April 2023.

Trekking up and down the A1 between Sheffield and Waterbeach we’re on the lookout for new and fascinating places to break the journey.

Just south of naughty Newark (famous for a seminal event in pub blogger history, forget what), you’ll find a brand new service station with Pret, Greggs and Burger King/

And a minute across the A1, a slightly older Marston’s family diner in Fernwood.

Fernwood ? Never heard of it.

Nor me, before the 2023 GBG brought us the Brews Brothers with its micro brews and sticky cakes in a tiny shopping precinct in a modern suburb of Newark.

Next to the Tawny Owl, a sign threatened us with Lord Halsbury if we attempted an overnight stay.

Fernwood hasn’t quite reached overnighter status yet, but Marston’s roadside diners continue to delight with their commitment to tradition and choice.

Almost a full range of the Wolverhampton wonders here, with Hobgoblin (Amber), Brakspear (Gold) and Wainwright (Gold) on round the corner, and 61 Deep and Sunbeam “conditioning”.

How do people tell those apart ?

You’d have no problem telling Pedigree apart; this was a strikingly sulphurous example, NBSS 3.5+, reminiscent of the very similar smart estate pubs in Sheffield and Wokingham rcently. You can tell it’s smart; the Pedi is £4.45, which came as a shock as I’d only taken four pound coins out of my purse.

It’s not a Proper Pub in the usual sense, but at least they designate an area of Drinkers Tables (stools rather than bench seats, but it’s the thought that counts) between the Sunday roasts and the pool table.

The sound of pool balls clacking competes with Ingrid Andress (who)

Honestly, as good a beer as you’ll get in Newark, though judging by my walk round bucolic Fernwood the locals have more economic roads to oblivion in mind…


  1. Halsbury’s Laws of England is just a book, albeit a very comprehensive one, which states the law as the editor sees it. It’s named after the first editor, the aforementioned Lord Halsbury and is currently edited by Lord Mackay of Clashfern. It’s NOT the law. Notices like that irritate me massively as they’re intended to intimidate people by baffling them with bullshit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As you may have gathered I’m not a cantankerous or particularly fussy chap, but I find the Pedigree branded glasses quite offensive with all the ‘art’ etc obscuring the actual beer.

    It’s interesting that you describe its taste as sulphurous as I tried a Pedigree just as I was getting into bitters (around 25 years ago, when choice was limited, at uni in Bangor anyway) and I thought it was seriously off as it had a strong eggy taste, which put me right off it. But now I realise it’s a feature not a bug, I should probably give it another go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember that pronounced egginess very well from many Marstons pubs in the East Midlands during the 1970s and 1980s, Rhys.

      The brewers seem to have moderated it to a hint of firework smoke perhaps these days?

      It did seem to intensify with the tiredness of the pint, if I remember rightly though, and the absence of that’s perhaps a sign of generally better keeping, but I wouldn’t know.


      1. I must have had a pint of Pedigree since and lived, but more research is the only answer. I didn’t have high hopes of fantastic cellar keeping at the Sand Martin in Leckwith, but then I remembered Marston’s have taken over Brains pubs, so a good reason to savour Romilly’s sensible dog/child-on-lead policy at last.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think it’s a corruption of the word ‘Llechwedd’ (Hillside). There’s a hamlet-ish called Leckwith on the hill overlooking the Leckwith area of Cardiff where the Cardiff City Stadium is built. To get the stadium built, Sam Haman (Cardiff City owner at the time) insisted it was only feasible if a new retail park was built around it, so I have him to thank for a Marston’s pub/carvery on my doorstep which I’ve never set foot in (yet!).

        (this is in response to “retiredmartin says: May 18, 2023 at 6:22 pm”, but they’re no ‘Reply’ button visible)


      3. Yes, such a lasting legacy. I don’t think you have to worry about making another visit to the CCS for the foreseeable future. I saw Man City lose at Maine Road once. My friend and I were Everton season ticket holders in our teens, and his brother’s mate got us free tickets in the home end as he taught in a nearby school that was used for matchday parking. Everton scored five, so we had to sit quiet and not draw attention to ourselves, but as we weren’t sitting far behind Peter Swales, who was getting dogs’ abuse and all sorts flung at him it was still pretty hairy.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m just back from the Romilly, Rhys, after a couple of faultless pints of Brains Light.

        I’d post a picture of the lacings, but don’t want to use up yet more of Martin’s media storage.

        They’ve got nice comfy garden furniture now, so you can escape the see-saw tables too.

        Mrs. E and I will likely be there any warm afternoon from 1600 onwards these days, me in a straw hat, and comfortably in the shade of the gazebo.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Might have to pop in before collecting my daughter from Llanover Hall this Wednesday, but you’ll be four hours into your sesh by then! I had a nice Brains in Butchers in Canton while watching the last 20 minutes of Wales’s 6 nations campaign (the only 20 minutes I watched.) Only around 10 old boys and me in there, everyone else on the Carling, but the Brains was in good nick I thought and only £3.20 a pint. Less and less pubs in Canton serving cask Brains Bitter now, and none selling Dark which I’ve only just started to appreciate.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Here’s a pic of a pint with no lacings.

        It was a tired, end-of-barrel TT Landlord at the Rosendale in W. Dulwich last weekend.

        £13.20 for that and a medium-sized glass of sauvignon blanc, and if you got peckish then a pizza for two was £35.

        Keeps us larfin’…

        Liked by 1 person

      7. And before some asks that’s £35 for a 20″ pizza for two;
        Spinach, egg, parmesan, tomato, mozzarella (v) 14/35
        with the beer and wine on top.

        How many folk can afford £48 (before travel, coffees, childminding) etc in Dulwich regularly ?


  3. “we’re on the lookout for new and fascinating places to break the journey.”

    I generally find everywhere has something of interest.

    After the plandemic my first several holidays were Lichfield, Stockport, Hull and Preston – mainly as Travelodge still had pre-plandemic pricing! And now I’m two weeks in sunny Borth for less than £500. Unfortunately I think Aberystwyth is a tad off route to Waterbeach…

    In five years living in up-and-coming Stockton (Sun Inn every couple of months) I’ve not exhausted possibilities. Globe in Hartlepool not yet visited.


      1. Grantham – wasn’t that the birthplace of our best/worst PM?

        When I go home eventually, it’ll be to where she took her Walk In The Wilderness…


      2. There’s a much disfigured (and recent) statue in the town square, and her handbag in the excellent museum. but Isaac Newton is the main draw. He invented gravity, which I always thought was a Brakspear beer.


  4. £4.45 for Pedigree isn’t bad compared to £6.25 for Harveys Sussex Best Bitter in the Harp, Chandos Place four days ago, or £4.95 for three inches of a sausage roll across in the Ship and Shovell.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. £4.30 feels on the high side to me, but is probably a pound cheaper than the premium lagers, and I’d rather pay a few pence extra for good quality.


      2. Yes, it’s up £1.20 from £3.10 this time four years ago.
        The equivalent Greene King family dining pubs don’t seem to have increased their beer or food prices much.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think it varies greatly by brand, IPA for £2.85 in February at the ‘Hungry Horse’ Kings Horse and for £4.30 last week at the ‘Chef and Brewer’ Kings Horse, both Stafford GK pubs.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve learnt from Discourse that it would have been £5 if I’d flashed my membership card but I’m not one for doing that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good for you. I think it’s appalling to give CAMRA members such a discount compared to the general public, who might even be more regular visitors.


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