GAVIN AITCHISON heads east and walks into a lovely eccentric pub

A SMALL book landed on my desk a few weeks ago, and it instantly caught my eye. It was a pocket guide to pub walks around East Yorkshire, a part of the world I’ve grown increasingly fond of.

Pubbing and walking are two of my favourite things so, before long, I was scouring bus timetables, plotting possible excursions and trying to wangle a day off work at short notice, preferably without rain. As luck would have it, I struck gold and the Wolds were basking in sunshine as I arrived in the little village of Goodmanham, near Market Weighton.

Permit me a short digression here, because Goodmanham has a colourful history, particularly relevant to York. The village is one of England’s oldest religious sites, the focal point for paganism in northern England until the seventh century. In 627AD however, very near here, King Edwin converted to Christianity and promptly oversaw the pagan shrine’s destruction, travelled to York and ordered the building of a certain stone church that became known as York Minster.

So you see: no Goodmanham; no York as we know it.

The 12th-century church here is worth a look if you have time, but my priority on this occasion was the altogether humbler building opposite it – a brilliant little pub called The Goodmanham Arms.

Imagine a beer festival being held in an antiques shop, and you might begin to get an idea of what to expect here. It’s a magical place, a captivating treasure trove blessed with bric-a-brac, good cheer and seven splendid ales – six of them at £2.50 a pint and Theakston’s Old Peculier at £2.85.

On my visit, there were beers from Hambleton, Theakston, the Hop Studio, Wold Top and Great Newsome among others and all were in excellent condition – my Hop Studio Blonde was a beautiful, summery, fruity pint, much appreciated after the walk.

Truth be told though, I spent as much time looking at what was around the bar as what was on it.

There’s a motorbike and a piano in the corridor, an accordion on the wall, skis on the ceiling and toy cars on the mantelpiece, not to mention bottles and binoculars, scales and swords, a grandfather clock and more.

You could come here week after week, I imagine, and still spot something new on every visit. I-Spy enthusiasts would be in their element.

Vito and Abbie Logozzi have worked wonders since moving here two years ago, introducing a creative and impressive Anglo- Italian menu, and turning the pub into a Camra award-winner locally. Our picture editor ventured out to photograph it on Thursday, and returned gob-smacked at how busy, buzzing and generally brilliant it was.

Abbie says the pub was open only sporadically when they took over, but they’ve redecorated, opened all day every day and turned it around.

They’re far from finished though. The pub website outlines plans for a museum in an outbuilding, but more imminent is the birth of the pub’s own brewery. Abbie is putting the finishing touches to some recipes and says the first beers should be flowing within weeks.

Once that happens, and once word spreads, the good people of Goodmanham might just find themselves welcoming a few more pilgrims over the coming months.

  • Pocket Pub Walks in East Yorkshire, by Sally Burnard, includes 15 routes ranging from two and a half to six and a half miles.

• Follow Gav on twitter@pintsofview