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Branch chair Colleen presents the Pub of the Season Winter 2018/9 plaque to the staff at the Wuthering Heights, Stanbury, February 2019

Branch chair Colleen presents the Pub of the Season Winter 2018/9 plaque to Nicci and Darren at the Wuthering Heights, Stanbury, February 2019

The Maypole, Long Preston.

Keighley & Craven CAMRA branch members have elected the Maypole at Long Preston as their Pub of the Season for Spring 2009. In many respects the quintessential English village inn, this 17th century building sits right beside the A65 in the centre of Long Preston, overlooking one of the two village greens and its eponymous maypole.

Robert, Elspeth and Rosie do their best to hide the keg fonts behind the Pub of the Season plaqueEntering by the front door, the tap room is to the left, with its Victorian carved oak benches, unusual leather-topped cast iron tables and a roaring fire in winter. Darts, dominoes and various pub games are available and there is a television screen, which is only used for major sporting events. Dogs are welcome in this room, which has a serving hatch at the rear of the single bar. The bar itself faces the lounge, which is situated to the right of the entrance. This cosy, comfortable, carpeted room also has a real fire and is furnished with both tables and chairs and relaxing settees. Both rooms are decorated with a mix of sporting prints and old photographs of village and surrounding area. Locals will tell you that the majestic stag's head mounted on the wall above the fireplace in the lounge has occasionally been known to talk to them, especially around Christmas and New Year! Methinks they've probably been sampling one too many of the excellent ales! Beyond the lounge is a smartly-appointed dining room, which is ideal for family meals, and for fine days, the pleasant back garden has picnic tables with umbrellas. Smokers are catered for with a small heated outside drinking area to the rear.

The Maypole Inn, Pub of the Season Spring 2009A board in the lounge lists every licensee from Ambrose Wigglesworth in 1695 up to the present incumbent, Robert Palmer, in 1983. With more than 25 years under their belts, Robert and his wife, Elspeth, are almost certainly the longest-serving licensees in our branch area, and it is this continuity of management, very rare nowadays, that makes the ambience and the welcome at the Maypole so special. These days Robert and Elspeth are finally starting to take things a little easier after years of continous hands-on work with Robert supervising the bar and Elspeth the kitchen, and you may find son Will or daughter Rose behind the bar, or one of the equally-friendly, efficient and welcoming staff.

There are four constantly-used handpumps on the bar, dispensing Moorhouses' Premier and Taylor's Landlord as the regular beers, plus two guest ales from local independent breweries - Bowland and Copper Dragon being the current favourites. A fifth pump is used for Weston's Old Rosie Cider in the summer and, sometimes, for a strong winter ale over the festive season. The kitchen turns out large portions of excellent traditional home-cooked meals, which can be eaten in the lounge or the dining room, and the specials board usually has a few, more exotic surprises. Bed and breakfast accommodation is available with six four-star letting rooms, which should be booked well in advance, such is their popularity.

The Maypole makes an excellent base for walking, cycling or fishing in the Southern Dales and Ribble Valley and, with a little careful planning, can easily be reached by public transport. The hourly Pennine Skipton-Giggleswick bus service (route 580) stops outside the door (not Sundays or evenings) and Long Preston station is less than 10 minutes walk away, with a regular, but infrequent service on the Leeds-Skipton-Lancaster/Carlisle routes.

Bar opening hours are: 11-2.30 & 6-12 Mon-Fri, 11-12 Sat & 12-11 Sun. Food is served: 12-2 Mon-Fri, 6-9 Mon-Thur, 6-9.30 Fri, 12-9.30 Sat & 12-9 Sun.

CAMRA Branch Publicity Officer Andy Grant presents Pub of the Season 2009 plaque to Robert and Elspeth Palmer at the Maypole, Tuesday 10th March 2009.The Maypole has, deservedly, been a Good Beer Guide entry for many years and also has a full entry in the Good Pub Guide. It has won four Pub of the Season awards, the last time being in 1997, so another presentation is long overdue. The Spring 2009 award was presented on Tuesday 10th March 2009.

Andy Grant

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