The charming countryside inn serving traditional ploughman’s and real ale from the barrel

The pub is a 22-minute drive from Bristol and features in The Good Pub Guide
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It has to be one of the most interesting pub features I’ve seen. Inside the stone-walled family room of The Black Horse in Clapton-in-Gordano is a permanent photographic gallery - but it’s like no ordinary arts exhibition.

It features 18 beautifully-taken black and white portraits of the pub’s regulars in a range of poses. It’s a wonderful tribute to those who support the pub’s existence - as well as a clear sign that this wonderful 14th Century pub, known as The Kickers, is also their second home.

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To top it off, in the alleyway separating the bar and the family room is a collection of framed pictures of the pub-goers’ dogs - yes, all 30 of them!

The ’Kicker Men’ photographic exhibition is a perfect introduction to this charming family-owned pub hidden down a country lane off Clapton Road, two miles from Portishead.

I stumbled across it while walking from Tickenham to Portishead. And having built up a thirst, and apetite, after walking up the Iron Age hill fort of Cadbury Camp, it didn’t take much persuasion to pop inside.

Entering the pub from the rear (the front is no longer used as an entrance), I was immediately struck by how busy it was for a Thursday lunchtime. Walking inside the main bar area all the tables werel filled with a mixture of walkers and, I’m guessing, locals happily talking over pints of beer and cider.

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The room is warm with the open fire well alight, and I spot a collection of eight hunting rifles on display on the wall. There were also other decorations from times gone by as well as photographs, including a picture of the Wurzels enjoying a glass of cider outside the pub.

At the bar, there was a really good selection of real ales all poured straight from the barrel. There was Courage Best at £4.65 a pint, Otter Bitter at £4.35, Butcombe Bitter at £4.65 and Exmoor Gold at £4.90. The guest ale, Hakka, was all gone when I visited.

It was busy for a Thursday lunchtimeIt was busy for a Thursday lunchtime
It was busy for a Thursday lunchtime

Also on offer was a range of seven ciders, including three Thatchers priced from £3.95 to £4.75.

I chose an Exmoor Gold and from the lunch menu I went for the traditional cheese ploughman’s, priced at £9.50. My wife (who did not fancy the walk but quickly joined me in the car when she heard I was at the pub) had the bacon, brie and cranberry baguette (£6.95).

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I returned to the family room, where we simply admired the pictures before talking briefly to a local worksmen who proudly told us he’d done work at Carol Vorderman’s home when she lived at nearby Cadbury Camp Lane - the most prestigious street of houses in North Somerset.

‘She wasn’t the easiest customer I’d had’, he summarised, before heading outside for a cigarette with his partner.


The food came out quickly. My ploughman’s may have looked small, but with two good quality blocks of cheddar, bread, picked onions, celery, grapes, apple and salad, I was full by the end of it. It was good value for £9.50. My partner’s food was also well received with the bacon crispy (how she likes it).

As we strolled out, we caught a glimpse of a couple of the people featured in the photographic exhibition in the bar. It reminded me of their value - not just for the village pub’s survival, but of a prized community asset which will hopefully be around for a long, long time.

Black Horse Pub, Clevedon Lane, Clapton-in-Gordano, Bristol BS20 7RH

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