Back into Wales for the fifth time this year, and the mysterious village of Churchstoke.


I thought it sounded familiar, but I’d never been before, so I looked up those population stats that Duncan loves so much.

Churchstoke pop.PNG

I think we should be told more about the statistically improbable male/female balance.

In fact, Churchstoke is familiar only because the bottled water I buy from Co-Op comes from there, a tenuous claim to fame.

Wiki tells me there’s a shopping centre called Harry Tuffins (sadly now the more anonymous Churchstoke Shopping Centre) which seems quite generously sized for 706 people, but I guess there’s more women than men.



St.Nicholas Church apart, it’s not a tourist draw, despite the hills. Visitors head for Montgomery cafes, or press on towards the exciting new Newtown bypass.

Bucolic, in its way

Anyway, the Horse & Jockey was open, which gives it near mythical status in Mid Wales.

Sky Sports sign means you’re unlikely to get murdered

“The landlord rarely gets the same beer in twice and the beams in the bar area are smothered with various pump clips” 

says WhatPub, as if that’s a commendable feature.

What’s wrong with dangling brass pots

The landlord, a real gem, is surprised to see me but is a superb host.  “No point not being open. You don’t get any trade that way”.  True, that.

Joy of joys, just the one beer on today.

The best thing you can see in a pub apart from a meat raffle
Decent frothy head

Quite a lot of cider custom, said our host.  But the Flying Monk was fresh and tasty (NBSS 3), which puts it in the top 20% of Welsh GBG pubs this year, anyway.

It looked a pub for the evening rather than midweek lunchtime, and the beamed restaurant area is distinctly old-school.

NOT Brunning & Price
Rare billiards table

One for the purist, rather than the purist’s mum, perhaps.  But the leatherette wasn’t bought in an MFI sale.


Very complimentary about the local CAMRA branch too, something I don’t always hear.  The broccoli must be cooked perfectly here.


  1. Oi vey,horrible furniture and a gank carpet.
    But if the beer’s good and mine host a decent fellow I suppose it could be overlooked.
    One for Staffs Mudgie judging by the photo behind the bar.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My rather lame attempt at a rolled-up sleeves joke.
        Treat it with the contempt it deserves as I’m off to the pub for half a gallon of creamy Murphys.


  2. Ticks a lot of proper pub boxes, that one does. Bar billiards too 😀

    The border is very convoluted there – heading west from Churchstoke you immediately enter England.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Publicans being complimentary out of earshot of their local Camra are as common as NBSS 4 beers in Scotland. Decent looking pub that and hats off for not having too many beers on. Years since I’ve been to Wales other than Cardiff but I always found the South West more welcoming than the North.


  4. Yep, those population stats are brilliant, even down to the numbers of people with a passport. I don’t think they are available to that micro level for Scotland. Nice post.


  5. “and the mysterious village of Churchstoke.”

    What kind of Welsh name is that?

    “so I looked up those population stats that Duncan loves so much.”

    Don’t they have to redo the gender numbers in case anyone now identifies as something else?

    “I think we should be told more about the statistically improbable male/female balance.”

    See my self identify comment above. 🙂

    “which seems quite generously sized for 706 people,”

    708 if you include the mixed/multiple ethnics.

    “Bucolic, in its way”

    I’ll give you that.

    “says WhatPub, as if that’s a commendable feature.”

    I would have gone with festooned instead of smothered.

    “NOT Brunning & Price”

    What gave it away? 🙂

    “The broccoli must be cooked perfectly here.”

    So, either the bread method, the salted water method or the white vinegar nearby method.



  6. A lot off guff talked about on here regarding numbers of beers OTB. Basically is down to proper stock management i.e. how much beer can you sell, and when? A good cellar person will know what, how much, and when they will sell it. Clearly from the write up this pub has an ever changing line up. The photo suggests there are only two cask lines? On Martin’s mid week visit only one was pulling. Fair play to the licensee, who is obviously proactively managing their beers. Some busy town and city centre pubs can successfully rotate 10 or more lines, so instead of continually crying ‘ too many beers on’, why not just evaluate the wider picture and then complement, or otherwise, the person in charge of the specific cellar/bar.


      1. That’s proper stock management, to be commended. Everywhere is different and the skill is getting it right, even busy pubs in Leeds run the number of lines down from Sunday onwards, rising again from Thu lunchtime. It’s all about getting it right for the pub. 15 lines can be amazing, 1 can disappoint in the wrong hands. There is no fixed formula and folk shouldn’t instantly cry ‘too many’.


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