Named as one of the top five garden restaurants in the UK by the Financial Times and winner of several awards, this nursery and farm shop supplies much of the vegetables for the kitchen at the Methuen Arms and it has its own butchery, which holds regular workshops and classes.
Pear Tree Inn Whitley, Wiltshire , SN12 8QX
THE PERSONAL TOUCH
There is a studied air of rusticity to the mellow stone Pear Tree, a pub that would not be out of place on a country estate, where 4x4s, barbours and wellies blend in more comfortably than many an anonymous city suit. Set back from the village lane, festooned with wisteria and surround by glorious gardens, where fragrant lilacs and cottage roses border manicured lawns, the former 17th-century working farm remains a true country pub, with rug-strewn stone-flagged floors, worn wooden tables and a crackling log fire drawing you into the rustic bar for a cracking pint from the local Box Steam Brewery. Following a period of closure and chequered recent history, Adrian Jenkins and Jackie Cosens took on the lease of the Pear Tree in May 2015 having worked their magic at the Three Daggers in Edington. Following a summer spruce up they pushed open the doors in the October with the Whitley residents and local press giving the place a huge ‘thumbs up’ following a grand opening party, which had nothing to do with the free flowing booze all evening, honest…!
Dogs (on leads) are very welcome in the bar and they can stay overnight in the garden rooms, where doggy bags are provided.
Children are allowed throughout the pub, they have their own fresh food menu and smaller portions can be ordered from the main menu. Infants can stay free in the rooms (cots provided) and z-beds (£25) for older children are also available. The Taylor’s Gold Standard family room in the converted barn (Garden Rooms) has a mezzanine with two single beds.
Depending on your mood or time of day, you are spoilt for choice for where to enjoy your summer alfresco drink, lunchtime sandwich or evening supper. Arrive early in May/June to bag a table under the glorious wisteria on the front terrace, or book ahead to enjoy a balmy summer supper on the rear terrace. Between the grassy areas dotted with tables and chairs for summer sipping, Adrian has plans to create a kitchen garden with a big chef’s table for cooking demonstrations and relaxing lunches.
Pear Tree Inn Whitley, Wiltshire , SN12 8QX
DO NOT DISTURB
Comfort and style sums up the eight contemporary bedrooms, all named after varieties of pears and split between the inn and a beautifully converted barn. For exposed beams, mullion windows and rural views stay in the inn, otherwise choose the converted barn with the garden on your doorstep, all rooms have upholstered easy chairs, striking statement pear motif wall coverings and fired earth tiled bathrooms.
Fresh coffee & milk (in mini flasks); sweets and handmade biscuits with Bramley Bathroom Products; bathrobes; magazines.
Smart TVs; clock radios; free wi-fi.
WHAT’S FOR BREAKFAST?
From the buffet table: fresh juices; seasonal fresh fruit; thick natural yoghurt; muesli/granola and other cereals. From the kitchen: full English; eggs Benedict; scrambled eggs and smoked salmon; eggs on sour dough; mushrooms on toast; bacon sandwich.
Pear Tree Inn Whitley, Wiltshire , SN12 8QX
MASTERING THE MENU
The heart of the business lies in the kitchen, the food echoing the rustic approach, with Adrian confidently making good use of local produce and quality ingredients that are reminiscent of its former life as an estate farm and piggery. Backed up by Adrian’s passion for food, his sound knowledge and cooking techniques, his seasonal bar snack, great value set weekday lunch (2 courses £16; 3 courses £20) and dinner menus draw appreciative foodies from near and far. Cooking is honest and the style modern and imaginative. Tuck into a dry-aged rib-eye steak, served with roast garlic butter, salad and fat chips, by the crackling fire in the beamed bar, or head through into the light, airy and quirkily furnished Garden Room, where French windows open up for summer alfresco suppers on the rear terrace. Bread, cakes and biscuits are baked daily in the kitchen.
ON THE MENU
(Starters £4.25-£8.75; Main Courses £12.75-£17.75: Desserts £6.50)
Guinea fowl terrine, chicory, hazelnut & blood orange salad, toast; Bubble & squeak, oak smoked streaky bacon, poached egg, hollandaise
Breast of lamb, mashed potato, greens, anchovy and caper dressing; Whole plaice, brown shrimp butter, salsa verdi, greens, pink fur potatoes; 12 hour roast’ Downland Farm’ pork belly, fennel & coriander crackling, wholegrain mustard mash, red cabbage, grilled Grenadier apple sauce
Rhubarb crumble, proper custard; mango & passionfruit cheesecake
Bar snacks (Posh Treats)
Sausage roll with spiced pear chutney
Beef burger, handmade bun, pickled cucumber chutney, rosemary & sea salt skinny chips
Chicken Caesar & Old Lyburn shavings sandwich
King prawn and dry cured bacon skewers with preserved lemon aioli
There’s always a choice of four roasts: Angus & Hereford roast sirloin (cooked rare), Yorkshire pudding; free range chicken, lemon and thyme; ‘Downland Farm’ pork belly, sage & onion stuffing, piggy crackling, apple sauce; “Penleigh Farm’ pressed Wiltshire Horn lamb shoulder, rosemary & cranberry gravy, fresh mint salsa verde; all served with seasonal Bromham vegetables
TIME TO EAT
Breakfast: 7.30am – 11.30am (Sunday 8.30am – 11am)
Lunch: 12 noon – 3pm
Sunday lunch: 12 noon – 8.30pm
Dinner: 6pm – 9.30pm
LOCAL, LOCAL, LOCAL
Easy Jose Coffee, Brew Barn, Winsley (www.easyjosecoffee.co.uk)
Pork – Downland Farm, Lackham (www.downlandproduce.co.uk)
Lamb – Penleigh Farm, Dilton Marsh supply Wiltshire horn lamb
Beef – Stokes Marsh Farm, Coulston and supplied by Walter Rose of Devizes (www.walterroseandson.co.uk)
Eggs – Good Egg Company, Semington (www.thegoodeggcompany.co.uk)
Dairy products from Blackmore Vale, Dorset + Wiltshire cheeses
BEHIND THE BAR
Adrian & Jackie’s passion for using local, artisan and quality suppliers extend to the drinks they offer behind the bar. On tap, you’ll find tip-top ales from Bath Ales, Kennet & Avon and Stonehenge microbreweries, alongside Freedom Organic Lager, Meantime London Stout, Orchard Pig Cider, a good range of local bottled beers, several boutique gins (Bathtub; Conker; Monkey; Botanist) and vodkas (Grey Goose, Black Cow, Chase) served with the best Fever Tree mixers. The ‘quaffing’ wine menu makes interesting reading, featuring small, independent vineyards and 16 by the glass. Coffee lovers will appreciate the freshly ground beans supplied by Easy Jose Coffee at nearby Winsley, just outside Bradford on Avon.
TIME AT THE BAR
10am – 11pm (11.30 Friday; 10.30 Sunday)
Pub open for breakfast from 7.30am/8.30am Sunday
Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.
Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Inn Location - Pear Tree Inn
Having farmed in the Winsley area for five generations and run a successful farm shop and café since 2008, the Bowles family jumped at the chance to extend their business and took on Neston Farm Shop in early 2015. Produce from the farm, including beef, pork, fruit, vegetables, honey and free-range eggs, are sold in the farm shop alongside breads, ales, ciders, chutneys and deli goodies from local artisan producers. There’s also a butchery and an excellent farm kitchen/café.
This long established family-run butchers prides itself on using traditional skills passed down through the generations and it now supplies Michelin star chefs. Its award-winning meat, sourced mainly from the local countryside, includes beef from the Aberdeen Angus and Hereford cross breeds.
Right in the heart of the historic Wiltshire town of Devizes, Wadworths is famous for its Victorian tower brewery. The 'Brewery Experience' lasts about 2 hours and afterwards you can sample a selection of the hand-crafted ales.
Taking place in Frome's town centre on the first Sunday of the month (between March and December, this brilliant market champions local food and drink producers, as well as contemporary designers and makers, vintage fashion stalls and furniture.
Established in 1997, this was one of the very first farmers' markets to be set up in the UK and it's still going strong every Saturday. Close to the city centre and railway station, it features dozens of local producers selling a range of products, from meat and vegetables to cakes and preserves.
Spruced up and re-opened in July 2015 by chef Alexander Venables and partner Alison Ward-Baptiste, formerly at the Tollgate at Holt, the new-look George offers pub classics, imaginative specials, excellent Sunday lunches, all prepared from local seasonal produce, and local ales in the informal bar. Super terrace and garden.
The Bowles family has been farming the area for five generations dating back to the late parts of the nineteenth century. The farm shop has been open since 2008 and it sells predominantly produce from the farm including beef, pork, fruit, vegetables, honey and free-range eggs. Excellent coffee and cream teas are served in the on-site cafe.
1 Inn Location - Pear Tree Inn
If you own a performance car and want to drive it as the designers intended, then book a track day at Castle Combe circuit to the north-west of Chippenham, If you're new to track driving, a team of instructors will be on hand to guide you.
This is the perfect destination if you enjoy nostalgic train journeys from a bygone era. Based at Blunsdon St Andrew, near Swindon, this very popular visitor attraction operates at weekends and on special days. Arrangements can be made for private parties.
This family-friendly 37-acre farm site offers plenty to see and do. There's a farm shop, nature trails and a host of animal residents to meet, including Shetland ponies, Dexter cattle and six popular pygmy goats.
At this Victorian boating station at Bathwick in Bath, you can enjoy a family jaunt on the water in a variety of vessels - skiffs, canoes and punts among them. Keep an eye out for kingfishers, herons and otters. It's a memorable day out for all ages.
Established some three decades ago by Clive and Christine King, this is an independent pottery selling quality ceramics on the premises.
If you love browsing in bookshops, then make a point of visiting Ex-LIbris in The Shambles, right at the heart of Bradford-on-Avon. Out-of-print books are sourced and the stock includes 4,000 second-hand books as well as a range of cards and book tokens.
The business has been running at The Granary in Bradford-on-Avon for over 30 years. Granary Trading specialises in shabby chic furniture and vintage pieces are expertly restored in the Wiltshire workshop.
Full of gift ideas, both traditional and contemporary, from its own handmade artisan soaps to design-led gifts and quirky vintage accessories, Quintessentially English in Lacock is just the place to find ideal presents for birthdays, weddings and anniversaries.
Situated in picturesque Tetbury on the edge of the Cotswolds, Lorfords is the place to go for decorative European antiques from the 18th century through to the 20th century. Discerning private buyers, antique dealers and interior designers are key to the business's established clientele.
Situated in Lacock's High Street, the National Trust Gift Shop represents an excellent destination for all manner of gifts to suit all occasions.
Near the splendid medieval Tithe Barn in Bradford on Avon's Barton Farm Country Park, you can browse amid a range of arts, crafts and antiques. It's the kind of place where it's easy to lose track of time. There's also the added bonus of a traditional tearoom on site.
Occupying three floors in Bradford-on-Avon's The Shambles, Tillons offers an extensive selection of china, glass, cutlery and cookware from leading manufacturers, including Bath Aqua Glass and Portmeirion.
Places to visit
Acknowledged by historians as one of Europe's most important Neolithic sites, Avebury is one of numerous ancient landmarks found within the Wessex region. It's fascinating to stroll among these brooding standing stones, which make up one of the largest remaining henge monuments.
Located just outside Melksham, this moated medieval manor has oriel windows and rooftops adorned with striking statues of soldiers, griffins and monkeys. Aside from the house, there are colourful gardens, a spring-fed fishpond and a gatehouse.
This picturesque Saxon village has changed little since the Middle Ages. Preserved by the National Trust, Lacock's stone cottages and narrow streets are regularly visited by film and television crews and looking round, you can understand why. Harry Potter and Cranford have been filmed here, among many familiar productions and adaptations. While in the village, take a look at Lacock Abbey and the Fox Talbot Museum of photography.
Designed by Boulton and Watt, the two beam engines, one dating from 1812, operate a huge cast-iron beam and were originally used to pump water up the canal. Restored in recent years and powered by steam, they can occasionally be seen working - an impressive spectacle. Crofton stands by the Kennet and Avon Canal, near Great Bedwyn.
Just a few minutes' walk from Corsham's historic town centre, Corsham Court is well worth a visit. This Elizabethan mansion dates back to 1582 and was acquired by Paul Methuen in 1745 to house his family's collection of 16th-and 17th century Italian and Flemish Master paintings and statuary.
Westonbirt is one of the best-known visitor attractions in the Cotswolds. A short drive to the south of Tetbury, the site has one of the largest collections of trees and shrubs in the world. A stroll between the trees at Westonbirt is an experience to cherish.
Bowood House lies within easy reach of Corsham, Chippenham and Calne. In addition to the house, which includes collections of heirlooms, porcelain and paintings, there are terraced gardens, in which to enjoy a leisurely stroll, and a lake. Expect, too, a gift shop, garden centre, tearoom and licensed restaurant.
Voted the prettiest village in England in 1962 and occupying a snug spot amid trees and hidden valleys, it's not surprising that Castle Combe is one of the region's most popular attractions. At one time the village was an important weaving community dotted with fulling mills. Expect handsome houses, chocolate-box cottages, several inns and a tearoom.
Nearby Lacock is not just about handsome buildings and centuries of history. Starting in the village, you can sample a choice of fine circular walks of varying grades and distances. Not far away is Corsham where you can take a stroll in Corsham Park, enjoying its peaceful atmosphere and lake views. Also close by are the Kennet and Avon Canal and the Cotswolds, great for country walks. For something a bit different, try Bath, the ideal city for walking. One of its most popular trails is the Bath Skyline Walk, a six-mile loop through glorious neighbouring countryside.
Around the villages of Lacock and Whitley, there’s a network of winding lanes and hidden tracks – perfect for cycling. To the north lie the Cotswolds and away to the east are the breezy expanses of the Marlborough Downs. The countryside around the nearby village of Box is also great for cycling – a superb mix of level terrain and dramatic landscape characterised by rolling fields, drystone walls and breathtaking views.
March is the month for the annual Bath Literature Festival, the end of May is the date for the four-day Chippenham Folk Festival, while June is when you’ll find the Corsham Walking Festival, offering a good selection of local trails to fascinating sites and ancient landmarks. The same month sees the town’s Pound Arts Summer Festival. Bradford-on-Avon stages talks, film shows and a comedy club during the year and in September the town hosts a popular annual walking festival.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
By Road: Whitley and Top Lane are signposted off A350 between Chippenham and Melksham.
By Train: Nearest rail station is Melksham, just 2 miles away, so an easy taxi ride to the inn.
, Whitley, Wiltshire , SN12 8QX