While we all love going for a good hike, there’s more to getting out and about in the British countryside than simply enjoying the scenery. Trekking presents a great opportunity to see somewhere new and, as much as we enjoy going on long walks, it’s also brilliant to stumble across local pubs where you can reward yourself after a hard day’s hiking.
As we’re focusing on the Test Way this month, we thought we’d detail a few of the top watering holes you can visit along its length.
The Bear and Ragged Staff
The Bear and Ragged Staff is situated on the road between Romsey and Stockbridge, and is relatively close to Mottisfont Abbey. This pub is an institution in the Test Valley, having been serving up refreshments to travellers since the 17th century.
It gets its name from the heraldic sign, which features a bear holding a ragged staff, which is usually associated with the Earls of Warwick. Step inside and you’ll be greeted by a friendly welcome and delicious smells wafting from its kitchen. The pub prides itself on using predominantly locally-sourced ingredients, so you’ll be getting a taste of Hampshire at its finest if you stop here.
The Coronation Arms in St Mary Bourne is run by a local family and is certainly a welcoming place to stop for a beer and to rest your legs before continuing with the hike. There are plenty of real ales on draft, while the menu has been created by chef Tom Peart.
This pub also boasts a fantastic beer garden - certainly a great bonus on a sunny day. Pop in for a drink, or stay longer and sample their food. Either way, it’s a great stop to make during your Test Way walk.
The Plough Inn
You can’t get much closer to the Test Way than the Plough Inn in Longparish does, given that the footpath runs straight through its car park! That means it’s a very simple detour to grab a drink or some grub.
The pub itself dates back to the early 18th century, although the current owners have only been in situ since 2012. James Durrant and his team put together an ever-changing menu featuring seasonal local ingredients that will make your mouth water. If you’re passing by on a Sunday, you can enjoy a full roast with all the trimmings.
The White Hart Inn
Located in the centre of historic Stockbridge is the White Hart Inn, a traditional 16th-century coaching inn that still offers accommodation to this day. If you’re just passing through, make sure you pause to enjoy a pint in the beer garden or sample some of the tasty meals on its menu.
British pub classics are the order of the day where the food is concerned, ensuring that you’ll be well fuelled for the next leg of your hike.
Right at the end of the Test Way you’ll find the Anchor Inn in Eling, a pub with delightful waterfront views of Eling Wharf. The menu is standard pub fare, but the pint you enjoy from the bar after having completed the 44 mile Test Way will taste incredible.
Sit back and enjoy the lively atmosphere inside, or head outside to soak up the sunshine and enjoy the sight of the boats bobbing on the water.
If reading this has tempted you to get out on the Test way, then make sure you take advantage of our walking boots clearance