A few miles north of the city of Nottingham deep in Robin Hood Country lies the village of Blidworth, a former mining area and celebrated as reputedly owning the burial place of one Will Scarlett. Debate will no doubt always surround the legendary outlaw but what isn’t in doubt is the enviable geographical position of the slightly comically named Blidworth Bottoms nearby which houses the attractive Fox and Hounds pub.
As one might imagine, Blidworth Bottoms nestles at the foot of a steep hill from Blidworth up above. A farm or two, a few private homes and the public house comprise much of what this little niche of Nottinghamshire has to offer – and that is just the very appeal of it.
Just south of the Fox and Hounds lies Blidworth Woods, a beautiful, undulating woodland with waymarked trails for those keen on taking the air in pleasant surroundings. Over the past few years more than a whiff of scandal has been attached to Blidworth Woods due to it being a notorious meeting place for those of a, shall we say more adventurous sexual appetite. An increased police presence has partly altered this state of affairs, locals state. I don’t particularly want to dwell on this issue too much apart from to say that running and walking in those woods is something I have done for many a year and that I hope others are afforded the opportunity to do that unhindered and without embarrassment too.
The Fox and Hounds is a white-painted former farm house that sits very cosily at the foot of a hill and directly opposite a junction of a partly single-track tree-shrouded country lane. It is a charming drive through the woods from the direction of the old Victorian Papplewick Pumping Station. Although being situated a few miles north of the large Nottinghamshire suburb of Arnold, it still remains only ten minutes drive away. The origins of the building go back as far as the early Nineteenth century though the exact date it became a public house is unknown. The interior of the pub has some interesting paintings and photographs around the walls which date it back as a pub to at least 1910.
Perhaps the first thing that one notes when entering the Fox and Hounds is the compact cosiness of the pub. It retains the warmth and welcome of a nice old country drinking place and immediately feels welcoming. That feeling is certainly exacerbated by the pleasant and very friendly staff who offer a genuinely warm welcome and polite and attentive service. Likewise the whole pub has a friendly ambiance due to a nice mixture of friendly locals and visitors from further afield alike. The interior has a wrap-around lounge and eating area to the right-hand side of the pub and small public bar to the left. In comparatively recent times an outside deck has been built on the left-hand side which offers a pleasant view over the rolling fields
I first visited the Fox and Hounds some thirty years ago. I liked it then though the pub – like many others was quite different in appearance in those days with smaller rooms and the accent being on drinking rather eating as was the order of the day. It was a perennial favourite of mums and dads with it’s swingpark outside – the archetypal place where kids could be brought, given a bottle of lemonade and packet of crisps and left to play whilst mum and dad got on with the job of relaxing for an hour or two on a warm, balmy Sunday evening.
Times and tastes change of course but happily the Fox and Hounds has moved forward with a respect to the old pub as it was and is very much unspoilt. it is still a treat to visit there. In these pieces about pubs I tend to steer away from reviewing drinks, menus and meals as there are many sites that deal with those things primarily. I will offer an important point though as it’s usually to eat when I visit, that the food is home cooked on the premises – a claim that cannot be made by too many pubs these days. I never fail to enjoy my meals there which are offered up in very ample servings. To be recommended. At the same this is not a pub that discourages drinkers to the inclusion of diners. One feels perfectly at ease just taking a pint or two in there.
So there we go then, the Fox and Hounds at Blidworth Bottoms. It can be approached from either the main A60 or A614 roads or pleasantly through the woods from the direction of Ravenshead. I’ll leave you to check your road maps. I think you will be glad you did.