THEY'RE a beautiful sight - a host of golden daffodils of Wordsworthian proportions. And they now attract up to 40,000 visitors each April to Farndale on the North York Moors.

I decided to visit the scenic dale last weekend with my family to see the wild daffodils, and also to check out the eating opportunities available to flower lovers after a hard hour's wandering.

We were heading for the Feversham Arms Inn in a hamlet called Church Houses, but we parked up a mile or two down the valley at Low Mill, in a car park created for the daffodil season.

We then walked a well-trodden footpath alongside the River Dove, where the narcissus pseudonarcissus grow so spectacularly along the foot of the valley.

It was misty up there and few of the flowers were blooming as yet, but already many groups of walkers were tramping the path, and we wondered how on earth the pub was coping with the inevitable deluge of hungry diners and thirsty drinkers.

Would there be any food left, and would we even find a table free?

We arrived at about 2.30pm, having worked up healthy appetites, and entered a bar which has been refurbished but remains traditional in style, with stone-flagged floors. The pub dates back more than 200 years and is full of character. It was busy inside, but we managed to find a table in one of several dining areas.

There was a queue to order and a warning that our meal could not be served instantly. As it was, we waited about 20 minutes for our food, which wasn't bad considering the pressure the staff must have been under. And it was served with a smile.

The menu looked promising. It promised just the sort of wholesome hearty fare for walkers with appetites such as home-made steak and kidney pie for £7.50, served with home-made chips or new potatoes, vegetables or salad garnish.

This proved irresistible to me - after I'd first sampled the soup of the day for £2.50. It was mushroom soup on this occasion, quite tasty and served with a soft and heated little baguette.

The pie, washed down with a pint of Black Sheep, was a huge segment sliced out of an oven dish, packed with generous segments of kidney and tender steak and a thick, flavoursome gravy.

My wife originally opted for roast chicken, but then spotted lemon and tarragon butterfly chicken listed on the chalk menu by the bar, costing £6.95. She said the pieces of chicken breast were tender, and tasted delicious.

My son chose home cooked gammon and egg for £7.50, and my daughter mini-pizza for £3.25, accompanied by cokes. They both enjoyed their meal, with the generous portion of gammon matching my son's big appetite.

We all had chips with our meals, and reckoned them to be some of the best we have had for ages.

They were remarkably long (my daughter was tempted to take one home, measure it and check if it broke any records) and had a slightly sweet flavour. Apparently, they came from Pentland Dell potatoes.

By now we were flagging, so we decided to stick to just two puddings, a chocolate nut sundae and a banana split, loaded with scoop after scoop of ice cream, for £3.25 each.

The total bill came to £42.95, not bad for a meal for four people of hearty and generous proportions.

As we emerged blinking into the misty daylight, we were grateful our car was parked a couple of miles away down the valley.

We badly needed the chance to walk some of that late lunch off.

Feversham Arms, Church Houses, Farndale. 01751 433206.

Mike visited on Sunday March 20, 2005.

Updated: 08:36 Saturday, March 26, 2005