Tuesday, September 07, 2010

101 Pubs To Drink In Before You Collapse : No. 1 The Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden


Imagine the scene. You are walking through a West Yorkshire village. The nearby Pennine hills scrape puddles of moisture from clouds en-route from the Atlantic to Siberia. But there is a freshness in the air that reminds you that you are alive, and why it is good to be alive. The sun breaks through the clouds and starts to warm the rich brown stone and buildings suddenly seem to come alive like stone reptiles reinvigorated by the sun's warming rays. The sounds of the modern world - the cars, the screeches, the bangs, and the buzzes - are buried beneath the sound of the Ryburn River racing down to the far off sea. You walk over an old stone packhorse bridge and there in front of you is a sight that is vaguely familiar. It is a sight that you have dreamt about ever since you became too old to dream of pretty young women. It is a perfect pub : warm, welcoming, and exquisitely beautiful. You have arrived at the Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden.

It is easy to was lyrical about the Old Bridge, it is that kind of place. A plaque above the door tells you that it's "probably Yorkshire's oldest hostelry", but dozens of similar plaques grace the walls of dozens of similar pubs within the county. If you insist on reviewing the evidence - records dating back to the fourteenth century and talk of Roman roads from Chester to York - at least step inside and do so over a pint of ale. That's real ale of course, it would be a sin to drink anything else at such an establishment. But if you simply can't take the taste of beer then go ahead and sin : until just over a hundred years ago the pub was owned by the adjacent church and therefore forgiveness is in as plentiful supply as Timothy Taylor's Prize Winning Beers. And whilst you sup your blessed beer or your sinful chardonnay, have a look around and marvel at the place : the crooked floors, the low-slung doors, the wooden tables, the uninterrupted, undiluted sheer history of the place. And marvel at the fact that it has not been over-prettied, nor turned into a Sunday Supplement bistro. 

There has been a spate of books recently with titles like "1001 places to see before you die" and  "500 Books You Must Read Before You Expire". Well I have just come up with another one in the same series : "101 Pubs To Drink In Before You Collapse". And the first in the book is the Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden. Catch a bus, hire a train, hitch a lift. Do whatever you need to do. Just see it.


The Old Bridge Inn
Priest Lane, Ripponden,
Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire HX6 4DF
Tel : 01422 822595

12 comments:

  1. It certainly is picturesque! Unfortunately, I don't foresee a time when I'd ever be able to walk in the door.

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  2. Uh-oh. When a man stops dreaming of beautiful women and starts dreaming of the perfect pub...

    Seriously, it sounds like a glorious pub. I can see all the great history, crooked floors, the low-slung doors, the wooden table, in my mind's eye.

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  3. So gorgeous! My husband will have the ale but I prefer a good cider.

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  4. If you're seriously going to 101 pubs, this seriously needs to be done for publication.

    AWESOME!

    I'm guessing I'll need to move to the UK for a year to hit all 101, won't I?

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  5. That looks like a great place, I'd love to visit someday!

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  6. I think we need to book a holiday in West Yorkshire, Alan.

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  7. it looks fabulous! I'd even forgo the sinful chardonnay and have a real ale just for the chance to be there.

    *sigh*

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  8. I need to write that address down. If I ever make it over to the homeland, I could hit all the pubs that you have posted. I would probably have to stay for a few months right. Enjoyed your blog!

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  9. I love the image of the Pennine Hills scraping 'puddles of moisture from clouds'! That's quality!

    The pub looks pretty good too; somewhere with a bit of character :)

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  10. If he were to read this glorious account, my husband would have our bags packed and at the door immediatly. Your words created such an ambiance, I find myself embraced by the beery richness of their history. Another address to add to my bucket list!

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  11. I,m thirsty,
    Great post.

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