Another warm Tuesday saw me once again on the A49 between Shrewsbury and Ludlow. A quick look in the GBG yielded an entry for the Royal Oak in Cardington, not far from Church Stretton. The entry revealed that, like so many other pubs, the Royal Oak was closed on Mondays, but Tuesday lunchtime should see it open.
10 minutes slow and careful driving in narrow (sometimes very narrow) roads followed. Many rural pubs in this part of Shropshire, whilst not far from main roads or market towns, are pretty inaccessible. A trip to the White Horse at Pulverbatch a few weeks ago was similarly tense, although on that occasion a bank of freezing fog added an extra frisson.
Cardingtom proved to be a very attractive, but apparently completed deserted, small village, with the Royal Oak at one end and in a slight dip in the road.
There was a car park opposite with, encouragingly, a dozen cars in it.
The pub is allegedly Shropshire’s oldest continuously licensed premise, dating back to the 15th century.
The good news was that there were 15 or so customers in, all eating; a family group of four, two blokes and a table full of chaps who had clearly prebooked and were happily settling down to what looked like very generous lunchtime portions.
The pub is a small one, holding no more than 40 in any comfort, with an impressive inglenook fireplace presided over by a landlord with equally impressive girth.
Four cask beers; Ludlow Best (confusingly their lowest gravity beer), Wood’s Shropshire Lass from nearby Wistanstow, the ubiquitous (even here apparently) Doom Bar and, a welcome sight for bloggers everywhere;
Not perhaps an obvious choice for a destination pub in early Spring, but maybe the locals are a discerning bunch.
Whatever, it was good to see a busy lunchtime pub with a happy bunch of customers, even if some of them were on the Shipyard.