In Easter 1997, around the time Chesterfield were reaching the FA Cup semi-final, we stayed in an old railway carriage in Rowarth, about as far as you can get into the Dark Peak without reaching Manchester.

Our explorations told us that New Mills was a bit run-down, but Hayfield (pop. 2,709) the base from which pashmina people pretend to begin an assault on Kinder Scout, was a bit posh.

In the near quarter century since then New Mills has become the Shoreditch of the Peaks while Hayfield has changed not one iota, remaining the place one retires for a long weekend perusing Cheshire Life magazines over flat whites.

But it’s a pretty place, as my aerial shot shows.

Very picture postcard England.

Oh, and here’s one of those ancient post boxes that so excited you all in Handsworth.

The Pack Horse has a sign that’s barely less faded than the George VI post box, and a classic cobbled courtyard.

But inside it’s classic open-plan upmarket diner.

No notes, so no idea what the beer was, but luckily The Sunday Times just reviewed it (here) so you’ll be bound to get a full analysis of the beers there, I guess.

Anyway, cool, rich and smooth. And unmemorable (NBSS 3).

But all I can remember about the 20 minutes was being licked by the dogs that every adult took in this canine-friendly diner.


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