Head to Driftwood Spars in St Agnes for a cosy Cornwall escape combining coastal pursuits, scrumptious food and a plethora of handcrafted beers
The Driftwood Spars is an enticing destination for epicureans and adventurers in all seasons, but during the autumn and winter this atmospheric old inn comes into its own. Named for the huge wooden spars that form its vaulted roof (plundered from some of the many ships wrecked on this unforgiving stretch of coast), it’s a much‑loved haven for locals and visitors alike.
On the rugged and windswept north coast, you can taste the salt on the breeze. It’s easy to lose yourself for days on end in this restorative enclave, nestled between dramatic cliffs and crashing waves. Work up an appetite by traversing the South West Coast Path or riding the surf, then head back to The Drifty (as locals call it) to get stuck into fireside board games over a pint brewed on-site, before feasting on tasty Cornish produce. End your day by cosying up in one of the comfortable bedrooms to the sound of waves breaking on the shore.
A visit to the inn’s award-winning microbrewery is essential, and tours and tastings are easily arranged. Head brewer Mike Mason will explain how the brewery’s handcrafted beers have evolved into modern classics while the team have maintained the traditions of small-batch brewing. The Cove brand of beers is his latest creation, a contemporary canned range of gluten-free and vegan beers crafted using the finest British new-wave hops, and adorned with striking artwork by local illustrator Jago Silver.
Back at the pub, taste your way through a menu that features pub classics and daily specials. Local seafood is put to good use and combined simply with fresh seasonal veg. There’s plenty of scope for food and beer matching too, with a revolving selection of six cask beers plus keg and bottled varieties to try.
A winter winner is Midnight Skinny Dipper, a smooth and rich milk stout with sweet and satisfying flavours of chocolate and caramel. Inspired by late night summertime jaunts into the silky sea at Trevaunance Cove, it’s delicious paired with autumnal game dishes or as an alternative to dessert.