IT'S been a while since I made a beery trek to the Rossendale Valley for the pub review — and a few of the natives I had spoken to had been a tad vociferous of late, reminding me of that fact.

So, it was off to the Moorhouse's-owned Craven Heifer.

The pub is ideally situated on the main road, just outside the centre, and the X43 Manchester bus passes through every 15 minutes.

It looked a fine, well-presented hostelry externally, with its white painted walls, leaded windows, window-boxes and beer-garden.

It's a traditional boozer, with its low ceiling, dark oak furnishings, main, spacious lounge, as well as a most impressive snug/games room.

This smaller room had a pool table, dartboard, open fireplace - and an small L-shaped bar, with comfy stools around it. Loved it.

I was met by the very amiable and chatty Steve, behind the pumps. He was managing the pub, while tenants, Martin and Carole Harnett were taking a well-earned break.

I got an immediate friendly feel at the relatively small bar. A couple of cheery regulars were exchanging views about value tram rides from Blackpool to Fleetwood, and the resort having become rather grotty of late — in their opinion.

However, it was down to more important things for me — the range of cask ales available. Being Moorhouse's-owned, it had a fine range of their ales on offer — five permanent beers in total, plus one rotating guest ale — happy days.

First slurp had to be my favourite brew, Pride of Pendle. Steve commented: “It's our best seller.”

No surprise there. It's such an easy drinking, well balanced ale. it has a malty aroma, with biscuity malt and fruity flavours, leading to a citrusy, bitter finish. It was in superb condition ( £2.70).

The other Moorhouse's beers on offer included Blond Witch, Premier Bitter, Witch Hunt and Black Witch.

I went for the latter for my second quaff. It's described as a porter/stout. However, for me, it tasted like a black IPA, with its roasty malt,dark fruit flavours and its tingly, light acidic finish. A most delightful, refreshing dark ale, again in tip-top condition.

You really felt at home in this welcoming establishment. The pub is immaculately presented and Steve was busy giving the hand pumps the 'Brasso treatment', as I was deciding whether to have a half of the guest ale, before departing.

Cameron's IPA was the guest on offer (£2.50) — it was a no-brainer, as it's a fine ale. It’s a light beer, with a fruity, floral flavour and subtle bitter-hopped finish.

The ale was served by Rachel, a staff member who was off-duty at the time and was enjoying a drink and a chat at the bar. However, she gladly went round t’other side of the bar, while Steve finished his cleaning duties. Again, top marks.

It just typified the mood and atmosphere of this fine. Helpful staff (on-duty or off-duty), friendly, talkative regulars — a proper community pub.

Another gem unearthed — one of many, we are lucky to still have.