Out there, on the road away from Doncaster, and south to Bawtry, at the junction for Rossington, stands The Hare and Tortoise, a building that dates from the 1700s and which has had a variety of functions and uses.
It was opened as a pub, and had one of the toll bars for the Great North Road next to it – a hugely convenient juxtaposition, you might think, as once you’d could pay to use the roads, you could get over the shock of doling out the loot with a refreshing pint or three.
It’s said that the notorious braggart and highwayman Dick Turpin once slept at The Hare and Tortoise, which may or may not be true, but if you count up every place that he is alleged to have rested overnight, he can hardly ever have occupied his own bed.
Today, it has been given a sympathetic restoration, with stone-flagged floors in several areas and plenty of photographs and prints of local historical interest on the walls. The cask ales are ever-changing, and particularly well kept, but two favourites are Black Sheep Bitter and Leeds Ale – the staff are well-informed about what is on offer, which shows good management at the top. The wine list isn’t long, but it is impressive, and fairly priced, and there are several other drinking options to explore.
The Hare scores a bullseye with its food, and is a very popular venue for Sunday roasts. You’ll find that it is wise not to chance getting a table at the weekend – book in advance, since The Hare is justifiably popular.
Spotless toilets (with more historic memorabilia) and a good secure car park. The Hare isn’t pretentious – it’s something of an oasis in the area.
The Hare and Tortoise, 329 Bawtry Road, Doncaster, DN4 7PB. 01302 867329.