In Sheffield & District branch we get to enter two of our Pub of the Year award winners into the national competition – one in Yorkshire and one in North Derbyshire. Our Derbyshire entry is the Anglers Rest in Bamford and we’ll be presenting them with our District Pub of the Year award on 30 July at 3pm (all welcome to join us there for a beer!)
Part of the deal of entering a pub in the North Derbyshire competition is you have to help out judging all the other branch’s entries and this made for an enjoyable day out!
Judging is to a set criteria, this includes factors such as beer quality, clientele mix, cleanliness, service, promotion of real ale, value for money, community and sympathy with CAMRA’s aims.
We started with a ride on the Stagecoach X17 bus from Sheffield to Matlock, this is a limited stop service routed via the Dronfield by-pass and Chesterfield and takes just over an hour to get there, where we planned to visit the Matlock & Dales entry to the competition.
The Twenty Ten in Matlock was of a relatively modern design with a mixture of sofa areas and dining type table areas and a pool table at the back. The bar boasted a good selection of cask ales along with some interesting craft beers on keg plus some quality sausage rolls and other bar snacks as well as a more substantial food menu, all served by a friendly manager and staff. Standards were high with everything kept clean and tidy and this is the pub that went on to win the competition.
Whilst in Matlock we took the opportunity to visit Bod, newly opened just a few doors down, the latest branch of a cafe-bar chain owned by Titanic Brewery. This was a laid back kind of place with two counters – a traditional pub bar serving beers from Titanic plus guests and a coffee shop counter serving hot drinks and some rather nice cakes!
A half hour or so back on the X17 bus took us to Chesterfield to judge their entry, the Chesterfield Arms, which is now also home to Twisted Devil brewery, located in what used to be the barn function room. A visit here is of course an opportunity to try their beers, however there is a wide range of ales from various breweries both modern and traditional, including the classic bitter that is Bass! Bar snacks from the fridge include pork pies and cheese platters whilst the hot food menu features pizzas, wings and loaded fries.
Again, whilst in the area, we succumbed to the temptation to pop in another close by pub that we had to walk past to reach the bus stop – the Neptune Beer Emporium is on a residential street just down the hill and is of an interesting design – you walk in and are immediately faced with the bar, which features a great range of reasonably priced beers on both cask and keg and there are rooms to both the left and right plus a decent sized outdoor drinking area at the rear. This pub also regularly features live music.
Our next hop was on TM Travel’s number 15 bus to judge the Dronfield & District branch entry. The bus was faster than expected (well I suppose the timetable might have gave us a clue I suppose) as it jumped on the Dronfield by-pass for a quick whizz up to Unstone then just nipped up the country lane to drop us outside the Miners Arms in Hundall, which sits on the edge of a hill in a rural spot with a great view over the valley. The Miners is a traditional local village boozer with a range of reasonably priced ales and ciders, pool table, sport on TV, occasional live music and beer garden. You can usually find beer from Pictish along with the local Drone Valley brewery plus changing guests, a great atmosphere and lots of dogs wandering around looking for attention!
To get back to Sheffield we had to join the next number 15 bus down to Dronfield town centre and connect with the Stagecoach 43 or 44 to Sheffield, this of course offers the chance for a beer between buses around the Dronfield High Street area (pubs here include the Victoria, Blue Stoops, Manor House Hotel and Green Dragon) or Dronfield Bottom (options include the Dronfield Arms, Underdog and White Swan). As it turned out the TM Travel bus didn’t turn up to pick us up in Hundall so a taxi was summonsed which quickly took us down to Dronfield, giving us time to visit 2 pubs with beer gardens before the bus to Sheffield was due!
More information about the pubs – visit whatpub.com, CAMRA’s national pub database maintained by volunteers (we are looking for some assistance with this if you are interested by the way!)
Stagecoach: a Gold DayRider offers unlimited travel on all their buses in Derbyshire plus South & West Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire along with Supertram. Adult £7.80, group of up to 5 people £20.
Bus 43/44 provides up to 3 buses an hour between Sheffield and Dronfield whilst the X17 runs hourly through to Matlock (half hourly as far as Chesterfield).
TM Travel: Their Daysaver costs £4.50. The rural bus 15 runs once every 2 hours.
Derbyshire Wayfarer: Includes almost all buses and trains in Derbyshire plus direct services between Sheffield and Derbyshire, adult £13.40, family (2 adults and 3 children) £24.