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Thursday, 5 September 2019

#264 The Bell Inn, Lower Heyford, Oxfordshire : 1998 to 2019

This is another in the new series of pubs that we visited during Emma Jane's sojourn in the South that we've returned to in recent times. At least, this time, I remember our first visit.
It is quite rare that I remember visits to pubs from almost 20 years ago, but our first visit to The Bell on the evening of Thursday 3rd September 1998 is an exception. The Oxford Canal is a very rural waterway and it tends to meander away from many villages. So, when we arrived at Lower Heyford, we expected to stay in the one pub all night. Unfortunately, we arrived at the tail end of a wake which had occupied the pub and the kitchen was closed for the evening. After taking advice from the locals, we had a pint and moved on to 'The Sausage Pub' (Horse & Groom), but I'm not sure whether we walked or got a taxi!

After a few years we returned, on the evening of Sunday 22nd August 2004.
This time, I have no recollection of the visit as we travelled back from Oxford. It appears that the signage had stayed the same, but that the ivy had been cut back somewhat!

That was the last time we ventured further south than Banbury on the Oxford Canal until this year.
This was a lunchtime stop on Sunday 28th July 2019 and the first thing I noticed was the lack of ivy. Also, the signage had been replaced and it is now The Bell Inn. Apart from that, I don't think it has changed much in 21 years (even the telegraph wires and TV aerials are the same!) The Sunday lunch was very good as was the beer (whatever it was - I don't take notes!)

Interestingly, the canal view from the road bridge has probably changed little more than the pub.
Oxford Canal, Lower Heyford 1998
Oxford Canal, Lower Heyford 2019


  1. Has the canal got filthier over the past 20 years (last two pictures)? Love these posts as canalside pubs are usually some of the most pubby...

    1. Cheers - not sure whether it's just a trick of the film/light, but it does look a bit 'muddier' now!