Ramsbottom’s Eagle and Child pub is the perfect stopping point at the end of a long walk.
The Eagle and Child is all that a country pub should be: crackling fires, comfortably battered furnishings and a locally-sourced menu as English as Stephen Fry bowling a googly. Capable staff who make you feel like a regular even if it’s your first time, and don’t blanch when the kids mash chips into the upholstery. And, best of all, The Eagle and Child has glorious views over the Irwell Valley, across to Peel Tower standing like a beacon atop Holcombe Hill.
A locally-sourced menu as English as Stephen Fry bowling a googly
In fact, it has a lot more stuff you didn’t know you needed in a country pub but which, on reflection, is pretty nice to have. A beer garden that is an actual garden, for starters – incorporating an allotment, orchard, polytunnels and chickens – established with the help of community group Incredible Edible Ramsbottom. A commitment to social enterprise with EAT Pennines, a programme that provides work and training for under 25s, particularly young offenders and those with disabilities. And an active role in Ramsbottom life, supplying food for charity events and hosting everything from family Bonfire Nights to Yuletide Yurts to summertime pig roasts. Proprietor Glen Duckett has worked tirelessly to bring this pub, perched high above the town, back from the bleak, vacant shell it had become. In just two short years, he has somehow created a cherished institution that encompasses all that is great about Lancashire. For make no mistake: this pub is definitely not in Greater Manchester.
Foodwise, the Eagle cleverly majors in the kind of hearty fare you’re in the mood to put away after a tramp over the moors: fish pie, hotpot, black peas and ham hocks. They do a very creditable fish and chips and their Sunday roast with all the trimmings deservedly won best Sunday Lunch in the country in this year’s Observer Food Monthly Awards (which means booking is probably wise). They also have a winning way with fish, and their specials board usually has a few enticing options. If you have room, they do a killer sticky toffee pudding. Beerwise they’re locked in to Thwaites, which could be worse, but offer a changing selection of guest real ales and a surprisingly wide range of continental bottled beers. A partnership with Rammy wine shop The Vineyard sees regular themed wine and food evenings upstairs in the function room.
Ramsbottom continues to build a reputation for good food, and this big-hearted pub is a big part of the reason why. Follow a bracing hike up Holcombe Hill with a slap-up meal here and you’ll be experiencing the Pennine hill town at its best.