The Castle

A 'warts & all' account of the transformation of a run-down pub in Bradford-On-Avon into a 'proper' Inn (food pub with rooms). Written by Alex Reilley & Pierre Woodford

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Web site at last

Read all about The Castle including the newly opened boutique bedrooms at: -

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The great outdoors

A rare sunny day at The Castle

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Food review

It's our first food review courtesy of The Bath Chronicle


A Friend had been raving about an old pub in Bradford on Avon which has had, she said, THE most amazing makeover and that I really should try it.She warned me that Friday and Saturday evenings at the newly revamped Castle Inn - at the top of a hill overlooking the rooftops of the town - were very busy, so we went for a mid-week meal with two other friends, and a very jolly time we had too.

The makeover of what had been a tired looking pub, by Wiltshire brewers Flatcappers, has been astonishing. There are slate and wooden floors, muted grey walls hung with fascinating old portraits, stone fireplaces and, in the snug where we sat, a wall of tactile modern grey flockwallpaper, lit by mini-chandeliers and fascinating retro lampshades which my friend assured me were made by two-old-ladies-who-make-lampshades Wherever they came from, these cream and black draped affairs reminded me of a seance.

The music was muted jazz, the service friendly and efficient (you order at the bar) and the drinks and wine menu simply presented, and best of all, reasonably priced. A bottle of Chilean sauvignon blanc, complete with ice bucket, was £13.50.

Our party of four were all very impressed by the food too. My rump steak (£11.95) with cafe Paris butter, thin, crispy french fries and a huge helping of spinach-rich salad was melt-in-the-mouth tender and tasty too. J's risotto of creamy butternut squash with rocket and candied walnuts (£8.50) was a hearty big bowlful and Helen's enormous roasted field mushroom topped with smoked goats cheese (£7.95) was beautifully presented with an interesting mixed leaf salad and a pesto dressing.

We barely had time to register Carolyn's bowl of chargrilled fresh tuna, salad and a poached egg (£12.95) before she'd scoffed the lot appreciatively.

The evening progressed with much chat and laughter. We ordered a second bottle of wine and shared two puddings. One was a light, creamy white chocolate cheesecake with an unusual Amaretti biscuit base, the other was a chocolate brownie of such huge proportions that we didn't think one person would manage it all, delicious as it was. The puddings were all £4.95 each.

As the rain swept across the town beneath us, obscuring the view of the Westbury White Horse in the distance, we agreed it was a shame we couldn't sit out on the comfy looking wooden benches and tables in the garden at the front of the pub.

If we ever get a summer, I can imagine coming up here again to sit outside with a bowl of mixed olives and parsnip crisps, or some sweetcorn fritters with a chilli dip, which were on the 'picking/grazing' menu. Or coming on a late Sunday morning for a brunch of The Works Breakfast (£6.85) complete with bubble and squeak and Toulouse sausage and a pint of Flatcappers ale.

The Castle is a very welcome addition to the Bradford on Avon foodie scene. A couple of waitresses at weekends to take food orders at tables would ease the congestion at the bar. But otherwise, I doff my titfer respectfully to the Flatcappers.

The Castle Inn

Who for? We saw customers aged between one and 70, women out for an evening, couples, plus groups of friends just enjoying a drink - this is no gastro foodies-only pub

Price ranges? From £2.50 for olives and parsnip crisps, puddings all £4.95, specials from £5.95 to £12.95

Where? The Castle Inn, Bradford on Avon

To contact: 01225 865657

Food served: 9am to 10pm, daily, Sundays, 10am to 9.30pm

Family friendly? Well behaved children welcome

Vegetarians: Typical meat-free dishes include chickpea fritters and roasted red onions with onion and coriander, or a full veggie breakfast

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Castle Menu

Smoked Salmon eggs Benedict – 5-50

The Works Breakfast – bacon, Cumberland sausage, tomato, black pudding, mushrooms, bubble & squeak, choice of egg – 6.85

Eggy bread & bacon tower – 5.50

Tortilla, Borlotti beans, cheese, tomato salsa, guacamole & coriander yoghurt (V) – 5.50

Veggi breakfast with sweet corn fritter, beef tomato, field mushrooms, bubble & squeak & egg (V) – 5.95

Smoked haddock with bubble & squeak, poached egg & butter sauce – 7.95

The Castle Burger with sweet dill gherkin & tomato salsa served in ciabatta – 7.50 cheese/bacon 0.50

Flatcapper Ale battered fish with mushy peas, chunky chips & tartare sauce – 9.50

Warm salad of chickpea fritters & roasted red onions with onion & coriander (V) – 7.50

Spinach & cream cheese pancakes with a Gruyere sauce – 6.50

Rump steak with cafe Paris butter & frites – 11.95

Crispy honey glazed duck confit on a creamed celeriac & rocket with bacon lardons – 10.95

Steak sandwich on ciabatta with blue cheese butter, rocket & sweet potato crisps - 7.95

Ploughman’s with a selection of English cheeses, pork terrine, pickled onions and wholemeal bread – 7.95

Pickings / Grazing

Cheesy chips with garlic mayo – 2.95

Mixed olives & parsnip crisps – 2.50

Roasted sweet peppers with herb de Provence
& spiced almonds – 2.95

Marinated char-grilled aubergines – 2.95

Sweetcorn fritters with chilli dip – 3.50

Deep fried squid rings tartare sauce – 4.95


Leek and potato soup 3.50 (S)

Country pork terrine with spiced onions and wholemeal bread
5.95 (S)

Prawn cocktail £5.50 (S)

Fresh mussels £5.50 (S) / £8.95 (M)

Salmon fishcakes with fries and tartare sauce 7.50 (M)

Pan-fried calves liver with grain mustard mash, glazed carrots, roasted red onions and Port jus 12.50 (M)

Chicken and leek pie with new potatoes and glazed carrots 8.95 (M)

Puddings all 4.95

Walnut & treacle tart with lightly whipped cream

Old English syllabub with Cape gooseberry & homemade shortbread

Chocolate St Emillion with brandy cream & grated chocolate

The transformation





On Monday at 3pm (3 hours later than we'd hoped) The Castle finally re-opened it's doors for business. It was a fantastic first night & the pub was extremely busy. Other than one of the chef's walking out at 8.40am there were no major hitches & food & much ale was enjoyed by all. Very heavy head on Tuesday not to mention strange memories of break-dancing with the builders!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


We're almost there & it's all go - builders, chefs, cleaners, all on the final push. Late gas crisis averted after the metre wasn't fitted until 2 days after the supply came in & we almost didn't have any cellar cooling until Monday. All we need to today is some dry weather so the painters can finish off the outside. In 24 hours we need to be open - WE WILL BE OPEN!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

We love the Bath Chronicle!

Our 4th feature in the Bath Chronicle!

Date : 14.06.07

One of Bradford on Avon's oldest pubs will reopen its doors to the public next week after months of restoration work.

The Castle Inn, which was originally built as two houses in the 18th century, has been transformed inside and out since its closure in September last year.

Almost a year later, the pub is back in business under the leadership of a team that includes Pierre Woodford, a former general manager at Sir Terence Conran's Bibendum restaurant in London.

Mr Woodford said the new pub would be much more family orientated, with a large garden and traditional open fireplace.

He said: "The building will be cool in the summer and lovely and warm in the winter.

"We want people to come in and utilise it all year round.

"The sense of space in the building is completely different now to when we started.

"We've moved the main entrance and we're now using a reclaimed Georgian front door."

Maintaining the history of the building was one of the priorities of the £250,000 project by Mr Woodford and his developing partners, Alex Reilley, Dave Reid, Jake Bishop, Peter Dixon and Lee Jones.

Elm floorboards reclaimed from the upper parts of the pub have been laid in the bar area, with all doors, except emergency exits, made from reclaimed Georgian timber.

The public has been able to follow the progress of the project since it began in October through the developers' online diary at .

Mr Woodford added: "The transformation now is stunning from when we first went in and looked at buying it in April last year.

"Lots of people are interested in what it will look like, and hopefully we won't disappoint."

The Castle Inn at Mount Pleasant opens at noon on Monday and the new owners plan to offer upstairs accommodation to guests from mid-August.

5 DAYS TO GO !!!!

We Have Gas! (not flatulence)

Another landmark last night when we had our brand spanking new gas main put in, we were overcome with joy, due to it being done earlier that originally thought, until we realised that they weren't attaching a meter and that the meter was to come from our supplier, a slightly nauseating moment as we have done practically everything to get this far and the appliances are supposed to be commissioned this morning. If it doesn't happen there is a possibility that our plans to open on Monday could go tits up. We just have to look on the bright side, our beer engines have arrived, we have some beer, Heineken have done their install, we have more proper ale arriving today -unfortunately there is, as yet no stillage, a somewhat essential bit of cellar equipment that should be arriving on Friday in time for us to put it up and get the beers on the stillage to settle, and hopefully ready for us to sample a couple on Sunday (just to make sure that it's alright of course) for the opening on Monday.

Meanwhile the site is total chaos with every trade & their dog clambering over each other trying to get finished. All of this whilst stuff for the pub is being delivered. It's all at critical mass & we're all bloody knackered!

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Water, water everywhere

Yesterday evening saw a major landmark in the build – we finally got our water supply upgraded. Just the gas to go now & we’re home a dry (ish). It is truly remarkable how happy such simple things as having your water supply upgraded make you feel.

Internally work is cracking on. The parquet floor is down in the hallway, the relocated elm/pine floor in the snug is being sanded, the flagstones are being laid in the bar overnight tonight & tomorrow, the plumbers & sparkies are final fixing, & the decorators are, well, decorating It’s all a bit well oiled & by far the most together build we’ve ever done with 11 days to go. How’s that for a kiss of death statement.

On the recruitment front something nothing short of a miracle has happened. From having no staff at all to speak of at the beginning of the week we are now fully staffed front of house & we’ve even been contacted by some of those rare breed ‘the chef’.

Orders have been placed for delivers next week & we’ve sample the house stout ‘Goodness’ & it is indeed very good.

This is the calm before the storm; next week’s going to be hectic.

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