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    Friday, 28 September 2007

    M1 Motorway - Junction 20

    Most of us just speed up and down the nation's motorways, not giving a thought to getting off and investigating what lies within a small radius. Junction 20 of the M1 is in Leicestershire. If travelling from the North it is signed "Lutterworth and Rugby" whereas from the South it is signed "Lutterworth and Market Harborough".

    When exiting you can find a gem of a place in either direction.

    The Black Horse at Walcote is about a mile and a half from the motorway in the direction of Market Harborough. The old pub was demolished and a new one built in its place in 2006. From the outside it looks like a newly built house, all red brick and tiled roof. However inside it's unmistakably a pub! There are three separate areas. The bar area has a row of seven or eight tables; a room at the back has comfy sofas, a pool table and a plasma screen, and then there is a conservatory area for diners. There are nine handpumps respledent with their real ales, and a temperature controlled stillage area with room for up to eight further beers or ciders. All the beers I tried were in tip top condition, served by a landlord who is very proud of his beer and proud of the fact that he is currently Leicester CAMRA Pub Of The Month. The food is very good also, and its evening Thai menu is renowned for miles around with Take Away also offered. It is all in all an excellent all round pub.

    Heading six miles or so in the other direction beyond Lutterworth is the village of Ullesthorpe and Bells Brewery and deli. The shop sells an excellent range of British bottled beers and a smaller range of foreign beers. Of particular interest to me is the fact that they are selling the American beers being imported by James Clay. Prices are very reasonable and the beer buying experience can be enhanced by buying fresh veg, olives, cheese and plenty of other typical deli produce. Beer festivals are held from time to time also, with the next one in a couple of week's time.

    So, next time you are heading up or down the M1 give yourself an extra couple of hours and visit these two great beer havens.

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