Mark Briggs has been a real ale connoisseur for over 35 years.  A self-professed ‘beer geek’, Mark visits East Lancashire’s pubs for his weekly column.
Read of Mark’s adventures in ale at his blog or follow him on Twitter @realaleupnorth

ON a glorious spring day, a rural location on the outskirts of Burnley drew my attentions.

The Ram Inn, Cliviger, is a traditional coaching house, dating back to the early 17th Century and it retains lots of original features, including a stone, horse mounting block close to its entrance.

The pub has a vast, roomy internal area and boasts many old fashioned features; stone-flagged floors, low-beamed ceilings, and stone, open hearth fireplaces. It also has lots of space to relax, with off-room areas that provide antique tables, chairs and knick-nacks.

Manager Andy Atkinson has been in charge since December, and looked to have a busy schedule, taking food orders (from the extensive, daily menu) instructing staff and pulling pints for thirsty customers.

Thankfully, affable Andy had time to offer me one of three cask ales that were available, with Moorhouse’s and Naylor’s (Keighley) the current offerings.

I plumped for Naylor’s Brew 1641, a refreshing, malty and lightly hopped beer. It was in tip-top nick, and quite reasonably priced, at £2.90 a pint. Not bad for a rural venue. Andy added: “The cask ales are very popular. We are planning a beer and music festival on August Bank Holiday Monday. Local beers, local brewers and local bands. You are first to hear about it.”

There was one negative – the gaming machine and cash point in the bar. It just didn’t look right, in my opinion, surrounded by the old fashioned furnishings, ornate light fittings and old photos of the area – on the stone-exposed walls.

However, modern technology seemed quite insignificant when you wandered outside, and witnessed the Ram’s external facilities. They are most impressive, as you walk past an original stone trough with running water and descend stone steps onto a raised, flagged patio area.

A few short strides lead you to a spacious lawned beer-garden, in a most tranquil setting. The view of Thieveley Pike and the Cliviger Gorge are truly stunning. The rear of the pub, without doubt, has to have one of the most scenic views in the area.

The Ram is a fine rural outpost, in an idyllic location. It offered good service and friendly staff, in a relaxing environment.