Hidden gem is an over-used epithet, but this curious, ancient pub is just that. Tucked away in the tiny village of Luddenden with its tightly packed huddle of stone buildings, it sits squarely opposite the beautiful four hundred year old churchyard and the gurgling beck.
Dating from the early 17th century, it once held a lending library, doubled as a temporary venue for weddings and funerals, and was a sort of Yorkshire Algonquin Round Table, with local artists, poets and writers meeting there regularly, including Branwell Brontë, who in 1841 worked as a clerk-in-charge at the now defunct Luddenden railway station.
It’s not hard to imagine shooting the breeze over a pint with him, since the interior hasn’t changed much since his patronage; it’s been smartened up of course, but thick stone sills and mullion windows, old oak floors, open fires and beams remain. Timothy Taylor Landlord, Golden Best and IPA Green King are on tap; hot food is served on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The meat and potato pie has great beauty – home-made, with mushy peas and mint sauce – and great value at £4.85.
Outside there is a stunning garden on two levels. In the summer plants and flowers spill from every surface and basket; by the back door is a pretty, secluded stone flagged yard, and a narrow path opens out onto a big bark-covered area with round wooden tables and integral seats, wooden deck chairs, old fashioned iron lights, and lovely views over the village to the hills beyond. The Lord Nelson, Luddenden, Halifax, HX2 6PX. 01422 882176. www.thelordnelson.uk.com