On a beautiful autumn day, after building up an appetite walking over the hills and fields of the Ribble Valley, there can be few places that would look more appealing than the Swan With Two Necks in Pendleton.
Walking through this village is like stepping in to a post card. A lazy brook babbles its way through the heart of the village. A quaint bridge sits opposite The Swan With Two Necks, and behind it all, proudly watching from afar, bathed in low set autumn sun, stands Pendle Hill.
It was lunch time and I was glad to catch The Swan With Two Necks open and serving food; often I pass by when the traditional opening hours ensure the front door is firmly shut. I walked in to a very warm and hospitable welcome from the landlady. Two real fires burned away at opposite ends of the pub, no further than a stones throw away from one another.
Hundreds of ‘Toby Jug’ style teapots hang from the ceiling, and the walls are crammed with accolades and awards from various Pub Guides and CAMRA, the real ale people. Sadly the ales were wasted on me at that time of day, but the accolades speak for themselves – a small chalk board proudly announces that the pub is somewhere in CAMRA’s top 4 pubs in Britain this year!
So I assume the beer is good, but for now, I was more interested in the food. I was lucky to find an empty table amongst all the diners and sat down. The Swan With Two Necks seems very popular with the senior foodies, which is a good endorsement.
Like the opening hours, the menu is traditional, it is not fancy and it doesn’t want to be. Unlike some larger establishments in the Ribble Valley, its honest, unpretentious and just right for the pub and the setting. As it was lunch time I set about ordering some lunch! Although there were more substantial dishes on offer, I ordered soup and a sandwich.
The Colcannon soup was just right for a cold autumn day, thick, warming and very tasty. My dining companion thought perhaps the soup was a little salty, mine was fine.
I am often reluctant to order sandwiches in a pub as the ‘homemade’ fillings tend to be more ‘factory-pressed’ than homemade. The warmth and authenticity, and the lack of pretension that I felt in the Swan With Two Necks, made me more than confident that any ‘homemade’ produce would be just that, and I wasn’t disappointed. My roast beef sandwich was delicious, the beef was free of any fat or gristle, and melted away deliciously.
I would happily recommend this pub, and hope to return for dinner in the near future.