Ashley and Kelly McCarthy took over this 17th-century country pub more than a decade ago and have worked hard to transform it into a thriving inn. They added a bar area and extended the dining area, allowing them more space to increase the excellent themed events, cookery demonstrations and classes that have proved so popular. In the dining room they have a deli where freshly baked bread, home-made jams and chutneys, fresh fish and daily essentials can be bought. A marquee in the garden overlooks rolling countryside and is used for large functions, which includes a summer beer festival and regular farmers’ markets. Ashley takes pride in sourcing food and ale from small local producers and suppliers, including salads from his own polytunnel, and his menus are innovative and exciting. Lunches include light bites such as sandwiches, salads and wraps, plus there’s an excellent Sunday lunch menu featuring locally sourced roasted meats, chef’s specials and a dinner menu. Expect Yorkshire-style main courses such as slow-braised beef daube, venison cobbler, red cabbage, carrot purée and red wine jus; hay-baked guinea fowl breast, garlic roasted salsify, pommes Anna, bacon crumbs and Wensleydale pastry; or pan-fried plaice fillet, cauliflower pudding, rarebit tartlet, braised chicory and wilted spinach. Precede with open butternut lasagne, sautéed pumpkin in almond butter with nutmeg cream; or tandoori chicken terrine, onion bhaji, cucumber and onion seed raita. Finish with white chocolate and raspberry tart, honeycomb, ice cream, fruit coulis; or banana and pecan French pastry, toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream. All dishes come with a wine recommendation, or look to the handpumps – Rudgate Battle Axe and Timothy Taylor Landlord are among the choice of seven real ales.