The new village of Cambourne is set to get its first pub. It will be part of the Pathfinder chain owned by Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries; it will be situated on the corner of Monkfield Lane and High Street and be called The Monkfield Arms. Pathfinders are family and food oriented pubs but usually serve real ale. W&D vie with Greene King as the country's biggest pub-owning brewery but up until now have had no pubs in our area. Their beers include Banks's, Marstons and Mansfield.

Some years ago, Greene King applied for planning permission to convert The White Horse, West Wickham into a private house; the application fortunately was turned down. Greene King subsequently sold the pub to Admiral Taverns who in turn have put it on the market, free of tie, with "offers invited". So, if you fancy a slightly run-down village pub with bags of potential, contact Christie and Co.

After a 10 year absence, Liz Nicholls is back in charge at The Royal Oak Barrington though she's hanging on to her other pub, The King William IV at Heydon. Our spies have not yet had chance to check if The Royal Oak remains tied to Greene King.

The Plough at Coton seems to be well on its way to regaining its old reputation as one of the best pub/restaurants in the area. It's now in the hands of the same folk who run The Vine (formerly The Boat Race) in East Road, Cambridge. However there has (thankfully) been no attempt to impose the contemporary style of The Vine on this village pub and the refurb promised later in the year will also respect its old-fashioned (though much altered) interior. On the real ale front the offerings are the inevitable Greene King IPA, Fullers London Pride and Hopback Summer Lightning (the last very reasonably priced for a 5% beer at £2.30). Considering how important food is here, the bar area is surprisingly pubby. The menu is apparently still under development but looks interesting and adventurous.