Flying Childers, Stanton in Peak, Derbyshire
From time to time we like to stray off piste to bring you really special places we’ve stumbled across. Except we didn’t exactly stumble across this brilliant old pub, it’s our good friends Charlie and Hilary’s local and they just, er, pointed to it.
Stanton in Peak is a pretty estate village belonging to the Thornhill family who live at The Big House (yeh, all very Downton) so it’s one of those spick and span places full of lovely old cottages dripping with wisteria, smart Farrow & Ball paintwork and manicured front lawns. I don’t say this disparagingly, it’s beautiful. The handsome old pub takes central position and wraps round a corner. It’s easy to see that it was once a row of small farm workers cottages; it gets its name from a champion racehorse owned by the 4th Duke of Devonshire. The horse, born in 1715, is considered to by the first truly great racehorse in the history of the thoroughbred. Flying Childers was reputedly unbeaten. He died at the Duke’s stud at Chatsworth in 1741 aged 26.
Step inside and you’ll see that not much has changed. There might have been a lick of paint in the intervening quarter century but then again .. if you like your pubs unspoiled, you’ve hit the motherload. Battered furniture, nothing matching, wonky walls, dips in the floor, a bit of tatty panelling – just great. On a sharp January lunchtime I slipped in, installed myself in front of the roaring coal fire with a half of Wells Bombadier and earwigged a priceless exchange between two locals sat side by side on an ancient oak settle (snoring dogs at their feet). Something to do with young people not being arsed to work; ‘We had to get a job otherwise you didn’t have any money in your pocket to go out on a Sat’day neet ..’
The short, simple menu features the likes of home made soup. rabbit stew and cheese toasties. My home-baked ham in a brown bun with pickle was delicious – just the ticket before striking out to the Nine Ladies stone circle for a spot of ritual sacrifice. Just joking.