Early September traditionally sees a mad dash to clear Bedfordshire, often the first county to fall in the new GBG. A half of Doom Bar* to the first reader to guess what will be my first complete county this year.


The extract above might be a clue. And to think that Simon actually completed Beds, from his York HQ, last year.

My comment yesterday about the GBG being a Guide to the country holds true for a county that promotes itself as “the irritating bit between Cambridge and Oxford“.

There is no earthly reason you would visit Clifton.


My Navigator (antique edition) records that I had, probably in 1997 while walking from Arlesey station to the Shefford Tap.  The Admiral is surrounded by some prominent pubs;

Clifton 1

The Shefford Tap to the west, Broom’s barless Cock to the north, a micropub (whatever that is) to the south, and of course the famous Mikkeller/Cloudwater collaborative burger bar at Henlow Grange Health Farm. Oh, and the Engineer’s Arms.

But Clifton hasn’t graced the Guide in my ticking lifetime. ‘Till now.

Despite persistent drizzle I walked the bounds to collect the Clifton highlights for you.



A relatively affluent east Beds village, with duck pond, half-timbered houses, and floral pubs. Quintessential inessential England.


The Admiral ticks most boxes on the Bedfordshire village pub checklist;

  • Odd opening hours
  • Unpretentious but quality menu
  • Pleasant, chatty staff and reguars
  • Pleasing lack of post-1980 pub furniture
  • Award winning floral displays
  • Draught Bass
  • Stockport pub picture

No, I didn’t see the last two coming either.  Or the indie soundtrack.  Anyway, here’s the obligatory “Bass being poured” shot.


Why didn’t you have the Abbot ?”  I hear you cry.

The Bass was very decent, a south Derby model I enjoyed watching the destruction of the Windies by our Jimmy.  Cricket, along with the weather and Car Seat Headrest, are the only safe topics of pub conversation these days.


The cheery barman confirmed the Landlord previously ran the Blossoms in Stockport, which accounts for the quality of the beer, though he couldn’t account for why any sane person would leave England’s greatest town for a Bedfordshire village with a duck pond.


*In a Wythenshawe pub on New Years Eve, T & C apply

10 thoughts on “BASS BLOSSOMS IN BEDS

  1. The GBG description says that Robinson’s beers often feature.

    I have an early 80s edition of the Good Pub Guide which comments on the dearth of suitable entries in Bedfordshire.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had to do a double take here. For a minute, I thought it said you had walked from Arlesey station to Sheffield Tap! Although I wasn’t exactly sure where Arlesey station is, presumably in Bedfordshire, I knew it was along way from Sheffield. I also knew it was where legendary Richard Walker invented the Arlesey Bomb, a strange concoction of Draught Bass, poured from a jug into a glass with a stainless steel sparkler cunningly placed in the bottom. You drink the flat pint and as you drain the last drop the sparkler shoots forwards down the glass hitting your incisors at fair old rate. Chipped front teeth are often the outcome but it reminds the soft twats who don’t use a sparkler that it’s better fastened tightly to the tap end of the beer pump in future!


  3. Arles Bomb – A streamlined lead weight designed by Richard Walker to cast long distances when Perch fishing at Arlesey lake. It subsequently became the casting weight of choice for generations of anglers when legering in still and slow moving waters for coarse fish.


  4. Talking about what we thought were called arsely bombs bring back so many memories from 40 years ago when we went fishing on the River Trent and some of the large ballast holes that are round here.
    We would wang it out as far as possible because the other side is always better.


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