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Save our Flintshire Pubs: The Blue Bell Inn, Halkyn

KATHRYN QUAYLE reports on the award-winning pub which has something for everyone

THE Blue Bell Inn in Halkyn is a real treasure – a proper rural pub at the heart of its community.

The pub, which was built in the mid-1700s, is set near the top of Halkyn Mountain and boasts spectacular views over the Dee and Mersey, with the Cumbrian Mountains and the Pennines in the distance.

It is thought the pub is named after a local privateer’s boat.

Legend has it he was later caught and hanged for his piracy, and he is thought to be buried a few hundred yards away in the cemetery next to Halkyn Castle.

Today the pub is owned Steve Marquis, who took over in 2003.

Steve said: “We have traditional values. This is a real old-fashioned pub.

“The Blue Bell is about people and focuses on them talking, laughing and enjoying themselves. There’s no football here!”

The pub has received numerous awards over the years, including the Camra Regional Pub and Cider Pub of the Year for North Wales, Cheshire and Merseyside.

And the Blue Bell prides itself on its selection of real ales.

It offers a selection of four cask beers – including Blue Bell Bitter produced by local brewery Facers – and three ciders and perries at any one time.

“We are on our 710th real ale now,” said Steve.

“We hang up the pump clips from the cask beers offered on the ceiling as decoration.”

Although the pub does not serve food every day, tasty traditional dishes are available at lunchtime on weekends and bank holidays.

“A local buffalo farm supplies the meat used on the menu and the fish is line and pole caught,” said Steve.

The family-run freehouse is a firm favourite with walkers and hosts free led walks organised by Troedio Clwyd Walks every week.

And the pub also welcomes their four-legged friends.

Visitors can also take part in conversational Welsh classes, enjoy the pub’s reading corner, peruse the papers or play board games.

“We have something for everyone,” said Steve.

Now the Blue Bell is gearing up for the Flintshire Real Ale Trail on September 3.

The event, organised by Flintshire Tourism Association, attracted more than 1,000 people in May and Steve hopes the next event will be just as successful.

He added: “So many people came through the door my feet were hurting by the end of the day, but I was still smiling.

“We are really looking forward to the next one.”