GAVIN AITCHISON finds villagers of Newton on Ouse thoroughly spoilt by two splendid pubs.
THERE’S no justice in it – but you won’t hear these villagers complaining.
While many Yorkshire villagers must walk, drive or take the bus to find even one good pub, these ones are spoilt rotten.
The residents of Newton-on-Ouse are blessed with a fortune others can only dream of. In this small village, home to only 600 residents, there are not one but two fabulous pubs, catering for every taste and ticking every box a pub-goer could wish for.
We hadn’t even planned to stop in the village. But the sun was shining so we decided to stop, not to explore Beningbrough Hall, as most visitors no doubt do, but to take a look at the pubs. When we dragged ourselves away hours later, we did so utterly content.
We began in the vast, sloping, riverside garden of the Dawnay Arms, with a beer in my hand, the Saturday papers sprawled over the table, and a gentle sun glinting off the Ouse in front of us.
The pub dates back to the late 1700s and has been owned by Martel and Kerry Smith since 2007. They have invested a lot of time, money and hard work in making the pub a success, focusing heavily on the restaurant side and earning an enviable reputation for their food.
But the garden is what captured our imagination, for it truly is hard to beat.
It’s the perfect paradise, stretching on and on and on. We could have spent the whole weekend there, cursing the crossword, supping our drinks and watching the occasional boat pass by, me on the pale ale, my driving companion on a coke. But we didn’t.
Instead, after a short hour or so, we headed back to the street, along the road, and into pub number two, The Blacksmith’s Arms.
The garden here is a tad less tranquil, sandwiched between the street-front and the pub building, but it's pleasant nonetheless, and The Blacksmith’s is a joy inside.
The bar included Ringwood Boondoggle, Jenning's Bitter, Marston's Bitter, Guinness, Stowford Press, Stella 4, San Miguel, Strongbow and Glenn's Ale, a house beer by Jennings named after landlord Glenn Mimms, who runs the pub with his wife, Lesley.
If the Dawnay Arms has a more modern feel inside, the Blacksmith's is a classic vintage village pub, full of character and characters, with a well-stocked bar, friendly faces, and a menu of old-school pub classics.
Towards the back of the pub is also a collection of football memorabilia, including from clubs graced by Glenn's goalkeeping brother Bobby Mimms.
I took a plate of scampi and a half of Boondoggle, perused the memorabilia and concluded that the villagers of Newton-on-Ouse might just be the most spoilt in Yorkshire.
OUR region will be well represented at the Great British Beer Festival, which runs from Tuesday to next Saturday in London.
Beers on the bars there will include Rooster's Yankee, York's Blonde, Wold Top's Wold Gold, Walls's Explorer IPA, Theakston's Old Peculier, Rudgate's Ruby Mild and Great Newsome's Prickly Back Otchan.
Good luck to all local brewers in the Champion Beer of Britain competition, the results of which will be revealed on Tuesday.
DON'T forget, The Marcia in Bishopthorpe has a beer festival from next Friday to Sunday.