Malvern Hills Trip 2016

Branch Trip to Ledbury

The first thing I hear you ask is, Where is Ledbury and why go there …?

Well, at the risk of stating the obvious, because there is real ale to be had thereabouts and we are CAMRA after all!  Oh, and by the way, it’s near Malvern, top end of the Severn estuary, for those who don’t know!

So, on 20th August, an intrepid group assembled on Leicester Station and headed off via a change at New Street in Birmingham, to arrive at Ledbury in time for opening of the local hostelries at 11 am.
The first port of call was the Seven Stars, a part medieval building exhibiting large amounts of timber framing but with some very modern twists.  Following a fire some years ago, it had to be extensively refurbished and now boasts plate glass doors with brushed metal handles, all a stark contrast to the older parts of the building, but it all works in what might be thought an unbelievable way, to give a very pleasant ambience for the drinking experience.  Talking of which, Olde Swan’s Original and Wye Valley’s Bitter were on the bar – both very acceptable after the long train rides.

We then moved round the corner to the Prince of Wales, which is situated on a pedestrian-only alley between the old Grammar School – a building on stilts in the manner of the one in Market Harborough – and the Parish Church.

This pub is well worth a visit, as it has seven real ales on, including Ledbury Dark, a very quaffable mild, as a resident, and guest Big Smoke Solaris, a 3.8 % pale ale, which was slightly citrus without being grapefruit-in-a-glass, enough to make it a pleasant session ale.  Along side these there are also beers from Wye Valley, Charles Wells and Hobsons as their permanent fixtures.  It is a delightful place with many interesting, informative and funny posters decorating the walls.  Food is available.

After this, we were summoned for the first and, as it turned out, only bus journey of the day.  Our well-organised Branch Social Secretary Dave Roche had scheduled all the train and bus timetables to ensure maximum connectivity with minimal waiting around, as is his efficient custom, unlike the bus service, which was late and meant us waiting in what had become a small local monsoon – fortunately sheltering under said Grammar School next to the bus stop.

So, while the weather was going steadily downhill, we headed very much in the opposite direction, up to Upper Colwall, between Ledbury and Great Malvern, and to the Chase Inn, which proved a welcome shelter once we had improved our map-reading skills sufficiently to find it!  This was quite an interesting place with what is a quite old-fashioned interior, having bow and spindle backed chairs and a very busy tapestry patterned carpet, rather 1970’s.  However, it was comfortable, the food was good, as was the Batham’s Best Bitter.  They also regularly have beers from Ledbury, Malvern Hills and Wood.

We then braved the walk back up the hill, gazing back at the magnificent view towards Hereford and Wales and then looking ahead, within 50 meters, to a similarly impressive view over Great Malvern and out towards Worcester and the Severn Valley.  This walk brought us to the Wyche Inn in Upper Wyche, a pub therefore with some of the best views in the country!  Wye Valley H.P.A. was available, which must have been good, since I didn’t write anything to the contrary!  The bar was a bit of a barn – large, bare and a bit lacking in atmosphere.  But, this was made up for by the good company, the beers and the view!

Fortunately the weather had dried up when we left and it was down hill all the way into Great Malvern so, when the bus didn’t stop, we simply set off on foot to arrive at the Great Malvern Hotel in the middle of town.  The bar gives good views of the street-life passing by outside while supping the excellent Malvern Hills Black Pear.  No, not a perry as you might suspect, but  pleasant golden ale.

Our final call before the train to start for home, was the Morgan Inn, situated conveniently near the station. This is a Wye Valley house. The correct order of consumption is the HPA first, which is relatively delicate, ahead of the powerful and very moreish 4.5% Butty Bach.

Having successfully negotiated the train back to New Street, there was time for a couple in what Dave thinks was the Post Office Vaults (it was all getting a bit hazy for us by then) although I definitely don’t remember it being as red as it appears on the What Pub website!  Had an excellent pint of Hobson’s Mild but don’t remember any more: it had been a really good day ….!

If having read this, it has whetted your appetite, keep an eye on the Branch Diary for Dave’s next trip, which will be at the beginning of December, details to be announced.

 

Written By:

Fred Sleath


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Last updated 04-October-2016 By admin