Tucked away in perfect walking country, this stone-built 300-year-old free house is close to Canons Ashby, an Elizabethan manor house run by the National Trust. The pub’s quirky garden is full of interesting recycled items, decorative trees and shrubs, and secluded corners. Paul and Denise Egerton grow their own salads and herbs here, and it’s also a haven for wildlife – 50 different species of bird, 200 species of moth and 20 of butterfly have all been spotted. Walkers and their dogs relax on the terrace when it’s warm; in winter, real fires warm the stone-flagged interior. Up to five real ales and Westons Old Rosie cider are on tap. Food is honestly priced and wholesome: soups, baguettes, home-made salmon fishcakes, and sausage and bean casserole are some of the choices, along with vegetarian options. Weekend bar lunches include quality platters of meat, fish or British cheeses, as well as Yorkshire puddings filled with steak and kidney, and a choice of casseroles.