The Three Tuns
This pub welcomes muddy boots, paws and children. With its scrubbed pine tables, fresh flowers in old gin bottles, low beams, real fires, leather sofas and window sills lined with old whisky-branded water jugs, it fits comfortably in the village pub bracket. Before taking over The Three Tuns six years ago, James Wilsey worked in a number of high-profile London restaurants including Scott’s of Mayfair and The Anglesea Arms near Shepherd’s Bush. His menu combines pub classics and modern British restaurant dishes, with homemade scotch egg with apple purée and celeriac remoulade sitting happily alongside a rump of lamb, braised lentils, purple sprouting broccoli, Provençal tomato and salsa verde.
There are a number of excellent walks starting from this pub in the peaceful village of Great Bedwyn near Marlborough. A few minutes down the road from The Three Tuns you’ll find the Kennet and Avon Canal, which makes for a lovely walk all year round. “On cold days, you can smell the woodburners on the barges, and it always feels like a different pace of life down by the water,” says James’s wife, Ashley.
“It’s a great walk for children as well, as it is quite flat and there’s tons of wildlife around the water. You also get to watch the locks being opened and closed as the boats make their way through.” Walkers can also reach neighbouring villages along the canal, as well as local destinations such as the Crofton Beam Engines. From the base of the locks, you can also walk straight up a small hill to reach the paths of the Bedwyn Brail, known for its wooded copses, hills and farmland, as well as remains of Roman settlements.
Alternatively, you can make your way straight to the woods behind the pub, which can either lead to the little 13th-century thatched chapel at Chisbury, the hamlet and hidden treasure of St Katharine’s Church, or straight into the ancient Savernake Forest, where you’ll find some 3,000 acres of stunning woods with several notable ‘veteran trees’.
And for those with tired feet and blisters after all the walking, it’s worth noting that there’s a mainline train station in Bedwyn with a direct service to and from Paddington, Reading and Newbury. tunsfreehouse.com