungeon, into Mount Pleasant Road. After passing a school you will reach the Old Farmhouse (OF), a grade II listed building. After the pub is a very busy level crossing (LC), more often shut than open. (It is on the main line between Southampton and Waterloo). Soon after the crossing, turn left twice into a small industrial estate (IE). Ignore a dirty looking footpath on the right, and instead continue ahead, then bend right through the estate. At the end, a short path leads to the new riverside path (RP). Turn left along this broad tarmac path, and with interesting estuary views on the right, continue round the bend in the River Itchen. Ahead is the red lattice work of a road bridge, known locally as Horseshoe Bridge (HB).
Junction Inn pub
Junction Inn
The path ends after climbing the embankment by the bridge. Turn right here, downhill and at the road crossing is the Junction Inn (JI) , a Greene King grade II listed pub, and a recent Southampton Community award winner. It makes a good lunch stop.
There is a shorter route from the Guide Dog to the Junction shown on the sketch map, but the river route is certainly more interesting. The Junction is at the bottom of Adelaide Road, and just a little further up is the very well regarded South Western Arms (SWA) , another regular award winner, which serves up to ten real ales, always including Bowman's Swift One. Right behind the South Western is St. Denys station, and across the footbridge over the station is the Dolphin (D) , completing the three very worthwhile pubs clustered around the station.
South Western Arms pub
South Western Arms
Resuming the walk from the Junction, go up Priory Road (PR), and immediately on the right there is a public hard giving access to and good views of the Itchen. Continue up Priory Road, and opposite the Bridge Inn (BI) another short path gives access to a pleasant riverside green with more interesting views of the Itchen. Continue along Priory Road under the railway bridge to the busy St Denys Road. Here turn right across Cobden Bridge (CB), cross the road at the crossing and go into Riverside Park (RP). The Park is a much needed and well used open space for the surrounding houses.

Walk down to the water's edge and follow the river upstream on a good tarmac path. Go past the model railway tracks, and after the sports areas turn right, still on a good tarmac path. Leave the orange roofed changing rooms (CR) well to the right and head slightly left across the cricket pitch towards a small car park. Here join and turn left along Manor Farm Road (MFR), then right into Woodmill Lane (WML). Soon you will see the Hop Inn (HI) ahead. It is a modest, friendly place quite to quench your thirst after the stride across the park.

Hop Inn pub
Hop Inn
Conveniently FirstGroup buses 3 and 8 pass the pub frequently, so getting back into town should not be a problem. Alternatively you can retrace your route, staying on Woodmill Lane through the park, to Woodmill itself. Woodmill (WM) is the limit of tidal water in the Itchen. After the mill the narrow lane continues to Portswood Road (PR), where Bluestar 2 and FirstGroup 7/7A both run into town.

For train travelers, just after the narrow part of Woodmill Lane, turn right following the Swaythling station sign into Wessex Lane (WL). The station is about ¼ mile away. The station only has one stopping train each way per hour, so if you have a long wait the Fleming Arms (FA) visible ahead may help pass the time.

Maps: Maps are not really necessary for this walk but a city plan with street names would help.

Seasons: Town walks can be good at any time of the year. On this walk perhaps a tide table is most important, because the Itchen looks better full than empty.

Times: To reach St Denys station is about 2½ miles, plus 2 miles to the Hop Inn and a further mile to the Fleming Arms; so allow between 1½ and 2½ hours for the walking part.

Photos: Thanks to Bryn Massey for them.

Southampton Beer Festival Hop Press index

Southampton Beer Festival features glassThis year's Southampton Beer Festival will soon be with us again. It will run from Thursday, June 2nd to Saturday, June 4th. As always it will be in the prestigious Guildhall.

Tickets can be bought at these well-known outlets within the city:

Bitter Virtue, 70 Cambridge Road

Guide Dog, 38 Earl's Road

Waterloo, 101 Waterloo Road

They are also available by post from:

Beer Festival Tickets, 5 Bassett Close,

Southampton, SO16 7PE

Postal applications should include a cheque made out to 'Hampshire Beer Festivals (Southampton)' and include an SAE.

Telephone bookings can also be made to the Guildhall Box Office but be advised that the Guildhall adds a handling charge to all telephone orders.

Session prices are:

Thursday, 6.30-11.00 £4.00

Friday, 11.30-4.00 Free entry*

Friday, 6.30-11.00 £8.00

Saturday, 11.30-4.00 £6.00

Saturday, 6.30-11.00 £7.00

*First come first served. A glass deposit will be charged at the door. If you are making a lengthy journey, contact us via our website to obtain a priority pass


More details of the festival will also be found on this website.


Hop Press Issue number 70. May 2011

Editor: Pat O'Neill
1 Surbiton Road
SO50 4HY
023 8064 2246

© CAMRA Ltd. 2011