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Monday, 28 October 2013

Kennet & Avon Canal - Part III (Pewsey Wharf to Newbury)

 After the rain of the previous evening the weather when we set off from Pewsey was reasonably warm, but still a bit damp. Our first stop was for lunch at Stibb Green...well that's what our Nicholson's Guide called it. However, as we were walking up the hill away from the canal (desperately trying to avoid the traffic) the road signs were directing us to Burbage.
Three Horseshoes, Burbage
 It was the right place and a very pleasant lunch was served, even if it wasn't cheap. Then it was back to the boat, taking our lives in our hands, for a pleasant afternoon boating. The rain had passed and we were now descending from the summit of the canal.

Our evening stop for the night was Great Bedwyn, which fortunately for us has two pubs.
Three Tuns, Great Bedwyn
This was the first one we ventured into, but the menu was a bit too pretentious even for us to consider, so we had one pint and moved on down the street.
Cross Keys, Great Bedwyn
The Cross Keys was much more to our liking and we stayed there for the rest of the evening. 

The next day took us through more locks and we reached Hungerford for lunch. It is a pleasant town with quite a few pubs to choose from - and we managed three of them!
The Borough Arms, Hungerford
The Plume of Feathers Inn, Hungerford
Three Swans Hotel, Hungerford
Its not often that we manage a lunchtime pub crawl, but this was a pleasant sampling of the pubs on the main street in Hungerford. The sun was still shining as we headed off again on our continuing journey of discovery.

We reached the village of Kintbury which was a pleasant place to stop and only a short walk to the station so that Andrew could get his train home in the morning. Again we managed to find three pubs.
The Blue Ball, Kintbury
Our first impression was of a busy, thriving, friendly village pub (well, it was a Friday night!). We had, inadvertently, sat at the table which should have been reserved for the regular Friday night card game and we were asked, in a very friendly manner, if we could move to another table by eight o'clock. That part of the pub was very busy so we retreated to the restaurant side of the pub and had our evening meal.

The meal was only OK and so we headed off into the dark and found this next pub.
Prince of Wales, Kintbury
This was also quite busy, but a more down market pub. It also had the right 'village local' feel but after a pint we were on our way again.
Dundas Arms, Kintbury
It is a very upmarket establishment and I ended up taking an interior shot as it was very dark outside. The Dundas Arms has a long history and is a hotel as well as being a pub and restaurant.

Next day, after bidding Andrew farewell at Kintbury Station we set out on our Black Prince hire boat, Anitra, heading towards Reading. We got as far as Newbury.
Lock, Stock and Barrel, Newbury
Despite its ideal location, this pub is a fairly soulless place and we only had one pint before moving on. We actually went into a couple of pubs before we ended up here where we knew we'd get some decent food.
The Hatchet Inn, Newbury
This was the first time on our trip that we'd been saved from potential disaster by a Wetherspoon pub! After a couple of pints and some fairly bog-standard food, we moved on and found a pub that has taken a novel approach.
Allsorts, Newbury
From the outside it looks like a pleasant, proper pub but inside it has been done out like a 50's American café/diner. It's not to my taste, but I'll never knock anyone for trying something different.

We decided that there probably wasn't much more to see by continuing our journey we stayed in Newbury for the evening session. Our lunchtime reconnaissance showed us that Newbury is a very pleasant place with plenty of pubs to sample.
Coopers Arms, Newbury
This time we headed to the other side of town and found the Coopers Arms. After just the one pint we decided to venture forth again...and promptly got lost! This is quite a remarkable feat as Newbury isn't a big town, but we managed it! We soon recovered our bearings and ended up here - 
The Monument, Newbury
This is a fairly typical town centre boozer. We only had one pint before getting out before the band started their set. It was only when we were outside the pub that we discovered the name of the band - Fuckshovel. We went to the local Thai restaurant which was our last port of call for the evening.

And that's where we end for this week.

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