Friday, 15 March 2019

The Great West Way - Day 3 Devizes To Yattendon

The Great West Way is a 125-mile touring route between London and Bristol based on ancient roads. Recently we were invited on a press trip covering this touring route driving through characterful villages, towns full of history and bustling cities in the South West of England.


We started in Bristol, headed towards Bath, stopped in Devizes and now it was our day 3. You can catch up with our day 1 and day 2 here.


Day 3 Devizes to Yattendon

On day 3 we woke up in our luxurious lodge in Devizes Marina with a view of canal boats from our window. 


Our lodge had been so cosy last night and we would definitely recommend a stay here.


With two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a small but perfectly formed kitchen, a lounge/diner and a hot tub, the lodge had everything we needed. It was beautifully decorated too, which is always a plus point, in muted shades of browns and creams. 


You can hire a boat on the canal too if you want to unleash your inner Rosie and Jim.

So it was time to check out and make our way to our first stop, Wadworth Brewery. 


Wadworth Brewery is located in the heart of Devizes, a short drive from Devizes Marina. Established in 1875 this family-owned brewery still makes traditionally made ales today.


To find out more about the brewery we took a brewery tour that runs Monday to Saturday, all year round excluding bank holidays. 



The tour begins with a potted history of the brewery, and you are shown the brewing process in their traditional Victorian brewery.  

I didn't realise Wadworth Brewery produces 12.5 million pints a year, that's a lot of beer! The use of traditional methods are still going strong, and even the yeast is from a batch that is 45 years old.  However, Wadworth Brewery has also moved with the times and they now make gluten-free and vegan beer - not many people know that.




It was interesting to see the traditional pub signs being renovated and painted in the workshop at the brewery too. The good old British weather really does give the signs a battering. They are one of only a few last remaining brewers in the UK that still have an in-house sign writing team upholding this traditional art of hand painting. The skill that goes into painting each pub sign is obvious. 






It was also cool to see the shire horses. The shire horses at the brewery have been delivering real ales to local pubs for the past 140 years. Although they are working horses they also make promotional visits to pubs around the country and take part in county shows where they win awards for their immaculate turnout and grooming.

We ended the visit with a tasting of the real ales, which is always a plus point! The Wadworth Brewery Tour costs £12 per adult and takes around 2 and a half hours. It's an old brewery and there are some steep stairs so if you have mobility issues I would check with the brewery first that they can accommodate you to avoid disappoin
tment.



Our next stop was for lunch at the Three Tuns Freehouse, a 35-minute drive away. We had heard how amazing the food was so felt this drive was worth it, and it wasn't far from our next stop on the North Wessex Downs.

The Three Tuns Freehouse is a freehold village pub midway between Marlborough and Hungerford on the Wiltshire/Berkshire border. Service was efficient and as we ordered we were greeted by James, the chef who spoke with enthusiasm about the pub and the food he cooks. With the emphasis on quality food, from local suppliers, the Three Tuns has won a variety of awards such as the best local restaurant in the South West by the Good Food Guide 2019 and Sawdays 'Most Authentic Pub'.





But enough talking, it was time to order and before long our food arrived.


Mr W ordered the beetroot risotto. I was intrigued by this dish, the colour was very vivid, so had to try it and it was really tasty! Who knew beetroot risotto could be so flavourful, I was really surprised?

My ham egg and chips were very good too. Great quality ham from a butcher in Devizes with a good marbling of fat, and a tasty cure. Served with hand cut chips and two perfectly done fried eggs, it was a simple hearty flavourful plate for food.


The dessert was perfect for those with a sweet tooth - an amazingly rich chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake. Not the lightest of dessert yet incredibly moreish, the thin biscuit base was topped with a sticky chocolate filling and a rich peanut butter ganache. Served with a creamy milk sorbet and shavings of peanut brittle, it certainly was a dessert to die for!


Would we visit again? For sure, as we can say, hand on heart, its some of the best pub food we've ever had. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.


North Wessex Downs 




Our next stop was Pewsey Downs in the North Wessex Downs, an area of outstanding natural beauty.  There is a small car park at Pewsey Downs so that is useful to know if you are thinking of stopping here.



What's so special about Pewsey Downs is that it is an unspoilt chalk downland area, of special scientific interest. It covers three hills - Milk Hill, Walkers Hill and Knap Hill and includes the Alton Barnes white horse, made of chalk and cut into the hillside.


The horse is approximately 180 feet high and 160 feet long and was cut into the side of the mountain in 1812 under the commission of local farmer Robert Pile. It's the second biggest of the nine white horses in the Wiltshire countryside. 

We wrapped up well on our visit to the area, as it had been snowing and it was bitterly cold. There is no shelter in the area so if you do go for a walk be sure to wear weather appropriate clothing. Our guide Anne Shepley from North Wessex Downs tourism took us around the area. Check out the North Wessex Downs website where you can download maps and tourist information of the area. 


The landscape looked beautiful with a fine dusting of snow, I bet in the summer with a carpet of pretty flowers on the downland and the butterflies fluttering around it is a sight to be seen too. Apparently, there are rare early Gentian flowers in the Spring and Summer as well as Orchids and the internationally rare Marsh Fritillary butterflies   Landscape views stretch across the Vale of Pewsey to Salisbury Plain and on a clear day, you can see for miles.

Before long it was time to move on as we were getting frosty, but we will definitely return in the spring or summer.  

Yattendon 


Our last stop for today was the little village of Yattendon. By this time, the weather has worsened and had started to snow quite heavily.

The Royal Oak in Yattendon was our stop for the night. We were given one of the rooms in their cottage which had a four-poster bed. It's always nice to stay in a room with a four-poster, as it adds a little romance and touch of glamour to a stay.

The room was a good size, with a small seating area, large wardrobe, flat screen TV and dressing table. The furnishings were good quality and the room was decorated in shades of cream, browns and beige.



I was really impressed with the bathroom, which was large and very spacious. Bonus points for having two sinks, as Mr W always likes to hog one, and a large rainfall shower as well as a bath. 



A kettle and a tea and coffee tray was a nice touch, with homemade biscuits. I was asked if I wanted fresh milk, and they brought me soya milk at no extra charge. So nice not to have UHT milk. It's little touches like that, that make all the difference and make you think you are staying in a quality establishment.

The room was super warm and cosy, which we were pleased about as it was freezing outside. It had a little courtyard area outside too which would be perfect on a sunny day.

So after freshening up it was time to eat again. I must admit, after the lunch we had I wasn't that hungry but needs must, and after a drink in the hotel, and a look at the menu, my appetite started to return.




Some tasty prawns in a light tempura batter with sweet chilli sauce was a decent starter but didn't blow me away.







Mr W had the baked tortellini from the pizza oven with tomato melting mozzarella and basil, whilst I had the stuffed belly pork with apricot stuffing and green beans.  Both dishes were well executed, the stuffing added a lovely sweet flavour to the belly pork, and the baked tortellini being an excellent choice for vegetarians. For dessert, some good quality New Forest vanilla ice cream made a simple end to a meal, and at only £1.50 a scoop was a bargain. 

Service was very attentive at the restaurant. A little note - as this pub is in an area noted for hunting,  if you are a vegetarian the trophies on the walls may not be your sort of thing.  


That night we slept exceptionally well in our room and woke up to heavy snow fallen. Unfortunately, due to the weather, we decided to go home early and cut our trip short.  First, however it was time for breakfast.



A selection of cereals and fruit as well as toast were available and a cooked to order breakfast with some lovely choices you don't get everywhere.


I went with the smashed avocado and poached egg on toast which was delicious. A scattering of pine nuts added a little crunch, some chilli and lemon a little heat and sharpness.  Mr W enjoyed his Eggs Benedict which were cooked perfectly and not overdone.

So it was time to make our way home. Our next stop would have been a trip on a canal boat on the Kennet and Avon Canal and a visit to Newbury, to try the Newbury Pub and gin distillery, but we will have to return to do this again. 


The Great West Way continues through Berkshire and ends at the Thames in London. To continue on this route I would suggest a visit to Windsor Castle and perhaps Hampton Court or Kew Gardens. 

I hope you enjoyed our journey on the Great West Way, check out our videos below for more information on this 125 mile touring route between Bristol and London and the Great West Way website. 

Let me know what you thought of the trip!







* AD thanks to the Great West Way for inviting us on this press trip
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12 comments

  1. I would love to go on this great west way trip plus Devizes though never heard of it before has really left an impression on me.

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  2. Looks like you have had a fab time exploring the great West Way - I haven't been to Devizes for years

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    1. We could do with exploring Devizes more to be honest.

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  3. I love the idea of doing the Great West Way, I'm based in Bath so it would be the perfect trip....so much to see!

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  4. I'd definitely like to explore the Great West Way for myself! That cheesecake looks so amazing!

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  5. I had no idea about this route - how cool. This is such a great drive. Its perfect because you can do it with one day holiday with a weekend.

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  6. I'm not going to lie, I'm reading your post while I'm waiting for my dinner to cook and the delicious looking food is making me HANGRY haha!! Exploring our country like this would be absolutely EPIC, I'd like to try something like this xxx

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  7. I had no clue about this route either. Haven't been to Devizes in years but I drove through it on the way to Bath recently and it's just so pretty! I hadn't really noticed before! :D

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  8. Oh wow I had no idea about this route and I have lived in Bristol most of my life!! It sounds like a fantastic route with so much to see, do and learn about on the way. The places you stayed at both look beautiful and that chocolate and peanut butter pudding looks divine!! x

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    1. It's a new route based on ancient roads that they are promoting.

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