IT has been a while since I reviewed a pub down in the Rossendale Valley - an area undoubtedly blessed with many fine traditional drinking dens.

One such establishment is the White Lion in Rawtenstall, a five minute stroll from the town centre.

This spacious, cosy, two roomed pub, with enclosed beer garden to the rear, has been in existence for 200 years and was formerly a row of cottages.

The first impression as I walked in was that of a traditional wet-led drinking den. Regulars huddled around the bar exchanging friendly beery banter and the clatter of pool balls from the adjoining games room.

I was met by landlord Brent Taylor. He and his wife, Ann, have been here for 10 years. Brent said: "We have been very happy here. It's a cheery and sociable pub. It's so friendly - and we never have any trouble."

Brent offered me a selection of four cask beers. There was an excellent choice on the bar. Moorhouse's White Witch was the local potion in addition to a bitter from Exmoor Brewery and a golden ale from Huddersfield brewer, Small World.

However, one that caught my eye, was the HPA (Hereford Pale Ale) from Wye Valley Brewery - and it didn't disappoint! A refreshing, biscuity malt laden and subtle bitter hopped delight, it was in great condition.

Brent said: "All the cask ales are popular and are changed every couple of days. We will sell 36 gallons of the White Witch this week. And it will be the same with the HPA.

There was a really cheerful and chatty crowd in. You are made to feel at home in an instant. One regular at the bar, Roy, had been coming here for 50 years. He said jokingly: "Yes, it's been far too long, but I love the beer and the company here."

The White Lion offers plenty of social interaction, in addition to that within the confines of the bar area. Pool and quiz night are held on a Tuesday. And there is live entertainment at the weekend. Oh, and Monday witnesses the weekly meetings of the Rossendale Motorbike Club.

This community pub was a joy to visit. Ideally situated on a mainline bus route. It offered a warm, friendly welcome, from both the mine hosts and regulars alike. The cask condition beers were all in excellent condition and enjoyed in a homely and relaxing environment.

I wish Brent and Ann continued success at this Rossendale social hub. Their type of establishment has dwindled in numbers in recent years. Hopefully, this will be part of the local social fabric for many years to come.