DRIVING along the winding country roads away from Winchester you wouldn’t think that nestled behind the shrubbery there’s an old gem tucked away.

Originally built as a coach house for the grand Lainston Estate, The Plough in Sparsholt has served its punters for more than 150 years.

Inside farmhouse-style pine tables and dried hops give it a warming atmosphere while outside the thatched roof and endless greenery make it look every bit the image of the Hampshire countryside which can easily draw in over 200 customers in the summer with its expansive beer garden.

Richard Crawford took the Wadworth’s pub over 18 years ago and now, with over 40 members of staff, it boasts regular entertainment, a fresh variety of food and numerous cask ales.

Richard said: “I heard this was coming up nearly 20 years ago. I’ve never looked back; I’ve got brilliant regulars. If I ever need any help I know they’re there to lend a hand!

“Bad weather can sometime lead to problems but we’re rarely quiet and still manage to have a good time despite the rain.”

The ploughmans costs £8.95 while the ciabatta sandwiches cost £8.50 and the starters, which include fresh mussels and the ever-popular fish cakes, range from £5.95 to £8.95.

The mains, which includes the burger so coveted it’s been known to draw people from York, cost between £11.95 to £21.95 and the puddings all come in at £5.95.

Lagers cost from £3.60, including Kronenburg and Peroni, while ciders cost £3.70 and the real ales, including Bishop’s Tipple, are priced from £3.50.

Wines range in price from £4.50 to £6.55 by the glass (£17.95 to £35.95 for the bottle) including a favourite New Zealand Reisling. Softs start from just £1.10.