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Must eat (and drink) pubs on the Stourport ring


Neil Ryan
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17 hours ago, Neil Ryan said:

Thanks for all of the input on my last post. Would love to compile a list of the can't miss pub/restaurants on the Stourport Ring. We are going to travel clockwise for 10 days out of Alvechurch. If they are also places to moor for the night that would be awesome as well. 

The Angel at Stourport is a must visit pub.

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1 minute ago, mrsmelly said:

The Angel at Stourport is a must visit pub.

It certainly was Tim, and the lovely setting and view is the same, but have you (or anyone else) been there under the new ownership? It was still closed last time I went, but I wonder how it is now?

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1 hour ago, IanD said:

Yes the Warwickshire Ring (we visited all those pubs in 2016) is good, so is the Cheshire Ring (2009 and again this year!), and the Four Counties/Caldon (2014), and HNC/Rochdale (2017), and the L&L (2015) -- but even after much planning of stops with the aid of CanalPlan/GBG/WhatPub/Google the Stourbridge Ring (2018) had the highest "good pub quotient" of all.

 

Assuming your pub priorities are the same as mine, obviously i.e. great beer and atmosphere, good food a close second if available but not at the cost of good beer...

Good is one thing but for 'must stop' pubs I would have have to pick the Warwickshire Ring. It also boasts possibly the worst canalside pub I have visited excluding the now defunct Tardebigge. That's the The Wharf at Hockley Heath. Those two were definitely a step below the Eagle & Sun.

 

A couple of years ago I would have also listed The Navigation at Lapworth as a place to stop but last two visits have been of a lower standard than previous three.

 

JP

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6 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

Good is one thing but for 'must stop' pubs I would have have to pick the Warwickshire Ring. It also boasts possibly the worst canalside pub I have visited excluding the now defunct Tardebigge. That's the The Wharf at Hockley Heath. Those two were definitely a step below the Eagle & Sun.

 

A couple of years ago I would have also listed The Navigation at Lapworth as a place to stop but last two visits have been of a lower standard than previous three.

 

JP

I drove past The Wharf at Hockley Heath last weekend but didn't stop (as you say JP, why would you!).  However, it appears to have been done up and looked rather less tired.  New ownership perhaps? 

 

I rather like Hockley Heath's handy location as a stopping point pre or post locks.   Anyone been in lately?

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1 hour ago, Sea Dog said:

 

I think we're pretty well aligned in most of our opinions on the previous post.

 

You say you're not convinced about the Eagle and Sun - I'd agree! They do have an a la carte menu, but sadly the carvery is now a shadow of its former self. I wouldn't go out of my way, nor even stop on my way if there was a better plan. In fact, I walked past it just last week and ate onboard.  I did say I like the Fir Tree - you just need to check their opening schedule! :D

 

Looking down historic holes with legends of royalty and historic battles is just the thing for most "new world" tourists, isn't it?  Both that and the Cardinal's Hat are great buildings though, eh, and the fact they serve beer seals the deal for me.

 

Sorry about the Swan: it's how I found it, but I knew (and admitted) I was a rogue point on the graph!  I humbly apologise! 

 

As for the above - impressive list! I said there was plenty to choose from - maybe I'll find some firm favourites from your recommendations. 

I'll stick to the Babycham.

12 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

Good is one thing but for 'must stop' pubs I would have have to pick the Warwickshire Ring. It also boasts possibly the worst canalside pub I have visited excluding the now defunct Tardebigge. That's the The Wharf at Hockley Heath. Those two were definitely a step below the Eagle & Sun.

 

A couple of years ago I would have also listed The Navigation at Lapworth as a place to stop but last two visits have been of a lower standard than previous three.

 

JP

That's very true.  Hockley Heath is a wealthy area and the Wharf has a prime spot, so why does it have to be so awful?  Their carvery makes the Eagle and Sun's look good.

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10 minutes ago, doratheexplorer said:

I'll stick to the Babycham.

That's very true.  Hockley Heath is a wealthy area and the Wharf has a prime spot, so why does it have to be so awful?  Their carvery makes the Eagle and Sun's look good.

Well Rybrook Rolls Royce and McLaren are still at Hockley Heath, but it looked to me like the shop by the bridge  that did the posh scotch eggs has gone so it may be heading for the skids...! :(

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14 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

Well Rybrook Rolls Royce and McLaren are still at Hockley Heath, but it looked to me like the shop by the bridge  that did the posh scotch eggs has gone so it may be heading for the skids...! :(

A posh scotch egg is a travesty.  What kind of egg is it?  Swan?

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1 hour ago, Sea Dog said:

It certainly was Tim, and the lovely setting and view is the same, but have you (or anyone else) been there under the new ownership? It was still closed last time I went, but I wonder how it is now?

☹️ Youve just spoilt my day. I have just googled it and its been destroyed!! It now mentions " Modernised " and has a " Food menu " :banghead: etc. Another good pub bloody ruined.

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The Bull and Bladder has been mentioned a few times, as a good place to drink but no one’s mentioned the food they serve. (If they still do serve food - it was 5 or 6 years ago I ate in there)

If you’re in there for 1pm you can choose from a spread of food. Homemade pies, peas, potatoes  and such like. 

I think only week days, in the back room.  Limited amount put out, so you have to be quick. And was only £3. 

 

Someone local, on here, might be able to say if they still do it. 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

Nobody ever needs to know the price of Doom Bar.

 

When I have been I think they have generally had Wye Valley HPA on.

 

JP

This is of course very true. However even Doom bar can be classed as a good pint of ale against the stuff many of us were drinking in the early seventies. In our NAAFI club we had Watneys " Starlight " now that truly was orrible!! and keg to boot!!

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Thanks again for all the info! I think we are going to have to change our plans and just call it a pub trip rather than a boat trip!! I really appreciate all of the response and suggestions. I think for our group the clockwise rotation definitely makes sense, for a number of reasons. I think if we can get through the top lock on the first afternoon then we really are not in a rush to get through and by the time we get to the bottom we will be seasoned lock users (not really). There are three couples in our group who have been on the canals so we do have a bit of an idea. Hopefully on our walk down to the Queens Head we will have a chance to see them in action as well and get a good idea. As for the walk down to the Pub: we are all avid hikers/bikers/skiers who live on a small Island on the West Coast of Canada so walking is very much a way of life. I don't think a 2 mile walk is that big of an issue and with the late day I think it will be a perfect cure for the jet lag.

I am going to print of a large map of the ring and start plugging in the pubs (and maybe a couple of other things to see if we have time???) 

 

We are also pretty early risers (especially with the jet lag) I could see us being ready to start motoring by 6:30 or 7 (sunrise is at 4:42) on that second morning to tackle the Tardebigge. Is there a time that the locks are not open or is there early morning etiquette that we should be aware of whether it be other boats or those living near the canals.  

Edited by Neil Ryan
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We all live in Victoria BC, which many people consider more English than England. We even have double decker buses, cricket pitches and marmite. We are also the craft beer capital so lots of great local pints to choose from. However, it is not cheap. In a local pub you would expect to pay $8-9 for a pint which is right around 5 pounds.

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2 hours ago, Neil Ryan said:

Thanks again for all the info! I think we are going to have to change our plans and just call it a pub trip rather than a boat trip!! I really appreciate all of the response and suggestions. I think for our group the clockwise rotation definitely makes sense, for a number of reasons. I think if we can get through the top lock on the first afternoon then we really are not in a rush to get through and by the time we get to the bottom we will be seasoned lock users (not really). There are three couples in our group who have been on the canals so we do have a bit of an idea. Hopefully on our walk down to the Queens Head we will have a chance to see them in action as well and get a good idea. As for the walk down to the Pub: we are all avid hikers/bikers/skiers who live on a small Island on the West Coast of Canada so walking is very much a way of life. I don't think a 2 mile walk is that big of an issue and with the late day I think it will be a perfect cure for the jet lag.

I am going to print of a large map of the ring and start plugging in the pubs (and maybe a couple of other things to see if we have time???) 

 

We are also pretty early risers (especially with the jet lag) I could see us being ready to start motoring by 6:30 or 7 (sunrise is at 4:42) on that second morning to tackle the Tardebigge. Is there a time that the locks are not open or is there early morning etiquette that we should be aware of whether it be other boats or those living near the canals.  

Set off when you like. Motoring all night is quite legal and often fun but usualy hire boats dont allow this. Sometimes lock flights are locked when water levels are low for one instance but usualy not. If you do set off early just try not to be a numpty. Starting the engine and letting it warm up for ages whilst chattering to crew next to other moored boats isnt cricket and we never do it. we go out ready the mooring lines then start the engine and move off. Running of the boat engine whilst stationary and near other boaters/houses etc is against bye laws between 8pm and 8am but if on the move is allowed. Log on to the canal and river trust web site and register for alerts on the canals rivers you aim to use and if there are any stoppages or problems you can check them out and will be notified of any problems on your fone or email depending on what type of alert you request.

Edited by mrsmelly
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2 hours ago, Neil Ryan said:

We all live in Victoria BC, which many people consider more English than England. We even have double decker buses, cricket pitches and marmite. We are also the craft beer capital so lots of great local pints to choose from. However, it is not cheap. In a local pub you would expect to pay $8-9 for a pint which is right around 5 pounds.

Stop feeding the seals: it's naughty!

 

(Lovely city - we enjoyed it very much).

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20 hours ago, Captain Pegg said:

The Lock at Wolverley is OK and it's a nice spot. Moorings above and below the lock. No phone signal and the pub wi-fi is useless.

 

Kinver has a large pub by the lock and I suspect better ones in the village. There is - or was - an Italian restaurant in the village. Moorings are below the lock before you get to the village but don't be tempted to carry on past and look if you want to stop. It's a nice place.

 

After Kinver there is a a gap. Nothing at Stewponey any more.

 

The Lock at Wolverley is OK, burgers were good last them we stopped there.

I would avoid The Vine in Kinver. It used to be quite good but now has a very poor reputation with current owners. IIRC the hygeine rating was last set at 1 and that would be seriously bad.  Generally it is shut by 9pm due to no customers.

 

The Anchor at Caunsall is a fairly basic pub with brilliant cobs (I am from Darn Sarf so would call them rolls). You get beef, ham or cheese rolls and a plate of salad for not a lot of money. the meat is cooked on the premises and good. People travel to this pub just for the food and it will be full at lunchtime and into the afternoon. The pub is about 400 yards from the canal, so easy to get to.

 

Kinver has other pubs that are OK and only a short walk from the canal. The Cross is OK for drinking but does little in the way of food, just crisps and rolls.  The White Harte in the village does more food. There are also two fish & chip shops, two Italians, two Indians and a Chinese takeaway, so most aspects are well covered.

 

If you decide to go up the Wolverhampton flight, stop just before it at Compton and have the fish and chips. Very good indeed. This is approx 50 yards from the canal though we generally more above the lock where its quiet and walk back to it (about 400 yards?).

 

 

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4 hours ago, Goliath said:

The Bull and Bladder has been mentioned a few times, as a good place to drink but no one’s mentioned the food they serve. (If they still do serve food - it was 5 or 6 years ago I ate in there)

If you’re in there for 1pm you can choose from a spread of food. Homemade pies, peas, potatoes  and such like. 

I think only week days, in the back room.  Limited amount put out, so you have to be quick. And was only £3. 

 

Someone local, on here, might be able to say if they still do it. 

 

 

The day we were there they were doing a buffet like that but it was for the funeral of one of the regulars. The bar still had great cobs, pork pies and Scotch eggs for ridiculous prices, between £1.25 and £1.50 each IIRC -- and the beer was some of the cheapest anywhere, as well as being the nectar of the gods... ?

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6 hours ago, Sea Dog said:

I drove past The Wharf at Hockley Heath last weekend but didn't stop (as you say JP, why would you!).  However, it appears to have been done up and looked rather less tired.  New ownership perhaps? 

 

I rather like Hockley Heath's handy location as a stopping point pre or post locks.   Anyone been in lately?

I like the pub at Hockley Heath

 

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I agree with jonesthenuke about the Vine at Kinver; went in last summer and waited nearly an hour for a basic meal order, despite hardly anyone else in. The food was ordinary at best. Perhaps it may have changed for the better since..

 

There is a good pub at Alvechurch just down the road from the canal bridge, I think it is the bridge before the one that is next to the Weighbridge. Went in Sept '17 - was very warm and comfy and good solid pub grub. The Weighbridge was packed that evening.

 

Namaste Indian at Stourport is worth trying if the schedule fits; very friendly and excellent food. Again I last visited in September '17 and before that April 2014, both times were good. 

 

If you happen to stop at Swindon on the Staffs and Worcs either as a detour or if taking the Wolves '21 route instead of the Stourbridge, then I recommend visiting both the Green Man and the Old Bush. They're both very chirpy, a little eccentric and both have good beer and do good pub grub at lunchtime but don't think they do food in the evening nowadays, but as mentioned above there is also a good chippy in Swindon. Thumbs up for the chippy at Compton too, along with the Italian next to the canal, by the bridge.

Edited by Philip
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14 hours ago, Neil Ryan said:

We all live in Victoria BC, which many people consider more English than England. We even have double decker buses, cricket pitches and marmite.

 

I thought Marmite had been banned in Canada.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theglobeandmail.com/amp/news/national/marmite-crackdown-in-canada-has-britons-outraged/article16480777/

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12 hours ago, jonesthenuke said:

The Lock at Wolverley is OK, burgers were good last them we stopped there.

I would avoid The Vine in Kinver. It used to be quite good but now has a very poor reputation with current owners. IIRC the hygeine rating was last set at 1 and that would be seriously bad.  Generally it is shut by 9pm due to no customers.

 

The Anchor at Caunsall is a fairly basic pub with brilliant cobs (I am from Darn Sarf so would call them rolls). You get beef, ham or cheese rolls and a plate of salad for not a lot of money. the meat is cooked on the premises and good. People travel to this pub just for the food and it will be full at lunchtime and into the afternoon. The pub is about 400 yards from the canal, so easy to get to.

 

Kinver has other pubs that are OK and only a short walk from the canal. The Cross is OK for drinking but does little in the way of food, just crisps and rolls.  The White Harte in the village does more food. There are also two fish & chip shops, two Italians, two Indians and a Chinese takeaway, so most aspects are well covered.

 

If you decide to go up the Wolverhampton flight, stop just before it at Compton and have the fish and chips. Very good indeed. This is approx 50 yards from the canal though we generally more above the lock where its quiet and walk back to it (about 400 yards?).

 

 

Just in case people dont know how this works, and many of Joe Public simply dont know how it works I will give a bit of advice. These ratings although can be of assistance on occasion are often a red herring and often nothing to do with cleanliness.  The main thing the EHO check in all visits is your paperwork. There are lists needed for what and when an item/area was cleaned and most importantly a record of temperatures for each and every fridge/freezer on the premises all numbered. These temperatures have to be taken twice a day every day and recorded and more often in hot weather.  There is paperwork required that lists ALL allergens in every meal you do to show to Joe Public.  A sign MUST be displayed stating ask a member of staff etc etc if you have any allergies. You have to be fastidious with this paperwork as the EHO just appear sometimes out of the blue. More points are awarded for paperwork than actual cleanliness. It is very easy to have a superb, immaculate kitchen and utensils etc and only get a 2 or 3 scoring because you havnt done the paperwork. You can also have a pretty god awful cleaning schedule and a grubby kitchen and still get a 4 if you paperwork is brilliant. A low score usualy means not good but can mean that a storage area needs the walls painting etc even if the cupboards are clean etc. Just thought it worth a mention.  Just to finish with our places we always had a 5 on every visit!! But its not the b all and end all.

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