Tucked into the western scarp of the Cotswolds and reached via narrow winding lanes, pretty Sheepscombe radiates all of the mellow, sedate, bucolic charm you’d expect from such a haven. The village pub, dating from 1670 and a favourite haunt of Cider with Rosie author Laurie Lee, lives up to such expectations and then some. Views from the gardens are idyllic whilst within is all you’d hope for: log fires, clean-cut rustic furnishings, village chatter backed up by beers from Prescotts of Cheltenham, Wye Valley and Otter. Walkers, riders and locals all beat a path to the door beneath the pub’s famous carved sign showing a butcher supping a pint of ale with a pig tied to his leg. The pub takes its name from its association with Henry VIII’s Royal Deer Park, which was located nearby, when deer carcasses were hung in what is now the bar. The fulfilling fodder here includes locally sourced meats, including beef from Beech Farm; the beef, ale, mushroom and Stilton shortcrust pastry pie is a perennial favourite, as is the home-made burger – try one with a Double Gloucester and bacon topping. Alternative main courses take in cottage pie or salmon, cod, lemon and dill fishcakes and specials like home-made faggots, wholegrain mustard mash, mushy peas, bacon and onion gravy; or mushroom, spinach, Stilton and chestnut tartlet. Nibblers can graze on a delicious fish finger sandwich; others can share an oven-baked camembert or a farmhouse platter, while those thinking of tucking into the memorable Sunday roasts should book well ahead. To drink, there’s a cracking range of ales, and Westons Stowford Press and Rosie’s Pig ciders. Following a sympathetic extension, there is now more room to enjoy the delights of this lovely pub.