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Riddlesden‘s hidden gem - Autumn 2013

The Willow Tree, RiddlesdenPerched at the top of Riddlesden village you will find the Willow Tree, which at time of writing is about to celebrate its first anniversary of being reopened by Sean and Charlotte. Previous to this, like too many other good pubs, it had been closed, boarded up and destined for redevelopment.

Since reopening Sean and Charlotte have worked many a long hour to bring this lovely old community pub back to life and make it again a destination for locals and strangers alike. They have introduced many community activites such as quiz night each Tuesday, acoustic jam night first Sunday of the month, other live music sessions and many charity events – the pub is the village hub for Manorlands hospice. You can be guaranteed a friendly and personal welcome.

The Willow Tree is a fine stone built pub at the side of a tumbling stream and eponymous willow tree. Opposite there are commanding views of Keighley and Aire valley. There are some fine and rare old House of Heys windows. Stepping inside there is a traditional layout of separate bar and lounge served by a central bar. The bar has a pool table, juke box and TV. To your left the lounge has interwar décor with some lovely wood panelling and open fire on cold days. By the stream is a patio/smoking area.

The front porch at the Willow Tree, RiddlesdenSean and Charlotte are very enthusiastic about their real ales, and introduced them right at the start. However more recently they have decided to concentrate on real ales from the likes of Oakham and locally Bridgehouse, Goose Eye, Ilkley and Copper Dragon. You will usually find 3 varied real ales on sale. Sean & Charlotte are now signed up to CAMRA’s LocAle scheme which encourages local beers.

There are also totally homemade meals (even the chips are peeled and cooked to order!) with veggie specials available, served 12 to 2.30 & 5 to 8 from Tuesday to Saturday, 12 to late Sunday. There is also an upstairs function room.

The Willow Tree is a little off the beaten track but well worth a visit, and very handy for walks over Ilkley Moor. It can be found on Ilkley Road.

The local 708 TLC bus unfortunately ceases to run at 6 P.M., but the 662, 727, 728, 729 & 760 all stop at the bottom of the hill on Bradford Rd. You can walk up the hill using footpaths from Bar Lane in less than 10 minutes.

Opening hours are 12 till late every day except Monday (4 till late).

Guest writer - Andy Mosby

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