August's Pub of the Month - Heaton Hops, Heaton Chapel

Thursday 24 August 2023

7 School Lane, Heaton Chapel, SK4 5DE Map

The Stockport & South Manchester CAMRA Pub of the Month award for August 2023 has been won by the Heaton Hops on School Lane in Heaton Chapel, writes Jim Flynn.

Heaton Hops in Heaton Chapel was opened by Damian O'Shea ('the Aleman') and his partner Charlotte back in April 2015, and since then they have won numerous awards from far and wide.

The bar is based in converted shop premises with just two small rooms (the second is downstairs) and a seemingly ever-expanding outside pavement drinking area which, in the summer especially, gives a continental feel. Damian has certainly created a friendly, hospitable and innovative place to have a drink.

There are now three changing cask beers, traditional cider and keg beers, along with bottled and canned beers from the UK and around the world (Damian started out selling bottled beers in local markets). The aim is to promote local beers as far as possible, although not to the exclusion of high-quality products from around the country. Indeed, one of the cask beers is now always supplied by Taylor's as the bar is a member of Taylor's Champions Club. The increasing choice of cask beers has enabled Damian to become one of the most enthusiastic supporters of CAMRA initiatives such as Mild Magic.

To say that the place has captured the imagination of local drinkers is an understatement, with the place packed out almost every night (don't go on Mondays, it's shut). So get there early to join the local CAMRA branch to celebrate the award, which will be presented to Damian, Charlotte and their staff on Thursday 24 August, when I'm sure there will be great beer and a convivial welcome.

The pub is on the 7 and 42A bus routes, the 192 stops nearby and Heaton Chapel train station is only five or six minutes away, so there is absolutely no excuse to miss this night!

The Pub of the Month award is sponsored by Stephensons, a local family firm that has been supplying the local pub and catering trade for over 140 years. Check out their web site by clicking on their logo.

Weekday Wanders


September Weekday Wander — Up in t'hills
11:30 Wednesday 6th September, Manchester Victoria

This month we are off up into the hills, where we can partake of grand views across Littleborough, that is if the weather is fine. Otherwise we might be stuck in the clouds with nothing but sodden sheep to stare at. Make sure your attire matches the conditions, be it sombrero and shorts or sowester and thermals.

As people will be traveling from different directions, our meeting point is Manchester Victoria for the train to Leeds, with ourselves alighting at Littleborough. Once off the train we have a 10 minute wait for our next transport, conveniently adjacent to a thrifty butty shop (sandwiches typically £3). Taking advantage of a useful bus, we will be whisked up the A58 to alight at the top of the hill right outside the White House.

Originally built as the Coach and Horses in 1671, White House probably at the same time as the adjacent road was upgraded to its current route. There is evidence of at least two other alignments for this ancient moorland crossing, one wrongly being described as a Roman Road (picture left and full details). Sometime in its life the Coach and Horses was painted white, and as it stands out on the skyline, it became known as the White House by the locals. Internally there are many rooms, some with views - weather permitting. Excellent food is on offer, but will cost a little more than the butty available down in Littleborough. When leaving we have a choice; the 587 will pick us up outside the pub (no bus stop, but clear waving of arms arrests the bus) for a couple or so stops. Alternatively a 20/25 minute walk down the old coach road (gravel surfaced) plus a little way down the main road will get us to our next objective.

The Moorcock was built in 1681 Moorcock Inn as a farmhouse, with its antiquity being attested to but the stonework of the windows overlooking the valley below. Various extensions have been sympathetically added over the years, but it still gives an impression of an old building. Inside is very 'olde worlde', with an extensive terrace and beer field (calling it a garden would be an understatement) at the rear, from where pleasant views are offered. When leaving, departure again needs co-ordinating with the 587 bus (again no bus stop).

When we alight from the bus in Littleborough we should have about a 10 minute wait for a lift up the next hill, but this assumes both busses Hare On The Hill are running to schedule. Alternatively the walk is 10 minutes and the gradient isn't too challenging.

Our next objective is the Hare On The Hill, a pub/bar/gastropub described as very small, but ever so perfectly formed! Part of a conglomerate which includes the award winning Flying Horse in Rochdale so we can expect good beer. Some of the Taliban wing of CAMRA may not approve, as cask ale is dispensed via free flow taps not handpumps, plus you have to pay for your beer electronically. A further challenge is firstly finding the toilets, then deciphering the signs on the doors to work out which is the Gents. Upon leaving we can yet again co-ordinate with a bus, but as it is downhill it is as easy to walk (weather permitting).

Red Lion

We will backtrack slightly to number 6 Halifax Road Red Lion to reach the Red Lion, which puts us a mere 5 minutes from the station. When approaching, in the infamous phrase from Dad's Army — no not Captain Mainwaring's "Don't tell him your name Pike" — but Corporal Jones's "Don't Panic". You may ask "Why?". The answer is that the outside still retains its Wilsons signage, but not their beers. Inside there are four rooms, one being to the rear and dedicated to pool. Contrasting with the modern furnishings at the Hare On The Hill, we are back in the cosy farmhouse mix-and-match style. When departing we can use the back entrance to the station, making it but a 5 minute walk.

Trains are approximately ever half hour ( at 03 and 30 past the hour) so departure time can be varied to meet our needs.

11:3011:30Meet at Manchester Victoria Station Rail Station
11:3511:58Northern train to Littleborough
12:1012:17587 bus towards Halifax
12:1713:20White HouseBlackstone Edge, Halifax Road, Littleborough, OL15 0LGYes
13:2313:28587 bus towards Littleborough
13:3014:25Moorcock InnHalifax Road, Littleborough, OL15 0LDYes
14:2814:31587 bus towards Littleborough
14:4014:43457 bus towards Stansfield or 10 minute walk
14:4515:45Hare On The Hill132 Hare Hill Road, Littleborough, OL15 9HG 
15:4515:5510 minute walk or 457 bus towards Rochdale
15:5516:55Red Lion6 Halifax Road, Littleborough, OL15 0HB 
16:5517:005 minute walk to Littleborough station
17:0317:25Northern train to Manchester Victoria
17:3017:52Alternative options - Northern train to Manchester Victoria


October Weekday Wander — Prestwich
11:40 Tuesday 3rd October, Manchester Victoria

This month's Weekday Wander heads north on the tram to visit Prestwich. Though this might sound like a cruel practice carried out on wise women of old the meaning is a little simpler. The prest of Prestwich is possibly from the Old English preost meaning priest with the wich being farm, village or home. This is rather ironic as seeing a priest nowadays would be a rarity as the area houses, combined with neighbouring Whitefield, Cheetham Hill, Crumpsall and Broughton Park, the second-largest Jewish community in the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately this Wander has a dearth of food outlets, but as a later than normal meeting is timetabled, hearty sustenance can be consumed prior to departure

Though advertised as Prestwich, we will actually alight the tram at Besses o' th' Barn and walk a little south to visit the Coach & Horses. A good, friendly, Holts local which has three separate drinking areas served by a narrow bar. The snug serves as a library room. A true traditional pub which still retains darts and dominoes teams. Of note is the mural on the wall outside as shown left. In passing, Besses o' th' Barn was (supposedly) the only railway sign to use lower case letters in the days of steam as illustrated at

We now have a choice, return to Besses o' th' Barn and catch a tram or walk into Prestwich. The walk, weather permitting (in October!), will take 15 minutes while the tram could take 10 to 20 depending on whether a tram is just missed!

Our next stop, Keg, Cask & Bottle couldn't be a bigger contrast to the Coach & Horses had we organised a trip to the moon (well okay, not quite that big a contrast!) This micro-bar, housed in a shop premise in the Longfield Shopping Centre, is modern and, as the term implies, cosy. Though dominated by beer taps, draught ale is still available, along with many shelves of bottles and cans. Seating is limited so we may have to spill out on to the boulevard (well what do you call a walkway in a shopping precinct?). This is undercover so not too weather dependant (save for driving snow).

To reach our next venue we need to cross Bury New Road. Though this implies it is of more recent vintage then Bury Old Road, it is conjectured that Bury New Road actually lies on the line of the Manchester to Ribchester Roman Road (full account of the road). Having safely navigated crossing this VERY busy road we come to the Wine & Wallop. Another modern outlet which could be described as a pub, café or restaurant, and with much more space than across the road, so accommodation is no problem.

Around the corner and down the streets leads to the historic centre of Prestwich and the Ostrich Inn. What? I thought the next venue was the Church Inn. It is, and has been renamed more fittingly as it stands next to the parish church (or was Prestwich noted for flocks of Ostriches in times of old?) Internally the pub is divided in to a warren of low beamed rooms with plenty of space for us. In fact, if we don't all arrive together the vanguard could easily hide their whereabouts to the rear-guard.

When departing, there is an opportunity to visit an excellent food outlet. Being called Chips@No8 gives the fayre away. The attention to detail is such that, unlike most places where your fish of choice has to be ordered on entry, it feels like the request "A bag of chips" would be met with "Certainly, King Edwards? Maris Piper? Jersey Royal?"

Back to the tram station and a short hop to the Heaton Park stop and just around the corner we espy the Royal Oak. Owned by Hydes, and a good example of the honest street corner pub and offering three of their range of beers. Consisting of three rooms, along with an outside drinking area (though probably not being first choice at 5pm in October!) As the tram is but a stones throw away, departure home is fluid.

The original idea was to visit the Railway and Naturalist because of its unusual name but unfortunately no cask ale. Here is a possible explanation of that name: In around 1880 the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway built a line which, in 1916 was an early example of green transport, being converted from steam to electric operation — this is the railway. Several locals are also noted for their writings about the fauna and flora in the area such as Richard Buxton, James Cosmo Melvill, Leo Grindon and Thomas Rogers — are these the Naturalists?


11:4011:45Meet at Manchester Victoria Station Rail Station
11:4812:15Bury bound tram alighting at Besses o' th' Barn
12:1513:30Coach & Horses71 Bury Old Road, Whitefield, M45 6TB 
13:3013:45Back to tram and travell to Prestwich OR walk (if weather clement?)
13:4514:00Call in nearby shop for food break
14:0015:00Keg, Cask & BottleUnit 7 Longfield Centre Prestwich, Prestwich, M25 1AYBelow
15:0016:00Wine & Wallop401-403 Bury New Road, Prestwich, M25 1AAYes
16:0016:45Church Inn40 Church Lane, Prestwich, M25 1AJ 
16:4517:00Tram Prestwich to Heaton Park
17:0017:45Royal Oak23-25 Whittaker Lane, Prestwich, M25 1HA 
17:4518:00Tram back to Manchester Victoria (tram every 6/7 minutes)

⇒ The Keg, Cask & Bottle is small so 'sittings' may be required. This could be an opportunity to visit nearby shops to pick up food if desired.


Edgeley and Shaw Heath Stagger

Friday 18 August 2023

We start Alexandra today Alexandra in 1975 tonight at the Alexandra and left and right we see the Alexandra both in 1975 and today, but which is which? The trees in the older photo right have now gone and the cars are a little more modern but what else has changed?

Around the corner Royal Oak today Royal Oak in 1979 at the start of Castle Street we reach the Royal Oak. Back in 1979 the Royal Oak was in the hands of Wilson's Brewery from Newton Heath, Manchester. This is the first of many former Wilson's houses we will meet this evening.

A little along Prince Albert in 1979 Prince Albert today Castle Street, and on the next street corner, we come across the Prince Albert. This was also a Wilson's house back in 1979. For a time it was bereft of cask ale but back in 2012 it started to serves Marston's beers so is back in the real ale fold.

Next up,  Sir Robert Peel in 1979  Sir Robert Peel today again on the next street corner we see the Sir Robert Peel, known to generations of locals as the Bobby Peel. Back in 1979 it was another Wilson's house and presumably served real ale. This was unfortunately lacking until a year or so ago when thankfully cask ale returned, but not Wilsons!

Now for a bit Pineapple today Pineapple in 1979 of variety. Yes the Pineapple is still a Wilson's house, but this time in the middle of a row of shops and not a street corner! Unfortunately these days there is no real ale.

We are back to the norm, Jolly Crofter Jolly Crofter with the Jolly Crofter being yet another street corner establishment. Unfortunately it is difficult to determine whether this was yet another Wilsons house or not. Judging by the typeface used for the pub's name and size and shape of the end of brewery sign, it does appear to be a Wilsons house.

We now have an interesting array of photos of the Armoury. The initial photo (below left) has been dated as 1901 but the caption admits it could have be any time between 1895 and 1912. The middle photo is undated but the building has been rebuilt and/or modernised and looks closer to todays layout and now is obviously a Bells & Co. house. The third photo (below right) shows what the Armoury looks like today when it is firmly a Robinsons outlet.

Armoury around 1900 Armoury at an intermediate date Armoury today

The final photo from Ye Olde Vic in with its old name of Victoria Vaults Ye Olde Vic as is today yester-years took some tracking down because in days gone by Ye Olde Vic was known as the Victoria Vaults. The older photo is undated, but can't be that long ago as shown by the municipal flats which loom in background. Nowadays Ye Olde Vic is a multi-ale free house, whereas then it was yet again a Wilsons house.


Below, clicking on Map will call up a Google travel map with that location automatically set as the destination. Insert your current location (post code?) as the start and choose a travel mode (public, car, cycle or foot) and discover your travel options.

Following THIS LINK will take you to the Transport for Greater Manchester website for current travel information.


Edgeley and Shaw Heath


Pub Name


Bus & Rail


7.30pm Starting point

195 Northgate Road


Royal Oak
124 Castle Street
No real ale

8:30pm Mid-point

Prince Albert
107 Castle Street

Followed by

Sir Robert Peel
83 Castle Street
No real ale
50 Castle Street
No Real Ale
Jolly Crofter
15 Castle Street
No Real Ale
31 Shaw Heath

Finishing at

Olde Vic
1 Chatham Street


View Edgeley and Shaw Heath stagger in a separate window.

Images on this page are thumbnails from various sources and no right is claimed. If you own copyright and wish either removal or acknowledgement please advise me and I'll promptly follow your wishes.

Updated July 2023

Cider Pub of the Year 2023

Petersgate Tap, Stockport

19a St Petersgate, Stockport SK1 1EB Map

The Stockport & South Manchester CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year for 2022 is Petersgate Tap, St Petersgate, Stockport.

Petersgate Tap

It's four in a row for the Petersgate Tap, which is once again the CAMRA Stockport & South Manchester Cider Pub of the Year.

Set over two floors, the Tap opened in September 2016, since when it has settled in to become a firm favourite with local beer and cider drinkers. Father and son team Alan and Chris Gent are passionate about their beers and ciders. Dark (and often quite strong) beers are something of a speciality, while the cider and perry selection has gone from strength to strength. No fewer than eight traditional ciders and perries are now regularly available.

Petersgate Tap

While local producers feature here, such as Dunham Press (Dunham Massey) and SiDa (Macclesfield), there is also an accent on sourcing high-quality ciders and perries from leading producers further afield. Top names such as Ross on Wye, Gregg's Pit and Hecks now often feature on the cider list. All of the ciders are either fridge- or cellar-cooled too.

Alan Gent told us: "We are obviously very pleased that our efforts on cider and perry have been recognised by the branch. This year, we have continued to diversify our range and stockists, sadly losing the legendary (cider supplier) John Reek along the way. We're looking forward to contending for the regional title in the near future".

Club of the Year 2023

Ladybarn Social Club - Stockport and South Manchester Club of the Year

13 Green Street, Ladybarn, Manchester, M14 6TL Map

The Stockport & South Manchester Club of the Year is the Ladybarn Social Club, on Green Street, in Ladybarn. This prompted a long-planned visit and chat with club secretary, and self-confessed cask ale freak, Phil Cowtan.

The club occupies a building that was originally the White Swan pub - a Robinsons house, although originally belonging to Kay's Atlas Brewery of Ardwick. When Robinsons closed the pub around ten years ago, it was acquired by the club committee, which had recently sold its nearby premises for housing. It has gone from strength to strength ever since, and has also been the Stockport & South Manchester Club of the Year in 2015 and 2017.

The past 18 months have seen considerable changes, though. During the first lockdown, some £30,000 was spent improving the building and its facilities. There was a major refurbishment upstairs (where you will find two full-size snooker tables), downstairs the furniture was replaced, and outside the building was made watertight. The opportunity was also taken to restore the "Kay's Ales" signage that can be seen on photographs taken in the 1950s.

There have also been significant changes in the cask beer range. There was previously a tie to Carlsberg Marston's, which was finally bought out in 2019. Latterly this has enabled Phil (pictured left), who also looks after the cellar, to become rather more adventurous. There are three cask beers on the bar. Permanent is Robinsons Unicorn, which is very popular with many of the regulars. This is joined by two ever-changing guest beers, usually obtained from small, local brewers. Phil makes a point of visiting Manchester pubs to see what's new and what's selling well. He's a big fan of the new Steelfish Brewing (see page 15), whose products have been very well received.

Aside from the popular Unicorn, Phil aims to have one darker beer and one pale beer on tap. He has also been surprised how well-received some of the newer unfined and hazy cask beers have been. He also tells us that cask in general has really taken off since the club properly reopened in July last year.

The club currently has 300-320 members, and this is steadily increasing. It only costs £20 a year (and just £10 if you are over 65). Non-members can pay three visits before being asked to join.

The presentation date hasn't yet been arranged but it should be in the next couple of months.

Stagger List

Staggers are arranged in alphabetic order.

Clicking on the Stagger Name will lead to a detailed listing of venues included.


Start Point

Mid Point


Three Bears
Jackson's Lane, SK7 5JH

Ladybrook Hotel
Fir Road, Bramhall SK7 2NP


Farmers Arms
254 Burnage Lane, M19 1EN

Beer Shop
13 Kingsleigh Road, SK4 3QF

Cheadle east

Cheshire Line Tavern
Manchester Road, SK8 2NZ

Royal Oak
22 Stockport Road, SK8 2AA

Cheadle Hulme centre

Cheadle Road, SK8 5DX

Church Inn
90 Ravenoak Road, SK8 7EG

Cheadle Hulme north

Cross Keys
10 Adswood Road, Cheadle Hulme SK8 5QA

March Hare
Mill Lane, Cheadle Hulme SK8 5PG

Chorlton-on-Medlock and University

Ford Madox Brown
Wilmslow Road, M14 5FT

Grafton Arms
27 Grafton Street, M13 9WU

Didsbury north

1d School Lane, M20 6RD

682 Wilmslow Road, M20 2DN

Didsbury south

852 Wilmslow Road, M20 2SG

770 Wilmslow Road, M20 2DR

East Didsbury and Heaton Mersey

882 Wilmslow Road, M20 5PG

Dog & Partridge
687-693 Didsbury Road, SK4 3AG

East Manchester
Saturday afternoon

Grove at 12:30pm
652 Ashton New Road, Clayton M11 4SQ

Railway around 3pm
2 Manshaw Road, Openshaw M11 1HS

Edgeley and Shaw Heath

195 Northgate Road, SK3 9NJ

Prince Albert
107 Castle Street, SK3 9AR

Gatley and Cheadle west

Prince of Wales
Gatley Green, SK8 4NF

White Hart
90 High Street, SK8 1PX

Gorton, Hyde Road

927 Hyde Road, M18 7FB

Royal Oak
114 Cross Lane, M18 8NZ

Great Moor, Cale Green and Heaviley

Travellers Call
351 Buxton Road, SK2 7NL

Duke of York
113 Buxton Road, SK2 6LR

Hazel Grove north

Grove Alehouse
145 London Road, SK7 4HH

Flying Coach
120 London Road, SK7 4DJ

Hazel Grove south

Rising Sun
2 Buxton Road, SK7 6AD

Wilfred Wood
204 London Road, SK7 4DF

Heaton Moor

Plough on the Moor
82 Heaton Moor Road, SK4 4NZ

98-100 Heaton Moor Road, Heaton Moor SK4 4NZ

Heaton Moor east and Heaton Chapel

33 Heaton Moor Road, SK4 4PB

George & Dragon
422 Manchester Road, Heaton Chapel SK4 5DH

Heaton Norris east

1 Manchester Road, Heaton Norris, SK4 1TY

74-76 Wellington Road North, Heaton Norris, SK4 1HF

Ladybarn and Fallowfield

Ladybarn Social Club
13 Green Street, M14 6TL

353 Wilmslow Road, M14 6XS


Blue Bell
170 Barlow Road, M19 3HF

Station Hop
815 Stockport Road, M19 3BS

Moss Nook and Heald Green

Tatton Arms
Trenchard Drive, M22 5LZ

Heald Green
Finney Lane, SK8 3QH


Farmers Arms
26 Longley Lane, M22 4JR

Lounge About
424 Palatine Road, M22 4JT


Puss in Boots
147 Nangreave Road, SK2 6DG

Finger Post
434 Hempshaw Lane, SK1 4QA


Grey Horse
99 Broadstone Road, SK5 7AS

93 Broadstone Road, SK5 7AS

Stockport Market Place

Bakers Vaults
Market Place, SK1 1ES

Project 53
22 Market Place, SK1 1EU

Stockport North and Portwood

263 Newbridge Lane,

11 Great Portwood Street, Portwood, Stockport SK1 2DW

Stockport south and Underbanks

59-61 Wellington Road South, SK1 3RU

Queens Head
12 Little Underbank, SK1 1JT

West Didsbury

Woodstock Arms
139 Barlow Moor Road, M20 2DY

Albert Club
39-41 Old Lansdowne Road, M20 2PA


8 Burton Road, M20 3ED

438 Wilmslow Road, M20 3BW