Rural New Forest spot with traditional rooms, log fires, up to seven real ales and simple lunchtime food
The good pub guide review
There's a real down-on-the-farm feel to this appealing pub, and customers can immerse themselves in its bucolic charm if they fancy sleeping over in the shepherd's hut accommodation. The landlady's daughter runs Howen Farm, just next door, whose livestock you can watch grazing in the fields as you sup your ale. The three quite unchanging and neatly kept rooms are straightforward but full of proper traditional character, with black beams, prints and pictures celebrating local characters on the white walls, restored panelling, antique wheelback, spindleback and other old chairs and stools with colourful seats around solid tables on oak floors, and two roaring log fires. The back bar has books; darts and board games. Up to seven real ales are tapped from the cask including one named for the pub (from Bowman), Branscombe Vale Branoc, Flack Manor Double Drop, Hop Back Summer Lightning, Ringwood Best and Stonehenge Danish Dynamite. Also, nine wines by the glass (mulled wine in winter), 14 country wines, local cider and a September beer festival; service remains friendly and efficient even when the pub is packed (which it often is). Summer barbecues may be held in the neatly kept big garden, which has a marquee for poor weather and a pétanque pitch. There are three shepherd's huts to rent. Dogs are welcome but must be on a lead.
The good pub guide food review
Good value, farm-fresh food ' served at lunchtime only ' consists of excellent pork pies and sausage rolls made on the family farm next door (from their own outdoor-bred pigs), wholesome soups and quiches.