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John Bonser left this review about Hampshire Bowman
Situated at the end of a narrow single track country lane, approx a mile and a half from Bishops Waltham, The Hampshire Bowman is a largish brick built country pub that, on first impression, probably dates back to Victorian times.
A small brass plate on the pub’s front door tells us that we are entering the “Headquarters of the Portuguese Racing Sardine Club” ( I kid you not ) . The main bar has a brick floor and a smallish bar counter in one corner of the room. Scrubbed wooden tables create a rather rustic feel. In one corner, framed title deeds dated 1897 tell us that the pub was called The Jubilee Tavern in those days. Pleasingly, children are not allowed in this bar, although in true British form, unfortunately this exclusion does not extend to dogs.
On the left, a door leads through to the Stable Bar which is available for families with children. This bar also has a bare boarded rustic feel to it. As in the main bar, the ceiling beams are adorned with hops. There’s several brewery mirrors – among them Gales and Ringwood. Also are several old style oval shaped framed photographs of Victorian people, untitled, but presumably former owners of the pub or local dignitaries. There’s no fruit machines, TV’s etc anywhere in the pub.
Double doors lead out to a smokers shelter and a large grass lawn, which includes a childrens climbing frame and slide. In the smokers shelter, a blackboard announced that the pub’s annual sardine race had taken place on 18 June and that, between 22 and 24 July, a beer festival would be held. Sod’s law being what it is, my visit did not happen to coincide with either of these. Morris Men were due to appear one evening later in the week.
The pub’s website tells us that the pub’s current name – The Hampshire Bowman – dates back to the 1970’s and reflects the fact that the landlady at the time was an Olympic standard archer and founded the archery club next door who, at the time of my visit, were practising enthusiastically in the field next to the pub.
It’s a former Gales house and we can still see the old pub sign on a side wall.
The pub is evidently popular for food and several large family groups were present enjoying the food and the sunny weather, but this is clearly a pub that does food and not the other way round.
Beers are served direct from casks racked up behind the bar. 5 beers were on – Palmers 200, Hopback Crop Circle, Stonehenge Pigswill plus 2 beers from the local Bowman Brewery ( which, contrary to what you might think, has no connection to the pub ). Bowman Swift One - £ 3.10p – was a pale hoppy bitter, but I was much more impressed with the Wallops Wood - £ 3.20p – a dark, robust, malty bitter. The pub is a CAMRA Good Beer Guide regular.
This pub is well worth seeking out, but note that the small village of Dundridge doesn’t appear to be on any bus route, although it’s walkable from Bishops Waltham
On 6th July 2011
- rating: 8
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