The Davenport Arms

The Davenport Arms, Woodford, Cheshire SK7 1PS

An old redbrick pub dating from the early years of the 19th century that used to be part of a working farm. The licence has been held by the same family for over 80 years. The interior has seen a few changes over the years, but retains a multi-roomed feel, with a traditional tap-room on the left, cosy snug on the right and a more open-plan main bar area at the rear, all warmed by real fires in winter. There’s a paved outside drinking area at the front and a spacious enclosed garden to the rear. The exterior is enlivened by hanging baskets of flowers in Spring and Summer.

The pub’s situation close to the now defunct BAe Systems plant at Woodford, home of the Lancaster and Vulcan bombers, is reflected by numerous pieces of aviation memorabilia displayed on the walls. The tap-room is also home to old Farmer’s Weekly posters of breeds of livestock and British Working Dogs. A variety of mostly home-made food is served at lunchtimes, but there is no food in the evenings. It’s a Robinson’s tied house, offering 1892, Unicorn, Old Tom and a rotating guest or seasonal beer from the Robinson’s range.

Its location on the edge of prosperous “stockbroker belt” territory is reflected in some of the clientele – you might well see a vintage Rolls-Royce in the car park. However, there is a wide spread of customers and, especially in the tap-room, it can be surprisingly down-to-earth.

Edit: This pub was extensively refurbished in the Spring of 2014. While it retains its multi-roomed layout and plenty of character, it is now much smarter and cannot be said to be unspoilt in the way it was previously.

The Red Lion

The Red Lion, Dayhills, Staffordshire ST15 8RU

A truly unspoilt country pub, part of a working farm, in the depths of rural Staffordshire east of Stone. The building itself has no sign indicating that it is a pub; there’s just an inn sign at the roadside and the small sign on an outbuilding shown on the picture. The car park is the area of hard standing, without any marked bays, in front of the pub.

The interior is basically just one room with a quarry-tiled floor, bench seating and old settles, dominated by a huge inglenook fireplace. The beer range centres on Midlands classic Draught Bass together with a couple of guest beers - Bombardier and Doom Bar on my visit in August 2016. No food is served. There aren’t many like this left, more’s the pity.