Plough & Fleece – Sun Inn – Red Lion – Jolly Brewer
Cambridge CAMRA Ale Trails 2013
Prompted by the Ale Trails to visit some pubs I haven’t been to or don’t visit often enough, this is another route that follows cycle paths and avoids roads where possible. A fairly easy route, about 15 miles. No punctures on this occasion.
From the Green Dragon, joining the riverside path just past the former Penny Ferry Inn, the path leads to Waterbeach and beyond, but at Baits Bite Lock there’s a bridge over the river Cam and a footpath to Horningsea.
Baits Bite Lock
Before crossing the river, a short detour northwest along Fen Road leads to the Jolly Brewers in Milton.
A recently refurbished, late seventeenth century Inn, it seems there was a brewery here from at least the 1830s, William Essex the brewer and publican, his son Thomas taking over in the 1870s and continuing into the last century. Now a freehouse, I had a drop of Milton Pegasus (when in Milton…), also on – Lord Conrads and two from Greene King.
Crossing the river at Baits Bite Lock, it’s not far to the Plough and Fleece.
Plough and Fleece
Recently awarded Community Pub of the Year (Rural) by Cambridge CAMRA, this pub has been bought from Greene King by the villagers so it can be protected and turned into a freehold (apparently the money has now been raised and the deal agreed, although it’s currently tied to Greene King on a short term lease). It is listed as an 18th century inn, but the building may date back to the 16th century.
Low timber beams, tiled floors and a large fireplace in one room, the rear bar leads to a beer garden with views across the meadows, woodpeckers drumming as I supped a Timothy Taylor Best. I’d be happy if this was my village local.
Bridge Inn, Clayhithe
A short piece of road leads to the Bridge Inn, not part of this year’s Ale Trails, but a landmark along the way. There’s been a pub here since at least the 18th century when the Jack and Eel is recorded, perhaps later rebuilt as the House of Lords, becoming the Clayhithe Bridge Inn in the 1880s. A nice enough pub with a riverside beer garden, a previous pub sign showed a horse and cart crossing an old stone bridge, with a narrowboat on the river – the more recent pub sign has chosen the Cambridge Bridge of Sighs instead. I saw the first swallows of the year here before heading to Waterbeach.
Sun Inn, Waterbeach
The Sun is nearly 250 years old at least, licensed by 1765. It overlooks the village green, opposite the White Horse. A two room pub, the cosy lounge featuring a large fireplace, albeit filled with a collection of empty beer bottles. I had a nice drop of Woodfordes Bure Gold (named after the River Bure which passes within half a mile of the brewery in Norfolk) on the outside seating overlooking the green before heading west to Landbeach, crossing over the A10.
Mere Way between Landbeach and Impington
Past Landbeach, turning south along Mere Way, the Roman Akeman Street, south passing Chivers fruit farm, to Milton Road and a cycle path to Impington and Histon.
Red Lion, Histon
Here since c.1840, the Red Lion is an impressive pub outside and in and serves good beer. There other several other pubs in Histon, all worth a visit, but the Red Lion is hard to beat.
From here it’s an easy ride back to Cambridge, joining the guided busway cycle path at Impington, to Chesterton and the city centre.