Friday, 9 December 2011

Filkins - Five Alls Pub

A short one mile amble from Five Alls Pub, Filkins to the Cotswold Weaver's Heritage Centre and back, via surrounding meadows.

HAD it not been pouring with rain driven across the landscape by gusty blasts of wind travelling at more than 40 miles an hour, we may have walked further, but it was not the weather for walking. Even dog seemed rather uncomfortable about the way the rain was beating down on his coat. (You will notice I have taken no photos of the countryside this time as I feared the rain would damage the camera)

We were visiting Filkins, a beautiful little Cotswold village that lies just three quarters of a mile off the A361 between Burford and Lechlade and about 20 miles from Oxford. Its an 18th century pub The Five Alls, which was once a coaching inn, and stands in the middle of the village. As it has recently undergone a face lift, everything gleams, inviting visitors to walk in over the flagstone floors, warm themselves on the open fire and admire the wooden ceiling in the bar area. A spacious and well designed restaurant area is also available, but obviously dogs are not allowed there, they are restricted to the bar area, but that is fine, its as stylish as the restaurant.

The name - The Five Alls - is confusing, did the original sign writer mean to write Five Ales, but placed an extra L where the E should have gone?

No look at the picture and you will notice that a picture of the devil's head is in the middle. he is surrounded by a lawyer who pleads for all, a parson who prays for all, a soldier who fights for all and a farmer who pays for all - the devil it seems governs all.

As it is a Breakspear pub, fine ale such as Oxford Gold and Breakspear Best Bitter are available at all times. These are brewed nearby at the market town of Witney and taste fantastic. Oxford Gold being the perfect lunch drink.

The food served here is really delicious, with very reasonably set menus served during lunch time. As the chips are cooked in goose fat, it goes without saying that they are both tasty and crunchy and are so beautifully served it was easy to imagine we were eating in a Five Star hotel.

Pythius was served lunch too, a small dish of shaped doggie biscuits which I allowed him to eat as it was such a cold day and he would need all the energy he could get when we struggled against the wind and rain after lunch.

The staff by the way are both professional and very friendly, nothing was too much trouble, their service made us all feel very spoiled.

The walk is easy, just a matter of turning left as you leave the pub, walking through the main street past magnificent yew hedging, St Peter's Church and then the War Memorial and Rouses Road marked by a red letter box. Turn down this road, past the village shop with its blue plaque dedicated to Sir Stafford Cripps, statesman and benefactor to the village. You will eventually come to a stile on the right hand side which leads to a muddy little lane, and then a large meadow, which had it not been raining we would have circumnavigated to give Pythius an extra run. Instead we walked to the far end of the field where we were about to spot the Cotswold Woollen Weavers Heritage Centre. Dogs are not normally allowed inside the centre, but the staff felt so sorry for us, we were all ushered inside. By this time we looked like drowned rats! Pythius was certainly soaking wet, while he sat waiting, water dribbled off his coat, such that it looked as if he was sitting in a small pond.

Weavers are still working at the centre, weaving some magnificent cloth from wool shawn from Cotswold sheep, known for its natural lustre. Ready made garments, hats and soft furnishings are also on sale. It is a fascinating place and well worth a visit.

Pythius says: I think that Auntie Liz and Helen act like bears with little brains at times. Who but them would venture forth when the rain is coming down in torrents and the wind is so strong it is almost blowing them over? Thank goodness that the lovely woman who served our lunch provided me with a little bowl of dog biscuits to keep me going. They were tasty and helped keep out the cold.

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