If British communities are viewed as being based around the local pub, then the country side pub is the image that most people would associate with the British and warm summer days. When the city has time off there is belief that many of its inhabitants will make their way out to enjoy the natural countryside and enjoy the hospitality offered by the pubs. To a large extent this is true and there are many pubs with rural locations that are highly popular.
One of the major features of the countryside pub is the beer garden. This gives families the opportunity to enjoy their refreshments while still being in the open air enjoying the gardens. The added bonus is that an area is provided for children to explore and even run around in.
The beauty of the country pub is that they are often located in areas of natural beauty. A good example of this is the Inn at Fossebridge which is located in the Cotswolds, close to Cirencester. The pub has its own 2-acre lake set within the 4 acre garden, which also has a wooden train, a “tyre swing” and a tractor for children’s entertainment.
At the bottom of the garden is a section of the River Colne and there is access for a walking and exploring around the countryside. This alongside the real ales and roast lunches makes it a popular establishment during the summer months. As well as country pubs offering gardens those with accommodation are also popular especially as the locations of the pubs can be difficult to get to. The Cary Arms overlooking Babbacombe Bay offers fantastic views over the pebble beach and small harbour.
The pub itself has a terrace, a restaurant and a resident’s room. There is a selection of rooms in the pub to stay in, plus a separate 4-bedroom cottage with an Aga and huge baths. Country pubs have often had skittle alleys attached to the side of them. As pubs have diversified into creating greater eating space a lot of these alleys have been lost. It has been estimated that 2000 alleys were lost between 1997 and 2007 and in some areas the game is in danger of disappearing completely.
However, there are areas where it is still popular, and this is certainly the case in Somerset. The Ring O Bells is located in the village of Ashcott near Glastonbury, and as well as having real ales and a restaurant serving locally sourced produce the pub also has its own skittles team. Their teams plays fixtures against other pubs in the Street and District Men’s Skittles league and the Avalon Ladies League. These leagues are not unusual in the West Country and each area will have its own league with some having their own variations of the rules.
Country pubs are quite unique and have their own style. However, many pubs have suffered from lean times and they have had to diversify in order to survive. Those who haven’t have sadly closed and in 2009 900 rural pubs were lost in the UK. They will never die out completely as the country pub is an important feature of the British tourist trade. It gives people the opportunity to visit the countryside whilst at the same time being fed watered and even accommodated.