The Barley Mow

The Barley Mow, Kirk Ireton, Derbyshire DE6 3JP

A historic 17th century stone-built pub in a quiet village on the southern fringes of the Peak District between Wirksworth and Ashbourne. The exterior, with its two prominent gables, resembles a small manor house. It may not look very open from outside, but if it’s within the scheduled opening hours (12-2 and 7-11 or 10.30 on Sunday), turn the latch and you should be able to get in.

The interior, not surprisingly, features on CAMRA’s National Inventory, although some of the furnishings are more modern than they look. The heart of the pub is the main bar with its massive fireplace, quarry-tiled floor, wall benches and counter, not much more than a serving hatch, in the far corner. There’s also another room with a parquet floor, more benches and French window opening out into the garden.

Hartington IPA, served from the jug, is stillaged in the cellar, with two or three guest beers in casks behind the bar. Food is limited to a choice of cheese or salami cobs. It’s a true old-fashioned character pub that makes no concessions to modern marketing gimmicks, but its fame means it attracts ramblers and other outside visitors as well as a core of regulars.

The Holly Bush

The Holly Bush, Makeney, Derbyshire DE56 0RX

A stone-built pub of considerable age situated on a narrow lane off the A6 south of Belper in the picturesque Derwent valley, with a superb unspoilt interior that earns it a place on CAMRA’s National Inventory. At its heart is a wonderful old snug formed from a quadrant of fixed bench seating with a glazed section filling the gap between the top and the ceiling. Next to this is the cosy main bar with dark beams and a quarry-tiled floor. There’s also a more a more conventional but still characterful lounge and a conservatory and beer garden at the rear. Children are not admitted to the main bar and snug.

The permanent beer range comprises Greene King Abbot Ale, Taylor’s Landlord and Fullers London Pride on handpump, plus Marston’s Pedigree drawn from the cellar and served from a jug. There are also three changing guest ales, and the pub stages regular beer festivals throughout the year. There’s an extensive menu of conventional pub food, plus a variety of snacks including pork pies and cheese platters. It’s a rare example of a pub occupying a stunning historic building that also excels in its customer offer.

The pub only has a small car park, and apart from this parking nearby can be difficult – at busy times, visitors may need to go down to the “main road” a couple of hundred yards away.

The Jolly Sailor

The Jolly Sailor, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 6HN

A street-corner pub in the lower part of the town on the busy Sunderland Street near to the railway station. In the 1980s, the interior was opened out somewhat, attracting criticism from a local CAMRA guide, but it has mellowed since then, and retains four distinct areas around the bar with a variety of comfortable seating. There’s an impressive collection of bric-a-brac and memorabilia including many photographs of old Macclesfield and the classic old Bass poster shown below.

It was once the only Bass tied house in the town, and Draught Bass remains at the core of the beer range alongside Castle Rock Harvest Pale and Everards Tiger. There are also a couple of changing guests which are typically the more familiar beers such as Bombardier and Landlord. Food is limited to simple weekday bar snacks, but the upstairs function room doubles as a steakhouse on Thursday to Saturday evenings. It attracts a wide cross-section of customers and provides a proper traditional pub atmosphere in an area of the town where modern bars predominate.

The Scotch Piper

The Scotch Piper, Lydiate, Lancashire L31 4HD

An ancient thatched and cruck-framed pub that claims to be “the oldest inn in Lancashire”, and features on CAMRA’s National Inventory. It must originally have been in a rural location, but has now been enveloped by nondescript suburbia on the northern fringes of Liverpool. The heavily beamed interior comprises three rooms – the cosy, wood-panelled area on the left by the bar, a central one with dartboard and old fixed seating, and a more modern but still comfortable lounge at the far right end, all warmed by real fires in winter. There’s also extensive outside seating, making it a good place to go out to for a drink on a sunny summer’s day or warm evening.

On my recent visit, there were three cask beers available – Holts Two Hoots, Pendle Blond Witch, and a house beer called Piper 1320, the origin of which the barman didn’t know. No food is currently available. For many years it was a Burtonwood tied house, but is now owend by Admiral Taverns. The pub was recently badly damaged by fire, but fortunately has been restored to its former glory.

The White Horse

The White Horse (Nellie’s), Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire HU17 8BN

Old pub in a wonky terrace at the north end of the town centre close to St Mary’s church. For many years, it was run as a free house by Nellie Collinson, from whom it takes its nickname, prior to its acquisition by Samuel Smith’s in 1976. At that time it was something of a timewarp pub; since then it has been somewhat improved and smartened up, but it retains an interior of great character, resulting in its inclusion as a main entry on CAMRA’s National Inventory.

It still has coal fires, stone-flagged floors, gas lighting and a warren of small rooms surrounding the main bar, which is at the rear left. There’s even an unexpected pool room at the back on the right. There’s the usual range of Sam’s beer, at their usual good value prices, and lunchtime food is available. The only signage is the rocking horse and a small nameboard above the front door.