Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Mount Inn, Stanton

All the walks for our next book Paws Along the Way have been walked now, so Pythius and I are coping with the difficult bit, which is to check and double check that we have got them right and haven't missed anything important. This often means walking the walk again.
Our quest today was to check the parish church, The Church of St Michael and All Angels, at Stanton which dates back to the 12th century. It is here, at the north west end of the nave, several bench ends are deeply ringed by the dog chains of the sheepdogs, brought to the church by their masters. On my previous visit I forgot to take a photograph of these ends.  I rectified that today, though if I am really truthful, Pythius was not as enthusiastic about a photo shoot with him sitting by these benches as I was - as you can see from the  look on his face.

This story fascinated me, imagine being able to take your dog to a church service with you.  When speaking to the publican Karl Bason who runs the local pub The Mount Inn about our reason for visiting Stanton, he explained that they often brought their sheep in too  Imagine that!!
Apparently the rich folk congregated at one side of the church
and the shepherds and their flocks the other. Gosh it must have been both smelly and noisy.
Pythius' lead on the bench end

Pythius not very happy about the  photo shoot.

    Our visit to the Mount Inn was all I expected it to be.  This is a Donnington's pub, which is why you will spot the little beer barrel on the waysign leading through the church yard,  as this delightful Cotswold  brewery has a  62 mile way named after it which links its pubs in a circular walks. This means you can walk from one Donnington pub to another, stopping to enjoy a pint of their BB along the way.
The Mount Inn, is one such pub. 
If you are lucky enough to arrive at The Mount Inn when the church clock chimes noon on a winter's day, as we did, you get to sit by its roaring log fire, or choose a seat by the far window, which overlooks the village of Stanton and surrounding district.
But people don't just flock to this  remarkable pub for the fire and the view, they visit because the moment you walk through the door you feel at home and welcome. Pythius was made particularly welcome. Indeed he was even offered the chance to sit in the resident dog's basket by the fire, having refreshed himself with the water bowl for dogs by the main door. He declined actually, preferring to place his paws under our table because he knows a chap should never soil another chap's bed.
Karl and Pip Baston - The Mount Inn
  As you can see from the photo of the lovely couple that run this inn, Karl is the chef and Pip runs front of the house. Together, with their staff, they generate a happy, relaxed atmosphere which makes visitors feel at home even if they arrive (as we did) with muddy boots, which we decided to remove at the door before going inside.  The food is great, offering visitors a chance to enjoy a drink and lunch for about £10, which Karl believes is fair price, offering guests a well cooked meal at a reasonable price - and yes - the food  really delicious. As Karl sources all his food locally, it is doubly good.
The Mount Inn stands alongside The Cotswold Way, and is the perfect place to start or end a walk. The view from the pub is breathtaking and the walks as long or as short as you want them to be.  Only one snag for dog walkers - horses.  As we passed through the village we met up with more than half a dozen horse riders and on the walk along the Cotswold Way, even more.  But providing you keep your dog firmly on the lead when you hear the sound of horses hooves, all will be well.   

Pythius has his say:
I have to admit I am not always happy about Helen's photo shoot ideas - tying me to a church bench  was not one of her best ideas and I let her know that.  However all was forgiven when we entered the Mount Inn.  What a pub this is - gosh how welcome I was made. And to be offered the resident dog's bed by the fire, now that  really was something to shout about.  But how could I possibly use another fellow's bed. That wouldn't be right, besides I rather like placing my paws under the table.

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