Craven Arms, Appletreewick
Is this the perfect pub in the perfect location? Answers on a post card, but we think it’s a damn close thing. It doesn’t matter what the weather’s doing, this part of Wharfedale is perennially stunning and the view from the trestle tables by the front door is a jaw-dropper.
Then walk into the 16th century. We’re not saying it’s how it was then but authenticity slaps you round the chops. Huge stone flags, blackened beams, a gleaming open range and beautifully battered oak settles and tables throughout. Farming ephemera, old prints and fading photos on rough walls and clip rugs on the floor. And gas lights. You heard right. It’s gas lit; just imagine the atmosphere that creates – it’s the sort of place you never want to leave. And you haven’t seen the menu yet ..
Lots of local game features, supplied by men with names straight out of an ITV Sunday night drama; Gamekeeper Adam Stockdale brings rabbits, John ‘Flash’ Fawcett the beef and Andrew Bancroft of Carleton is the pig man. This bounty arrives on your plate in dishes including smoked rabbit casserole, grouse with celeriac puree, game chips and wild mushroom sauce and – hooray – a deep, rich, rib-sticking brisket of beef in red wine and star anise. Anyone fancy Cruckbarn air dried ham? Or Flash Fawcett’s carpaccio fillet of beef? You get the picture.
It’s a proper drinker’s pub too, with Wainwrights, Thwaites, Moorhouses and their own brew, Hetton and Cruck Barn on the pumps. Oh and talking of cruck barns, there is one. At the back. Built in 2006 to a completely genuine specification, with soaring oak trusses, horsehair and lime walls and an open fire big enough to have a party in – a great place for a big birthday.