The Wheatsheaf Pub with rooms in Combe Hay, Somerset

Prices from:
£120 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Secret village setting close to Bath
  • Stunning garden with valley views
  • Country-chic interior
  • Hands-on family owners
  • Competent cooking – modern pub food
  • Contemporary rustic rooms

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsOutdoor Pursuits

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Overview

The Wheatsheaf Combe Hay, Somerset , BA2 7AG

The Personal Touch

Tucked down twisting narrow lanes in a hidden valley just 15 minutes south of Bath and perched on a hillside looking across the village, the 16th-century Wheatsheaf at Combe Hay is as pretty as a picture, the long, cream painted façade smothered in flowers and pierced with the holes to (still inhabited) dovecotes. Step inside and be surprised to find a very contemporary-smart interior, with whitewashed beams, painted stone walls, a bold statement wallpaper, and high-backed Lloyd Loom wicker dining chairs in the stripped back bar area. The raised log fire in the old stone fireplace hints at the inn’s age, so bag one of the squashy sofas and peruse the papers with a pint. There’s local art on the walls (for sale), jugs of garden flowers and guidebooks, The Field and local foodie magazines to read, the atmosphere is relaxing and informal, and the service from owners Ian and son James Barton is friendly and approachable.

STICKY FINGERS

Children have their own menu of fresh dishes to choose from and there are high chairs for tots. Z-beds are available for £10 a night.

MUDDY PAWS

Dogs are welcome in the bar, where they will receive a friendly greeting from Ian’s dogs, Brie, Margaux and Gloria, and they are allowed in the rooms.

ALFRESCO

Set on two lush grassy terraces, replete with bright flower borders, veg plots and chickens, the stunning south-facing garden makes the most of the tranquil valley view. Big benches and cream brollies draw the crowds on sunny days – it’s the perfect spot for summer eating and drinking.

WHAT’S ON?

Art is taken seriously and the walls in the bar and dining areas become a gallery space for local artists, with regular solo exhibitions. Occasional wine dinners with their wine supplier, RS Wines in Hallatrow, Somerset.

What’s the Damage?
3 doubles £120 (£150 Friday & Saturday)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (except Amex)
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking
  • Disabled access to pub/restaurant; not rooms

Gongs
Waitrose Good Food Guide; Michelin Pub Guide; Good Hotel Guide

Sleep

The Wheatsheaf Combe Hay, Somerset , BA2 7AG

DO NOT DISTURB

Descend the stone steps from the garden to find the three cosy rooms (Buttercup, Daisy & Bluebell) housed in a detached stone building, the old cow shed and a reminder of the inn’s former life as a farmhouse. Furnished in contemporary rustic style, all have a soothing white and oatmeal décor, humorous cow paintings on the walls, super comfortable beds with Egyptian linen and goose down duvets, and swish tiled bathrooms with storm showers and top toiletries. If you’re thirsty and peckish on arrival, there’s a good choice of tea, fresh coffee and goodies in the ‘tuckbox’, plus the all-important corkscrew should you wish to explore the stocked mini-bar.

CREATURE COMFORTS

Mini-bar with fresh milk, beer and wine; fresh coffee & homemade cookies; local magazines; goose down duvets & feather pillows; White Company bathroom products; bathrobes.

GADGETS

TV & DVD; Logic digital radio.

WHAT’S FOR BREAKFAST?

Dorset cereals and porridge; bacon roll; smoked salmon and scrambled ‘Wheatsheaf’ eggs; smoked haddock with poached eggs.

What’s the Damage?
3 doubles £120 (£150 Friday & Saturday)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (except Amex)
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking
  • Disabled access to pub/restaurant; not rooms

Gongs
Waitrose Good Food Guide; Michelin Pub Guide; Good Hotel Guide

Eat & Drink

The Wheatsheaf Combe Hay, Somerset , BA2 7AG

MASTERING THE MENU

Eddie Raines stepped up to the head chef role in 2011 and has successfully maintained the Wheatsheaf’s excellent reputation for its food, developing his own style and identity on his enticing monthly-changing carte and the popular weekly Market Menu, the latter offered at lunch and dinner Tuesday to Friday (lunch: 2 courses £16; 3 courses £20; dinner: 2 courses £18; 3 courses £23). Eddie sources local produce, using herbs, vegetables and watercress (growing naturally in the inn’s own spring) from the garden, eggs and honey from Ian’s hens and bees. His dishes offer bold, well-defined flavours as seen in lamb terrine with beetroot ketchup and perfectly cooked John Dory with duck leg boulangére potatoes and creamed smoked haddock. The simpler lunchtime bar menu offers traditional and hearty pub food, perfect if you’ve hiked across the fields from Bath. Don’t miss the great value set lunch and Sunday lunch menus.

ON THE MENU

Bar menu (lunchtimes only)
Ham, egg & chips
Sausage, mash & onion gravy
Butcombe beer battered fish & chips
Ploughman’s & pickles
Sandwiches (with home-made chips)

Lunch & Dinner
Scallops, ham hock beignet, pea puree
Lamb rump, wild garlic dauphinoise, minted broad beans
Pulled pork lasagna, chorizo ketchup, Manchego cheese
Lime cheesecake, candied cucumber, gin & tonic sorbet
Glazed passionfruit curd, shortbread, rhubarb

SUNDAY ROASTS

Roast sirloin of Devizes beef
Slow roast leg of Wiltshire pork, crackling & apple sauce
(2-courses £20.50; 3 courses £25.50)

FOODIE EXTRAS

Summer barbecues on request

TIME TO EAT

Breakfast: 9am – 10am
Lunch: 12 noon – 2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm – 9pm (10pm Friday & Saturday)

LOCAL, LOCAL, LOCAL

Meat – Walter Rose Butchers, Devizes
Watercress – own spring..!
Eggs – own hens
Honey – own bees
Valley Smokehouse, Dundry (www.valleysmokehouse.com)
Very local English wine – Combe Hay Vineyard (www.combehay.wordpress.com)
Heritage Vegetables – Growswell Farm, Barrington, Somerset

BEHIND THE BAR

Scour the wine-laden shelves, which stretch the full length of the wall behind the long bar, for a New Zealand Riesling or a Chilean Malbec and you’ll be disappointed, for wine-loving owner Ian only stocks European wines, the 150-strong list (14 by the glass) revealing his passion for classic French wines, so expect some interesting vintages among the Bordeaux and Burgundy selections. There’s also room on the shelf for a delicious white wine from Combe Hay’s own vineyard, just across the fields. Ale aficionados will find Otter Ale and local Butcombe on tap and there’s local Honey’s Midford and Aston Still Traditional for the cider drinker.

BAR SNACKS

Mixed nuts on the bar; jars of Jelly Beans and Love Hearts

TIME AT THE BAR

10am – 3pm (5.30pm Sunday); 6pm – 11pm. Closed Sunday evening & all day Monday (except Bank Holidays)

What’s the Damage?
3 doubles £120 (£150 Friday & Saturday)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (except Amex)
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking
  • Disabled access to pub/restaurant; not rooms

Gongs
Waitrose Good Food Guide; Michelin Pub Guide; Good Hotel Guide

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Wheatsheaf

2

The Bertinet Kitchen, 12 St Andrew's Terrace, Bath BA1 2QR

Owned and run by French chef and baker, Richard Bertinet, The Bertinet Kitchen opened in September 2005 in the centre of Bath and offers a range of bakery courses for amateurs and professionals alike. The Bertinet Bakery also has three shops and cafes in Bath selling the bread and pastries, which also appear on the menu at Timbrell's Yard.

3

Bath Farmers Market, Green Park BA1 1JB

Established in 1997, this was one of the very first farmers' markets to be set up in the UK and it's still going strong every Saturday. Close to the city centre and railway station, it features dozens of local producers selling a range of products, from meat and vegetables to cakes and preserves.

5

Grumpy Badger, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 1JS

This friendly little delicatessen and cafe in The Shambles area of Bradford-on-Avon is a firm favourite with the locals drawn by the promise of great coffee and cakes, free wi-fi and a well-priced lunch menu.

6

Hartley Farm Shop & Cafe, Winsley BA15 2JB

The Bowles family has been farming the area for five generations dating back to the late parts of the nineteenth century. The farm shop has been open since 2008 and it sells predominantly produce from the farm including beef, pork, fruit, vegetables, honey and free-range eggs. Excellent coffee and cream teas are served in the on-site cafe.

7

Walter Rose & Son Butchers, Trowbridge BA14 8AA

This family-based butchers from Devizes has been supplying meat since 1847 and now supplies many Michelin-starred restaurants and award-winning pubs, including The Wheatsheaf. Visit the Trowbridge shop and take some of the top quality meat home with you.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Wheatsheaf

Activities

3

Bath Golf Club, Sham Castle Lane, Bath BA2 6JG

One of England's oldest and finest inland courses, Bath Golf Club was established in 1880. It has a reputation as a welcoming venue with challenging holes, and the views are spectacular.

4

Caving and Climbing, Cheddar Gorge BS27 3QF

Cheddar is Britain’s biggest gorge, with cliffs rising 450ft and famously impressive caves, created by Ice Age melt-waters. As well as the various show caves, caverns and chambers, there’s a caving and rock-climbing activity centre, where the expeditions are suitable for beginners.

5

Hot Air Ballooning, Royal Victoria Park, Bath BA1 2NQ

If ever there was a city perfect for viewing from the sky, it must be Bath. If the wind’s in the right direction you can drift above its fascinating panorama – the Royal Crescent, the Abbey, the Roman Baths and Thermae Bath Spa all look amazing.

Shopping

14

Frome Independent Market, Frome BA11 1BW

Pitched in the centre of town, Frome Independent Market is justly famous and very fashionable. With their ‘reclaim the high street’ motto, they want to showcase the best from local, independent producers, designers and craftsmen. Loads of great stuff, and perfect for browsing. First Sunday of the month, March to September Frome generally celebrates the independent retailer, and even has an ‘artisan quarter’, St Catherine’s. Here you’ll find designer makers, vintage specialists, and people selling arts and craft supplies (stcatherines-frome.co.uk)

15

Clandar, 15 Cheap Street, Bath BA1 1NA

Fantastic textiles made in the British Isles. Clandar is housed in a lovely Georgian townhouse and sells knitwear, scarves, throws, hats, jackets and bags amongst other things. You’ll find merino lamb’s wool, grade-A quality Scottish cashmere and handwoven Harris tweed in contemporary and more traditional designs.

17

Ora et Labora, 3 Church Street, Bath BA1 1NL

In the original cloisters of Bath Abbey, this very unusual shop sells stuff made by monks in abbeys, priories and monasteries in England and abroad. Trappist beers, incense, soap and candles are amongst the items available.

18

Topping & Company, The Paragon, Bath BA1 5LS

Topping & Company is a splendid bookshop with over 45,000 titles plus friendly, knowledgeable and passionate staff. Plenty of events all year, and there’s coffee and tea to keep you alert whilst browsing.

19

Bath BA1 1JB

Bath’s a great place for shopping, with many quirky and unusual independent shops. The Bath Vintage & Antiques Markets at Green Park Station are held on the first, third and last Sunday of every month. You’ll find a huge selection of interesting things, from decorative homeware, kitchenalia, vintage and retro fashion to mid-century modern and antique furniture, upholstery, garden ephemera, vinyl, toys and more – as well as designers, artists and craftsmen.

20

Beau Nash, Brock Street, Bath BA1 2LJ

A storehouse of surprising and unusual furniture, lighting and decorative 'statement pieces', Beau Nash specialises in antique and vintage silver – including a good mix of beautiful and useful one-off items.

21

My Small World, 18 Little Southgate, Bath BA1 1AS

A terrific shop famed for its fantastic wooden toys and games from all across Europe. All the traditional classics are here, alongside the best new designs. Aimed the under-sixes, the shop is crammed with sturdy, beautiful wooden playthings, books and games. A lovely place with friendly staff.

Places to visit

2

Longleat, Warminster BA12 7NW

Standing in extensive parkland near Frome and Warminster, Longleat House is a perfect example of Elizabethan architecture. The house includes many fine paintings and artefacts, and possibly the most valuable private library in the world. Longleat is also renowned for its safari park.

6

Frome BA11 1BE

Three hundred years ago, Frome was bigger than Bath, its status as the most important wool town in Somerset making it much more important. There are still many weavers’ cottages and mill buildings surviving from the town’s industrial heyday. Learn all about it at Frome Museum on North Parade; it’s not open all year, so check before you set out.

7

Bath BA1 1LY

Bath is a beautiful Georgian city with fantastic architecture and lots to see and do, from the Abbey and Assembly Rooms to the Roman Baths that gave the place its name.

8

Bradford on Avon BA15 1DE

Bradford on Avon is full of the most delightful buildings, from the famous Town Bridge, tiny weavers' cottages and impressive clothiers' houses to handsome public buildings and ancient alleyways. The river Avon winds through the town, there’s a beautiful 14th-century tithe barn (english-heritage.org.uk) and an Anglo-Saxon church.

10

Roman Baths, Stall Street, Bath BA1 1LZ

The world-famous Roman Baths are one of the finest historic sites in Northern Europe. Below street level, the Sacred Spring is the heart of things, where the naturally hot water (46°C) rises. The Romans built a temple here to Sulis Minerva, and the mineral-rich water supplied a magnificent bath-house. The iconic Great Bath once stood in an enormous barrel-vaulted hall that rose to a height of 40 metres. For many Roman visitors this would have been the largest building they’d ever encountered.

11

The Fashion Museum, Bath Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street Bath BA1 2QH

A fascinating and world-class collection of contemporary and historic dress, the Fashion Museum opened in 1963 and is based on the private collection of Doris Langley Moore. It’s full of beautiful clothes and accessories from the late 16th century up to today – you can even try stuff on in the ‘corsets and crinolines’ section.

12

No. 1 Royal Crescent, Bath BA1 2LR

The Royal Crescent is a gorgeous Bath stone crescent of 30 houses, the uniform Palladian design of the facade giving it an air of timeless elegance. It was the culmination of the 18th-century development of the city by the elder and younger John Woods. No. 1 Royal Crescent is decorated and furnished as it might have been during the period 1776-1796, with rooms featuring historic furniture, pictures and objects.

Walking

www.visitbath.co.uk
Bath’s a good city for walking, not too big, with a nice compact centre and some hills if you want more of a challenge. There’s the canal path for the Kennet & Avon Canal, and you can easily get out into the countryside. The Bath Skyline Walk is six miles of way-marked footpaths, beech woodlands and limestone-rich valleys full of flowers, interspersed with extensive views over Bath and towards the Blackdown Hills. The Cotswold Way long-distance path begins (or ends) in Bath and offers some fantastic scenery as it travels through the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Two Tunnels is a walking and cycling path that follows a four-mile stretch of disused railway line, running through Linear Park on the south of Bath, through the Devonshire tunnel at Bloomfield and Combe Down tunnel, and then over the renovated Tucking Mill viaduct.

Colliers Way
www.colliersway.co.uk
The Colliers Way (Route 24 of the Sustrans National Cycle Network) is suitable for both walkers and cyclists, and follows the route of the old Somerset Coal Canal, exploring the hidden valleys and quiet byways of north Somerset. Mostly traffic-free, it has large sections suitable for wheelchair users.

Cycling

www.visitbath.co.uk
Bath is cross-sectioned by Route 4 of the Sustrans National Cycle Network, with the surrounding countryside containing lots of very scenic routes including The Two Tunnels (see above). The Combe Down tunnel is the longest cycling tunnel in Britain, and features an interactive light and sound installation. The route links into the National Cycle Network with routes to Radstock and Bournemouth in the south, and the Bristol to Bath walking/cycling route in the west.

The Nextbike system (www.nextbike.co.uk) offers self-service bike hire in the city, with nine docking stations; otherwise, there are a number of local hire companies. The city has plenty of traffic-free cycle routes, with cross-country trails (some with steep gradients) for the more adventurous.

The Kennet & Avon Cycle Route is Britain’s most popular long-distance waterside route. It was also one of the first traffic-free cycle paths, setting the standard for the National Cycle Network. Although the canal itself starts in Bath, there is no direct cycle route along the Avon River from Bristol to Bath, so you need to follow the Bristol to Bath railway.

Events

www.visitbath.co.uk
The Bath Literature Festival starts things off with themed events and famous authors in February/March. The Bath Half Marathon is also in March, and so is Bath in Fashion – a week of catwalk shows, talks, films and workshops. The Bath Comedy Festival arrives at the end of March/beginning of April, with over 100 acts. At the end of May/beginning of June is the Bath Fringe, two weeks of eclectic art and events. Bath International Music Festival in May celebrates with a programme of classical music as well as contemporary jazz, world music and folk. In August you can see the Roman Baths by Torchlight, and in September it’s the Jane Austen Festival. There’s more classical music at the Bath Mozartfest in November, while December brings the Bath Film Festival and the Christmas Market.

Getting there

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

By Road: Head south from Bath on A367; turn left at Combe Down onto B3110; then right signposted Combe Hay in 1.5 miles

Address:

, Combe Hay, Somerset , BA2 7AG

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