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The Plough, Great Chesterford

This village pub is set to become a hot ticket; fun events, a versatile space and a surprisingly diverse menu.

The Lowdown

You may have noticed recently that we featured the Dog Oscars at the Plough in Great Chesterford in our Muddy May What’s On Guide. The image of the Best Costume category (for dog and owner) was what swung it for me. And it’s all the brainchild of Samantha and Simon (and their dog, Oscar), the new custodians of this village pub situated on the Cambs/Essex border. In fact, Samantha, Simon and Oscar (you’ll realise why he’s such a part of the family when you visit) have ambitious plans for The Plough that involve bringing the local community together through a series of events that will capitalise on the generous garden and vegetable patch on site.

The Vibe

Very relaxed and informal. This is a local, village pub and as such comes with all the quirks associated. I was fortunate enough to visit on a sunny day, and was met with locals sitting outside for a couple of pints, some dog walkers who fell in love with Oscar (it’s hard not to), and a few regulars having lunch inside. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring the family here; the kids can run around in the garden and the bar gets the full sun when it’s shining. One other thing of note is how friendly everyone was; it might have been the weather, granted, but it is also a testament to how hard Samantha and Simon are working to create a welcoming atmosphere here.

Scoff and Quaff

This sharing board was presented as a starter and included locally shot wood pigeon, a fish cake, pickles, ham hock terrine, a rosti and dips. Also available are a soup of the day and box baked camembert. The pigeon was particularly tasty and was accompanied by a tart but sweet blackberry preserve. The menu here is diverse; there’s traditional pies, fish and chips, steak, mac and cheese, double cooked chips and so on. All standard pub fare. And yet, The Plough also offers a wide and tasty selection of gluten free and vegan/vegetarian options. I had a vegan curry for the main course, and although admittedly a little sceptical, there was virtually nothing left of it by the time I’d finished. There is also a focus on local produce and much of what’s on offer is sourced from Cambridgeshire and Essex. Another plus is the flexibility on offer; you are positively encouraged to seek out the exact version of a dish that you like, even if it’s not written down. Pudding was another vegan offering – roasted peach and vegan custard – it was light, sweet and a lovely way to finish lunch.

Out and About

Great Chesterford is hop, skip and a jump away from Saffron Walden, so The Plough is an ideal stop either to or from the market town on a weekend. There is also a railway in Great Chesterford, extremely handy if you fancy venturing further afield, with an hourly service to London Liverpool Street.

The Muddy Verdict

Good For – You, the children, your pets. Everyone is welcome. This is definitely a place to come and relax, have something to eat and converse with the locals. There are no airs and graces here, just a welcoming vibe. In fact, by the time I’d finished lunch, I had made firm friends with Oscar (in actual fact, I was told that people who are not Oscar’s owners come by the pub just to walk him), had my first taste of vegan custard, heard a story about fire-eaters and been taught “the best card trick ever in the world, ever.”

Not For – Large groups of friends looking for a wild night. The pub is cosy on the inside, and this isn’t a cocktails- with-the-girls sort of place.

The Damage – Starters from £5.95 for bread and olives to £16 for the sharing platter, mains are between £13-£21. There is a young person’s menu and lots of vegan/gluten free/vegetarian options.

The Plough, Great Chesterford, High Street, Great Chesterford, Saffron Walden, Essex. CB10 1PL, 01799 531651, hello@the

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