Great Pub Towns #1: Belper

There were rumours circulating that I was about to have my blogging licence revoked.

Not since the Pete Allen conversion from Carling to Beavertown’s Neck Oil had there been such shockwaves reverberating through the beer blogging community.

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Apparently, my crime as reported by Messrs Taylor, Mudgie, Shirley, Allen, Paul WME, Thurman, Mackay, Citra, Tandleman, Hermit, Crawford, Everitt and Harris was, that despite living in Derbyshire I had yet to blog on the merits of Belper.

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There were calls to include the High Priest of beer blogging R. Protz esq but my agent confirmed there would finally be a pub post from Belper at the 473rd time of asking.

So, I thought I had better pull a decent boozer out of the bag with some punk rock credentials.

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473 – The Devonshire DE56 1BA is on Bridge Street within a stone’s throw of the nattily named Raygar Stadium – home of Belper Town FC.

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Duncan must have been here on his groundhops as the ‘gateway to the Peak District’ as any self-respecting estate agent worth their salts would describe it, is a vibrant place.

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Niche shops, independent cinemas, train station, lots of housing stock and it’s the sort of place that has undergone real gentrification over the past ten years.

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Nonetheless, it contains a huge amount of boozers and The Devonshire is the latest to be rescued from the jaws of closure by Martin Roper.

I’ve blogged on the former lead singer of Anti Pasti’s pubs before in Derby and Burton and suffice to say he has a winning formula that is working well in Belper.

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The late great Alan Winfield once said he felt Roper’s pubs were a bit too foody and whilst there is no denying food is very much on the menu they get it right in so many ways and they always feel like pubs serving food as opposed to the other way round.

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Colston Crawford, the absolute guru of all things pub wise in Derbyshire is a big fan of this 200 year-old place and he gave it a glowing report.

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Although he did note that back in a previous life in the eighties it gained national notoriety for topless barmaids and not since my visit to The Wheel Inn in Holbrook has there been any kind of Derbyshire flesh on view.

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Thankfully, those days are long gone and at just after midday on a Saturday there were a good amount of punters in, young and old, families and couples, ready to eat or drink…

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…and you always feel as though the staff care in a Roper pub.

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Friendly barstaff and a relaxed vibe as well as terrific beer with the Ay Up (Dancing Duck) in fine form (when is it ever not?)

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I’m not quite sure how many pubs there are in Belper but I realise my suspension has only been placed on hold until I explore this town further.


I mean it’s even got a Micro pub named after Elvis Costello – what’s not to like?

17 thoughts on “Great Pub Towns #1: Belper

  1. I’m in the middle of compiling a post on a Belper pub, though not the Devonshire. We walked straight past the Devonshire without even looking through the windows a couple of weeks ago, such is the embarrassment of riches in Belper. Have to say, the George & Dragon is my favourite at the bottom end of town, but any other day we’d have popped in for a Dark Drake or Ay Up. Belper is also one of those rare occasions when you don’t have to go to the micropubs for great beer. The Railway is revitalised under Lincoln Green too now, the town just gets better every time we go.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. A Bass at the George & Dragon is essential, with the bonus of being an 11 opener Mon-Sat. The other micropub, the Angels, has a good locals pub vibe and the Thorn Tree Inn is a great pub with good beer. As ever, check opening hours though, early week lunchtime can be a problem. We went to the Fishermans Rest recently, a modest walk out of town, a little more upmarket but one of the nicest pub experiences I’ve had in a while. Similar walk out to the Black Bulls Head at Openwoodgate for great for beer. It’s been a while but the Old Kings Head was a very good Marston’s house last time I went. The Grapes. Queens Head, and Riflemans look worth a look, not managed to get to them yet

        Finally managed to pop into the Cross Keys last time. Wasn’t worth it, poor pub with very poor Bass.

        Liked by 1 person

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