I first wrote about the pretty Beehive Inn at Maplebeck in Nottinghamshire back in May of 2008. It’s taken me a little while to return but return I did last weekend after a visit to one of my favourite places in Nottinghamshire, near Southwell. The cruise down the attractive rural lanes of Hockerton and Winkburn on a sunny Saturday afternoon with the roof down on the car was just the stuff that memorable Summer days are made of. Finally arriving at the little hamlet with its village green to the right and the familiar old sight of the Beehive to the left I left the car in the tucked away car park with what looked curiously like a partly constructed tepee in the adjoining field.
Arriving at the Beehive you just have to stand back and admire it. On my all too rare visits it appears to me as a Brigadoon-like place that might just only be emerging out of the mists once every few years. It has never looked remotely any different since the first day I visited it perhaps approaching twenty years ago, nor would I ever wish it to. It’s position at the foot of a silent lane hooped in trees is an enviable one too. Whoever decided that this would be a great place for an inn I’m not sure why but it most certainly is. The exterior looks worn and greying-white, its appearance is like an oversized version of one of those quaint olde-worlde ornaments that depict somehow significant buildings and adorn certain mantelpieces. It looks crooked from all aspects and slightly defies gravity in doing so.
The latch was lifted on the farmhouse-like door by a friendly server and were in a completely empty Beehive, hushed and soundless apart from our very welcome drinks being poured. We sat alone while others enjoyed themselves in the sunny front garden which lies between the pub and its attendant outbuildings, the original outside lavatories. Unlike most licensed premises in 2011 there were but few beer pumps on the little bar. This also feels kind of ‘right’ to me. It reminds me of my local Waggon and Horses at Redhill where I first used to drink when old enough. There were few different beers then – not even so much as a pint of draft lager to be had. Out of the scant choice I took a pint of excellent Jeffrey Hudson Bitter (JHB) by Oakham Ales in Leicestershire, a nice pale-coloured and slightly citrusy brew which went down pretty well.
The interior looks a little tired but hey who cares. A place like this was meant to look tired. It’s old enough to be out on its own and has seen and heard much over the decades and within its cramped walls. The fixtures and fittings are aged and outdated, it’s curtains would be considered ‘chintzy’ in a lesser building but here it all comes together and works perfectly somehow. If you fancy an afternoon or an evening in the past, come here and blow the history book wide open whilst you can, for one day these experiences will be no more. Even better, go there on a Winter’s evening and feel truly cossetted in the warmth and snugness of this welcoming and very special place. I promise you, tearing yourself away may be problematic though.
Thankfully on this occasion, unlike previously, I was armed with the means of taking a few pictures to illustrate what I’m talking about. I hope you enjoy them just as much as you will if you ever take that meandering drive, or maybe cycle ride, to Maplebeck.