Goldstone Wharf is a popular stopping place on the Shropshire Union and the Wharf Tavern there will be familiar to many boaters. But if this large and rather bland, food-oriented pub is not to your taste, next time you come this way you might consider taking the fifteen-minute walk into the nearby village of Cheswardine.
First of the village's two pubs is the Fox and Hounds. When I first visited, three years ago, this was a rather run-down and disappointing pub, suffering from a 1970's refurbishment that had left it with one large room and very little atmosphere. However, on my visit last weekend I found it had been refurbished once more and this time, unusually, for the better. The new layout features a number of partitions, creating several separate - and different - areas, wooden flooring and perimeter seating in the form of continuous wooden benches - the sort of seating that was being ripped out of pubs until very recently. There's also a proper, functioning, log fire.
The Fox and Hounds is owned by "Joules Brewery" and both the inn sign and some interior decorations carry this famous name. But its not the real "Joules", whose empty brewery backs on to the Trent & Mersey Canal at Stone. This new Joules will have a brewery in Market Drayton - a long way from traditional Joules territory. Presumably, this is not yet operational as the Fox and Hounds serves a number of different beers, including draught Bass, which is ironic, as it was Bass who bought out Joules and closed the old brewery in 1974.
Despite this, the Fox and Hounds is well worth a visit. There is a separate dining area (although I didn't try the food so I can't comment) and the pub's atmosphere is relaxed and inviting and well worth the walk up from the canal.
Cheswardine has another pub - but I'll tell you about that next time.