Pub of the week – Birch Hall Inn, Beck Hole

As you enter ‘Big Bar’ of the Birch Hall Inn you may notice a stopped clock on the wall. It acts both as a metaphor and a defiant statement of fact – time has not touched this magnificent little boozer for as long as anyone can remember.

Beck Hole is few hundred yards and a vertiginous drop away from Goathland. It consists of little more than half a dozen houses, a quoits pitch and a picturesque bridge over a beck. It’s by this bridge the pub has perched since the 1600’s – at least as far as anyone can tell, its definitive history is not known.

Actually it’s not strictly one pub, its two pubs separated by a sweet shop. There’s the cosy, room-for-8-ish ‘big bar’, then the sweet shop – it sells sweets, simple as that – and then the ‘little bar’, which has the feel of a railway station waiting room lined with antique nik-naks and comfortably accommodates about 10 skinny people (although they have had 31 in here one mad afternoon).

While all are kind of separate they are connected by a bar-cum-counter and a hatch into the big bar. It sounds confusing but it all makes perfect sense when you’re sat in a cosy corner with a pint of Beckwatter (the local brew) and one of the delights on the admirably truncated menu.

To order in the big bar you approach the counter made of coins, ring a bicycle bell on a stick, the landlady’s head appears and you ask for a pint and either a pork pie with pickle, a Beck Hole butty or a Beer cake. Perfection. What more could you ever need?

The aforementioned landlady, Glenys Charlton, has lived and worked in the pub since 1981 and it’s her dedication we have to thank for keeping this national treasure in such a gloriously unspoilt state. The Birch Hall Inn’s customers are mainly walkers, adventurous Goathland visitors and people who love superb boozers. If you’re one of the latter you really should make the effort to stop by.

Welcome 5

Drinks selection 3

Atmosphere 5

Food 5

Prices 4

Pictures are here: http://bit.ly/we1E2Y

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