NES branch bus trip report - June 2019
North East Suffolk branch bus trip - 1st June 2019
Our 2nd annual bus trip saw us meet in Beccles Old Market on a warm and sunny day to await the arrival of our transport for the day, a 1971 poppy red bus. Everyone was punctual so the 40 of us on board were delighted to set off on time for the drive to the Wenhaston Star, our first stop of the day where we met up with another member. We found home-made sausage rolls available at the bar alongside the beer selection, which included three beers from Green Jack – Golden Best, LGM1 and Ripper. The group got their drinks and spread out in the bar area with many taking advantage of the sunshine and going into the lawned garden where there was also a marquee that provided shade. There is a war memorial opposite the pub, which several people stopped to take in before getting back on the bus for the next stage of our journey through Halesworth, Walpole and Heveningham to Laxfield in the neighbouring CAMRA branch area where we had the joy of two pubs to visit. I first went to the Laxfield Low House (Kings Head), which was bought from Adnams in 2018 and is now a community pub with all beers served on gravity from a tap room. The beers waiting for us to sample included Bull of the Woods Summer Pale, Green Jack Golden Best & Gone Fishing, Adnams Southwold Bitter, Lacons Encore and Star Wing Stain Glass Blue. There is a large enclosed garden to the rear with a view of the church over the top of the pub. After sampling the Summer Pale and Stain Glass Blue, I walked around the corner to the Laxfield Royal Oak which is in a nice position close to the church and museum. The bar and front patio were busy with visitors, guests attending a wedding and our group with their choice of Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold, Adnams Southwold Bitter, Earl Soham Victoria and Woodforde's Wherry. It was soon time to move on so we once again boarded the bus for our trip back over the (imaginary) border to North East Suffolk and our next stop, the Bramfield Queen's Head. The arrival of our bus in this small village resulted in several people coming out of their homes and some taking photos of the bus. The rural Grade II listed 16th Century pub re-opened under new ownership in August 2018 and has been tastefully refurbished. On the pub's single bar at our visit, beers from Adnams and Woodfordes were being served alongside Tipples Lady Evelyn and, as it was still a lovely day, many of us sat in the pub's lovely enclosed garden to the rear. With time moving on, we made our way back to the bus for the journey to our final pub of the day, the Shadingfield Fox. The original pub dates back to the 16th Century with some original features being retained. The bar features eight pumps with the beer range constantly changing. At our visit, breweries featured included Grain, Oakham, Tindall, St Peter's, Nene Valley and, a nice find, Nelson's Tree from Beccles Brewing Co, a new local brewery. I enjoyed my final drinks sitting on the pub's patio before it was time to board the bus one final time for our return journey to Beccles. Feedback suggests that this bus trip was enjoyed by all, especially as it took in rural pubs with virtually no public transport that most of us had not visited for a long time and, in some cases, never before.