Apart from his other obsessions specialist areas of GBG pubs and moths, Duncan “Pubmeister” McKay is a non-league football expert, which may be handy for BRAPA soon.


He may remember Peppard FC, a team from a quiet Oxfordshire village which won the Combined Counties League in a 1993/94 season that went well into June, and who were denied a famous giant-killing in the FA Vase due to their pitch being too small. My season of interest in the non-league game pretty much ended when when I started repeating “Headers !” “Seconds !” in my sleep.

Anyway, back in Peppardland for the first time since then, and a Quiet Lane.

Yes, we get the idea

This is the leafy Chilterns, the strip of villages where Reading FC footballers lived when they earned Premiership wages (now they live in Theale).

All happening here, as Russ will no doubt comment

But there’s some proper Brakspear boozers here, though the ones I remember at Gallowtree Common and Stoke Row aren’t in the Beer Guide anymore.

The Highwayman at Checkendon is actually in Exlade Street, or perhaps Woodcote, or even Greater Reading if you want to be awkward. And, not being a boozer, it opened at the outrageous time of noon. So I had 90 minutes for a walk (5 miles), enough to get to Hook End and back.

Rural England
Future Checkendon micropub

Now the one certainty about great walking areas is that you’ll never see any walkers, unless they’re eating their own sandwiches in a pub car park.

But the cyclists and horses made up for it. And squirrels.

Lost In A Forest

Not the most exciting walk in the Chilterns, but at least you get to see the UK’s finest collection of potholes close-up.

Classic UK potholes, 2018

The Checkendon village website enthuses over its facilities.Β  Sadly they no longer include a pub or any sort of shop, so I was famished by the time I got to the Highwayman.

Highwayman, somewhere off the A4074

Three groups were already in the bar at 12.03, and all three of them said they had a table for four booked under the name of Smithson/Parry-Hughes/D’Arry.

As they eyed up the table near the fire, I made a dash for it.Β  And it was mine !


Not only did they miss the prime seat, the dawdlers did so much hugging and social niceties that I sneaked my order for “Burger and Old Boy” in while they were handing out the menus. THESE PEOPLE RUN OUR COUNTRY !

The bar had another perfectly good table, rejected as being too pubby (or possibly too close to the scruff with muddy jeans, who knows).

Not bad – bench seat and beer mats

Clearly it survives the fate of the Four Horsehoes by being a restaurant, but at least the bar has a semblance of pub, and the beer range meets all my criteria.

Rare sensible beer range

Always Good Old Boy, of course, a decently kept half with decent texture (NBSS 3), though everyone else went for the Hoppit.


Whether that was because it was the weakest, or the quirkiest or the local one, who knows.

Anyway, the important stuff. The best burger and chips so far this year, and rather impressive service, so an 4.5 from my Michelin offshoot.

Back to the quiet lanes..

























  1. The whole scoring system could get out of hand, especially if you start doing potholes and I do moths. Recall that Peppard saga. I think they played at Palmer Park, an athletics stadium that is used for football so they must have widened the pitch. Next season in League One Reading FC footballers won’t be able to afford Theale.


  2. “All happening here, as Russ will no doubt comment”

    I was too busy trying to find Quiet Lane (although Three Cornered Wood looks interesting). πŸ˜‰

    “And it was mine !”

    Makes up for those two suits the other day. ☺️


    Don’t feel bad. They run a lot of bloody countries at present. 😏

    “so an 4.5 from my Michelin offshoot.”

    Good lord. You’re branching out? 😜

    And how does one normally choose when given a choice of BBBs?


    (and now to try and go back to sleep) 😴

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In 1980 and again in 1982, Peppard won the Oxfordshire Senior Cup whilst playing in the Reading & District League. That was a major achievement, given the presence of Oxford United Reserves, Oxford City, Banbury United etc in the competition.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I should have added that Peppard played in the village at that time. The move to Palmer Park happened in the 1990’s if I remember rightly, maybe when they joined the former Chiltonian League ?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. One of my big bug bears here. Shabby, worn table tops with flakey varnish in pubs.

    There’s no excuse for it.

    Ten minutes with a power sander and a coat of varnish is all it needs. A licensee could easily do one table a day and soon improve their pub. If you are on a tight budget for cash or time then just do the table top. It might look a little incongruous at first but at least it would be clean and hygienic and show that someone actually cared.


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