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Wellies on! Perfect pub for the end of a walk

fox and duck sign

If you’re looking for a great pub where you can park your wellies at the end of a bracing walk and fill up on food that isn’t just your average pub offering, The Fox and Duck in Therfield would be a fine choice. It’s right in the middle of some gorgeous, very walkable countryside, and even the drive in is all very pretty and picturesque.

fox and duck village

The Fox and Duck is definitely – and proudly – a village pub first and foremost. It’s more comfy than super-stylish, as you might expect, mixing rather old-school exposed beams and horse brasses with some rather nice scrubbed wooden tables – but it is warm and welcoming, with the friendliest staff. I met a friend there quite early in the evening, and we watched the bar and dining room fill up with a mixture of locals – from teenagers playing darts to older couples coming in for dinner out. It’s the kind of place, too, where you could happily pop in for a quick one on the way to somewhere else and still feel comfortably at home, even though it’s definitely the village local.

fox and duck inside

The food, though, really sets it apart: it’s definitely not just your average village pub menu. We were offered a choice of two menus – the bar menu, with the usual mix of sausages, pie, fish and chips, that sort of thing, and then the dinner menu, which was much more tempting. The pastrami and haloumi croquette sounded a bit unusual, so my friend gave it a whirl, while I plumped for goats cheese and celeriac rosti with a poached egg, both of which were both properly delicious. We fought (politely, of course) over an English charcuterie sharing board for mains. It was crammed with all kinds of unusual dried, cured, and smoked meats, and the bread that arrived with it was straight-out-of-the-oven warm. There wasn’t much left once we’d finished, and it was a shame we couldn’t stay for pudding – because the mulled wine panacotta sounded deliciously tempting.

fox and duck food

I’d go for the food alone, but The Fox and Duck also seems like an ideal pub to roll into after a good old stomp through some of the gorgeous local countryside. Expect rolling hills, nothing too steep, and some glorious views. Therfield sits conveniently near the Hertfordshire Way, a 194-mile circular walk through the county – but obviously you can take off a bite-sized chunk or just have a little nibble on your way to the pub! There are lots of shorter walks, ranging from 3 miles or so and upwards. In spring, there’s a bluebell walk that looks very manageable even with smaller folk, and which conveniently starts and ends at the pub.

fox and duck wellies

Having eaten here, I’m determined to head back – taking the family with me this time – after a good long tromp through the countryside in the morning. They do a proper Sunday lunch which looks like it’s worth the trip, and the pile of board games and children’s books by the door means we might get to sit in our socks for a bit longer than we otherwise might elsewhere.

The Muddy Verdict:

Good for: Sunday lunch after a long walk with the family, soaking up the village pub atmosphere, eating with friends. There’s a village green outside, too, with benches and table, which would be lovely in the summer and which doubles as the pub garden. It’s quite spacious inside, so you could squeeze a buggy in – should you need to.

Not so great for: Date nights – it’s a bit busy and buzzy for romantic dinners for two. It’s probably not your thing, too, if you like your pubs all gastro and stylish.

££: On the dinner menu, starters are roughly £6.50-£8.50. Main courses £13.50ish – £21 and puds £6-7. Bar menu starters from £4.50, and the mains all £10-£12, apart from the steaks at £18-20. It’s what you’d expect for a village pub with a decent menu, and it’s definitely value for money.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Hertfordshire