I know how much you all like these non-pub posts of obscure Cambridgeshire villages, so here’s my rest stop last Monday in Stilton, the biggest even in Stilton since the A1 bypass opened in 1958 (a year you were still allowed to barge a goalie into the net).

I’ve never been to a pub in Stilton (pop. 2,455), which means it hasn’t graced the GBG in at least 25 years. But The Bell is in Roger Protz’s wonderful Great North Road, which is packed with old coaching inns I’ve never been in. If I ever finish ticking the Guide I might do them all.

The village comes to an abrupt dead end half a mile from Junction 16 of the A1(M) and the map (GBG App version) reveals a cluster of place names I’m ashamed to say are completely new to me. I finally “did” Yaxley the other year but what on earth are Morborne, Washingley and what is that pub at Chapel End ?

Across the A1 lies the only GBG pub below sea level in England and the drabness of the Fens, if you can find a route to Glatton you reach the place BRAPA sneaked in a Higgidy pie, but Stilton is closer to affluent Corby Oundle in feel.

Ah, yes. Cheese. Blimey, CAMRA have been here, if not to stick a GBG sticker in the window.

I very nearly waited for the Bell to open so I could have the cheese platter but 10:15 seemed a bit early for £11 worth of fromage, even for me.

I might as well walk the whole village, admiring the 12th century stained glass,

and the boarded up pub,

and the first snowdrops of Spring in the churchyard,

Actually, it was scarily quiet, the wide streets giving it a sense of the deserted. And I hate to see closed pubs like this rare Charlie Wells pub this far north. Even if they do open later.

Two abandoned campervans on that street (not ours) have handwritten signs telling me they’ll be towed away “LATER THAT DAY”. Whether that day was actually that day, or 1958, or Domesday, I didn’t wait to find out.

7 thoughts on “STILTON – STILL A BIG CHEESE ?

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