Real ale campaigners have been highlighting Eynsham’s village pubs.

Tony Goulding, a member of the Oxford branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) took a visit to the hostelries in the village.

The first pub he visited was the Queen’s Head, a former Courage house now owned by Admiral Taverns.

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Mr Goulding told the Oxford Drinker magazine: “It is run by a very enthusiastic Mark Crocker and on the night, two beers were served - Wadworth 6X and St Austell Proper Job.

Witney Gazette:

“The beers come from the Admiral guest list; a third beer is available at weekends. The pub was busy with food, as 50 meals were to be served that evening. Food is served Tuesday to Thursday lunchtimes from 12-3pm, and evenings from 5pm with Friday to Sunday service from 12 till early evening (closed Mondays). This is a real community-focused pub with two bars and a rear patio.

A short walk around the corner is the White Hart, another former Courage house now owned by Greene King, and one of the village’s oldest buildings, now run by Tracey and Ian Green. This old single-bar pub is free of tie to Greene King for cask ale, and on the night a real delight was available, according to Mr Goulding - two beers from Little Ox, both Gluten-free, the golden bitter Hufflepuff and the red ale Ox Blood.

He added: “All the beers served here are from local breweries, very rare for a GK house. There are three letting rooms, a comfortable function room and a sun-trap garden. Aunt Sally and crib are played. Tracey and Ian moved from the nearby Newlands Inn 18 months ago, which is closed and up for sale, with most of their customers following them.”

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A walk into the centre of the village took CAMRA to the Red Lion, a very busy former Morrells house and once “the place to be”, later acquired by Greene King.

Witney Gazette:

Mr Goulding said: “Over the years it has been a bit up and down until six months ago, but what a transformation with the arrival of Luke Griffiths and Becky Sumner along with her two sons. Due to their efforts the pub once again is vibrant with music the main attraction on Fridays and Saturdays, in the bar or very useful function room. They lease the pub from Admiral Taverns with two beers from their list - Hooky Bitter and Taylor’s Landlord. The pub is open every day from 12-12 with food served until 9pm. Both Luke and Becky were working for the NHS when they met, and Becky still works at the JR full-time.”

Just along the road is the Jolly Sportsman (daily 12-11pm).

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This former Halls pub (see the plaque by the original front entrance) is now owned by Punch Taverns, with an old-fashioned two-bar layout. Cask beers available were Sharp’s Atlantic IPA and Marston’s Pedigree, with Fuller’s London Pride being a regular guest.

There is also the Swan Hotel, a sprawling multi-bar old building, formerly a Courage house.

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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

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