Unleash The Dragon

The village of Helmshore lies in the Rosendale Valley and is roughly 16 miles to the north of Manchester. It owes its expansion to the Industrial Revolution and the need to house large numbers of mill workers. More recently it became a hub for Manchester commuters. It boasts the Helmshore Mills Textile Museum and, more importantly, several public houses.

Most prominent of these and one of my favourite boozers is the Robin Hood on Holcombe Road. Now a Copper Dragon house, it dates from the 1880s and was originally two mill cottages. Up to 40 people lived in the cottages at one time and the pub is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of a mill worker by the name of Wilf. The layout is traditional with a small bar serving three rooms and blazing log fires keep it warm during winter. The windows are etched with the livery of Glen Top Brewery-a long defunct brewery from nearby Waterfoot, I believe.

Now there is one problem with the Robin Hood. It’s 4.5 miles from my usual haunt, the Hare & Hounds in Holcombe Brook. Meaning that you can’t just pop in for one-any expedition has to be of a serious nature. So, like Scott of the Antarctic, I set off yesterday. Except I planned to come back. Mind you, I suppose he did as well.

About 0.5 miles before you get to the RH, there is the White Lion. To me, this is a classic example of converting a perfectly good pub into a “bar and restaurant.” All character has been removed and it has a sterile hotel lounge feel to it. Although it tries to sell itself on food, it was empty when I called in. Food options include Fish & Chips (with crinkle cut chips!) for £9.95. No pies. And no ploughman’s either. Instead the veggie option was a sandwich of goats cheese with marinated Tuscan vegetables and basil mayonnaise. Only two of the four pumps were in operation, but the Lancaster Blonde I had was in very good condition.

Down at the Robin Hood, I wasn’t disappointed. Four Copper Dragon beers and a guest from Bank Top. All served in excellent condition with the taste potential fully maximised-i.e. served with sparklers. As I made my way across the bar, starting with Best Bitter, I gave my silent thanks to the beer gods above. And to the beer tie, of course.


Woolpack Dave said…
Well done, your dream achieved.

I think the tie at this level is unlikely to ever get me upset.

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