Stockport & South Manchester

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Weekday Wander - Winging our way to Woodford

Wednesday 7 August 2024 11:40

Because the Branch Meeting has been moved forward a week to fit in with the Magnet, this month we are later than usual.

There are three logical routes to our first pub on this Weekday Wander. For most, the meeting point (as advertised) will be Stockport Interchange, whence we catch a 313 bus direct. A second alternative is to catch the 42B bus as it wends its way from Manchester Piccadilly through south Manchester, with options to join in Fallowfield, Withington, Didsbury and East Didsbury. The third option is to take the train to Cheadle Hulme station then catch either of the above busses.

German-Shorthaired-Pointer-ft.jpg However you get there, we start our venture at the Pointing Dog, technically located in Cheadle Hulme but at its extreme, being almost in Stanley Green, and thus missed of the staggers. Purchased by J W Lees in 2017 from Marstons [of fake handpumped Wainwright Gold fame!], with a few bob being spent to revitalise the pub in 2023. Having a modern interior, geared more towards food, means the cask offering (no fake handpumps) isn’t the main selling point, but a usual array of Lees beer will be on offer. There is a sizable outdoor area, should the weather be with us. Starting here has the advantage that it is easily accessible from both Stockport and Didsbury, the latter by the hourly 42B bus. This allows us to all congregate (and eat if desired) before embarking on our venture to Woodford.

We need to time our departure accurately to ensure we don’t miss the hourly 42B bus, but a tracking app will be used to monitor its progress so we don’t waist drinking time!

With the restricted bus service, we have two hours to cover the following two pubs. This can be in either order, to be decided upon on the day, but arbitrarily described alphabetically.

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQYXBx8SmjoABOI2Ypqcedj9yycB9fYP3WROtw4C5Bxbip2F__xictlMwQeUxs0HjhutQ4&usqp=CAU The Aviator is a new build in 2022, again by J W Lees. This is ostensibly the local for the new housing estate [I get told off at work for using the description estate, "It’s a development or garden village" I’m told!], but don’t expect a wood panelled snug with old boys playing dominoes. There will be no raised heads when ‘outcomers’ enter as it is aimed at a travelling foody clientele. Built within the former A V Roe's Woodford aerodrome and there are plenty of photographic references to it’s former function as the testing and development site.

An%20aerial%20view%20of%20woodford%20aerodrome Many aircraft first took to the air here at Woodford, but the most famous two are, in 1942, the Avro 683 and in 1952 the Avro 698. You will know these better as the Lancaster (a four-engined development of the two engine Manchester) and the jet powered Vulcan, Britain’s front-line V-bomber up until retirement in 1984. Among the many exploits of the former are Operation Chastise (better known as the Dam Buster raid) and Operation Catechism, the sinking of the Tirpitz in Norwegian waters. The most spectacular exploits of the Lancaster were dropping Tallboy (12,000 lb) and Grand Slam (22,000 lb) bombs of the World War Two, which created craters so large they still exist on maps today. Unlike the Lancaster, the Vulcan never dropped the bombs it was designed to carry (Blue Danube), thankfully! Its only live mission was Operation Black Buck, the bombing of Port Stanley airport in the Falkland’s Conflict where mere (multiple) 1,000 lb bombs were used! As the Faulklans lay 6,300 nautical miles from Ascension Island, the nearest UK airport, the 12,600 mile trip involved mid-air refuelling supplied via 15 Victor sorties and 18 aerial refuelling operations (some Victors were themselves refuelled, with others flying multiple sorties).

Should you have time (and energy) to spare – a brisk 15 minute walk – there is still a Vulcan housed at Woodford. For this you need to travel over to the AVRO Heritage Museum where XM603 of 1963 vintage(?) can be viewed. There are rumours that in the future you will also be able to actually sit in the cockpit!

14f4d9581406690728981dcc32b0520b.jpg Our other Woodford pub, the Davenport Arms couldn’t be more different to the Aviator, being based upon a Cheshire farmhouse with a number of outbuildings (currently including the gent’s toilets). It is remarkable for being in the hands of four generations of the Hallworth family covering some 90 odd years in total. In 2021 a presentation was made to celebrate thirty five consecutive years in CAMRA’s national Good Beer Guide. The Hallworth’s have now bowed out, but the pub is in the hands of another well established family, the Bromleys, who also manage the Church in Cheadle Hulme. Internally the Thief’s Neck (as the Davenport Arms is known locally) is split in to three rooms (all with real fires for the colder months) with lots of wood panelling plus nooks and crannies. Along with real ale, real food is available (until 3pm) should you still need feeding. Again we are reliant on the hourly 42B, so bus tracking apps will again be consulted (unless you fancy a 35 minute walk).

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT6TbSjblogaSUF1iwzX-quVuLCk68BA2O1-Q&s Our final establishment is actually on a Stagger, but we couldn’t miss it out as we pass the front door, and it also forms a good parting of the waves for those destined to Stockport or Didsbury. The Mounting Stone in the middle of Bramhall is a complete contrast to the three previous pubs, being a converted shop. In keeping with many micro-bars, opening times mid-week are not until 4pm Tuesday to Thursday (closed Monday), so we may be waiting on the doorstep if the bus is bang on time at 3:56 pm. Two floored rather than two roomed, with a small beer garden at the rear and offering four cask ales, two from Bollington Brewery and one usually reserved for a porter or stout. Unlike all the others today, there is no food available here, but should you still be hungry there are many take-aways and restaurants within five minutes walk.

As mentioned, this will be the parting of the ways, with busses to Stockport at 5:04pm (378 arriving at 5:25pm) or 5:39pm (379 bus arriving at 6:00pm) and towards Didsbury on the 42B bus at either 5:06pm (arriving in Didsbury Village at 5:36pm) or at 6:07 (arriving in Didsbury Village 6:35pm).

11:40am11:45amStockport Interchange stand Q (around the back, Hat Museum side) for 11:45 313 bus
11:45pm12:10pmBus 313 towards Airport
BACK-UP 11:48am 42 bus to East Didsbury (11:58) then at 12:05pm bus 42B to Grove Lane (12:28pm)
ALTERNATIVESONE - Use the 42B bus from Manchester Piccadilly Bus Station via Didsbury with following timings
Piccadilly 11:24 - Withington 11:51 - Didsbury 11:59 - East Didsbury 12:05 - Arrive Grove Lane 12:28
TWO - Train to Cheadle Hulme station then pick up either 313 at 12:03pm or 42B at 12:21pm
12:10pm or
1:28pmPointing DogGrove Lane, Cheadle Hulme SK8 7NENoon till 9pm
1:28pm1:37pm42B bus towards Woodford
1:37pm2:37pmAviator6 Lancastrian Way, Woodford SK7 1SANoon till 9pm
2:37pm2:39pmBus 42B - Alternatively a 10 minute walk
2:40pm3:49pmDavenport Arms550 Chester Road, Woodford SK7 1PSNoon till 3pm
3:49pm3:55pmBus 42B to Bramhall centre
4:00pmLaterMounting Stone8 Woodford Road, Bramhall SK7 1JJNo
Travel to STOCKPORT5:04pm bus 378, arrive 5:25pm or 5:39pm bus 379, arrive 6:00pm
Towards DIDSBURY5:06pm bus 42B, arriving Didsbury Village at 5:36pm or 6:07 bus 42B, arriving Didsbury Village at 6:35pm