Cumbria Way Pubs: The Old Crown, Hesket Newmarket and Hesket Newmarket Brewery
For our final night of the Cumbria Way we originally intended to stay in Caldbeck, the traditional stopping point before the final 14 or so miles to Carlisle via Dalston, through flatter countryside. Although we had decided not to do that section we thought we might spend a night in the area anyway. Ultimately though, the place we had booked was really quite tatty, so we didn’t, although the owners were at least good enough to give us our deposit back.
We therefore went back to Kendal after an afternoon of pootling about in the car, no harm done and otherwise having had a good day. However, the one shame about the experience is that we didn’t get to have a pint at The Old Crown in Hesket Newmarket. This pretty pub on a picturesque but very quiet village green looks like it might find it hard to survive commercially, and indeed that seems to have been the case, because the website states that it was the first pub to be taken over and rescued by a village cooperative.
The pub is also the brewery tap of Hesket Newmarket Brewery, whose bottled beers I recall trying with little excitement merely due to their conservative styles, but I was very happy to give the wider cask range a chance. It seems that a small brewery’s bottled beers are often the safe styles that sell well, whilst their more interesting experiments are played out on cask. The brewery is similarly owned by a cooperative, and mentions local climber Chris Bonnington and his wife on the website.
The reason we didn’t get to try the beers or the pub was that it doesn’t open until 5.30pm on a weekday outside of peak summertime, which seems sensible given how quiet the village was at 4pm. However having seen the idyllic pub covered in bunting and peered through the window at the wide range on the bar, I’d love to go back to give Hesket Newmarket beers a chance and to see a real community-run pub in action.