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Saturday 14th January
RAR 255
COVENTRY'S GBG

Meet at Greyhound, Sutton Stop, 12 noon
Sunday 5th February
HW 55
SNOWDROPS AT ALLESLEY

Meet at The Brooklands, Kingsbury Road, 12 noon.
Saturday 18th February
RAR 256
STATFORD TO WELFORD ON AVON

National Express 460 bus departs Pool Meadow Stand B 11:00am arrives Stratford 11:25am (X18 takes 1 hour 35 mins!!)

The No.27 bus leaves Welford at 3:16pm and arrives Stratford 3:29pm (opposite Maypole)
5:50pm arrives 6:12pm
6:09pm arrives 6:46pm

The X18 bus leaves B439 (Binton turn) at 3:19pm arrives Stratford at 3:56pm. This stop is supposedly 20 mins walk from Welford.
3:49pm arrives 4:26pm
4:24pm arrives 5:01pm
4:54pm arrives 5:31pm

The 6:30pm No. 460 National Express arrives Coventry 7:00pm
Saturday 18th March
RAR 257
WELFORD ON AVON TO BIDFORD ON AVON

National Express 460 bus departs Pool Meadow Stand B 11:00am arrives Stratford 11:25am

The 11:54am X18 bus from Stratford arrives B439 (Binton turn) at 12:07pm
Saturday 15th April
RAR 258
BIDFORD ON AVON TO HARVINGTON

National Express 460 bus departs Pool Meadow Stand B 11:00am arrives Stratford 11:25am

The 11:54am X18 bus from Stratford arrives Bidford 12:11pm
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RAR 236 Melton Mowbray

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Melton Mowbray advertises itself as the ' Rural Capital of Food ', a title that sounds like the kind of claim that Ludlow might make. At least Melton is accessible from Coventry ( just ! ) and has been making pork pies and Stilton cheese for centuries, it is not a Johnny-come-lately place full of fashionable food luvvies like some places.

See how many of these you can tick off on an afternoon !

The Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association ( MMPA ) provides Protected Geographical Indication ( PGI ) for the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, and there are 10 members, of which the first five are available in Melton Mowbray to my knowlege -

1 DICKINSON & MORRIS, Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe, Meton Mowbray

2 WAlKER & SON, Beaumont Leys, Leics
Also from Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe

3 BAILEY, Upper Broughton, Leices
From Derek Jones Butchers, King Street, opp Regal Cinema

4 LEESONS, Oakham, Leics
From the Melton Cheeseboard, Windsor Street

5 NELSONS, Stamford, Lincs
From Knapps Butchers Shop, 43 Sherrard Street, Melton Mowbray.

6 BROCKLEBYS, Asfordby Hill, Melton Mowbray
Their own farm shop.

7 MRS KINGS PORK PIES, Cotgrave, Notts

8 MARK PATRICK BUTCHERS, Birstall, Leics

9 DUNCKLEYS, Wellingborough, Northants

10 HARTLANDS, Cotgrave, Notts

Menawhile five dairies are licensed to produe blue stilton cheese, protected by a Certification Trade Mark and EU Protected Designation of Origin ( PDO ). I think they are all available in Melton -

1 CROPWELL BISHOP CREAMERY, Nottingham Road, Cropwell Bishop, Notts.
From Melton Cheeseboard, Windsor Street, Melton Mowbray.

2 LONG CLAWSON DAIRY, Melton Mowbray.
From Melton Cheeseboard, Windsor Street, Melton Mowbray.

3 TUXFORD & TEBBUTT CREAMERY, 46 - 56 Thorpe End, Melton Mowbray.
From Knapps Butchers Shop, Sherrard Street, Melton Mowbray.

4 COLSTON BASSETT DAIRY, Colston Bassett, Notts
From the Olde Pork Pie Shoppe

5 WEBSTERS DAIRY, Saxelby, Nr Melton Mowbray
From Derek James butchers, King Street

RED LEICESTER

There are two producers of traditional Red Leicester in the area -

1 LONG CLAWSON DAIRY, Melton Mowbray.
From Melton Cheeseboard.

2 LEICESTERSHIRE HANDMADE CHEESE COMPANY producing Sparkenhoe Red Leicester
From Melton Cheeseboard.

Red Leicester is also available at The Olde Pork Pie Shoppe, whilst Cobblers Nibbble from Northampton and a plethora of other cheeses are available at the Melton Cheeseboard

The X6 bus from Coventry to Leicester costs £ 7 single; £ 10 return. I haven't been able to find the cost of the 5/5A Leicester to Melton, but it must be less, as it is a shorter, more rural service, run by Arriva. The train fare is £ 26 for Coventry to Melton; however Coventry to Leicester is £ 11.10 and Leicester to Melton £ 8.50, which is considerably less. All of these train fares are the same single or return. As Chris and I get free bus travel with our old gits bus pass, I shall describe the ramble as if going by bus. Whichever method people choose to get there, we shall meet at the Kettleby Cross at 12.45 ish.

Now on to the walk. First I suggest that everyone brings a knife for cutting up pies and cheese and perhaps a plastic container and backpack to take back samples. We meet at Pool Meadow at 10.00 - ish to catch the 10.20 X6 bus from Stand D, which arrives at Leicester St Margarets at 11.35. This may seem a little late, but the previous X6 on a Saturday leaves at 8.50 a.m., which I don't think anyone would be keen on ! The 5/5A then leaves Leicester Haymarket Stand HB at 11.45, arriving at Melton at 12.42. It may pass the KETTLEBY CROSS on the way in, if not we can just walk round and stay till about 1.15. This is a new-build Wetherspoons, which stocked a couple of local beers on my last visit. Note the wind turbine on the roof !

Then we walk round to the Olde Pork Pie Shoppe, owned by Dickinson & Morris. Here you get not only Dickinson & Morris pork pies, but also Walkers, Melton Hunt Cake, Lincoln Poacher and Red Leicester cheese, Colton Basstett Stilton and Vale of Belvoir bottled beers. Next door Dickinson & Morris have a more conventional butchers shop.

From here we walk round to Derek James on King Street where we can purchase Bailey's pork pies, Websters Stilton and Minstel Red Leicester cheese.

Then round the corner in Windsor Street is the Melton Cheeseboard. Here there are hundreds of cheeses, including Long Clawston and Cropwell Bishop Stiltons, Spakenhoe and Belton Red Leicester, Cobblers Nibble from Northampton, Smooth Blue Stilton ( whatever that is ? ), Leesons pork pies, ploughman's pies ( which Sharon didn't take to ! ), Vale of Belvoir bottled beers and bread from Hambleton bakery ' Britain's best bakery '. Not shy and unassuming, then, they produce a wide range of breads, including Plum bread ( that's an attractive combination ) and the ' Rutland Pippin ', which is Lincolnshire sausage meat, ham hock, Stilton cheese and Bramley apple sauce all encased in crusty dough. I didn't get to try this, but it sounds wonderful !

Round another corner into Sherrard Street we come to Knapps butchers, where we find Nelsons pork pies and Tuxford and Tebbutt Stilton. This is the only Stilton actually made in Melton and we can just walk up Sherrard Street and Thorpe End to see the creamery where it is produced. From here we retrace our steps to Burton Street to find the NOELS ARMS, where Gas Dog brewery beers are brewed.

Then the BOAT is just a few hundred yards down the same street, with a range of guest beers. After this we can walk back through Wilton Park, alongside the River Eye, Melton's own little river, to the KETTLEBY CROSS before catching the 5/5A back to Leicester. The 4.17 gets into Leicester at 5.26, then the 5.50 X6 is the last direct bus back to Coventry. Any later and we have to change at Nuneaton.

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