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Plough, Coldharbour

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user reviews of the Plough, Coldharbour

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Another successful visit. It has now been a few years since I had negative comments to post about the Plough (apart from the prices). The Biddendens cider was in good condition (just as well at £4.90/pint). The service was prompt and unremarkable.
jgurney1 - 18 Feb 2015 20:56
After reading the reports I was expecting the worst. However the house brewed beers were ok (and Biddenden traditional cider) and the food as well. The young lad serving was courteous and helpful. One of the beers ran out, but he washed the line through and put a new cask on. It's a bit quirky and thank goodness for that.
Steamer1 - 24 Sep 2014 21:42
A few years ago I was a regular here drawn by the home brewed beers, for whatever reason this pub started to go downhill,the service was always slow. I hadn't visited the place for a while but from former greatness this pub is still traveling south.Still the Surrey Oaks was really great and I spent my money there.2/10 in fairness. The demand that tradervic mentions is only driven by this pub being isolated and close by Leith Hill, lots of people go to the Surrey Hills and the tower but very few make the journey to drink awful beer, i brew much better in my kitchen.
slerpy - 9 Oct 2013 17:46
Fairminded's view is accurate, unlike the longwinded benzo - who seems to want to rearrange the place and give advice! And also, to type on behalf of fellow hill walkers.

Many, like me would not agree; this is a fine pub in a great location - with good food, service and beer. Like most busy pubs, it is not perfect - but the same management, quite rightly, have run this pub very successfully for many years now.

Their way......

Over this Bank Holiday, all could see the obvious and great demand for this well run establisment which can afford to say 'no, that's not available today, sorry' - when it suits the pub and/or its army of customers.

tradervic - 5 Jun 2012 18:35
Well, I'm a new user, and you might treat me with scepticism, but I went to the Plough on Saturday and it was great. A really nice pub with great customer services.

I jest.

I was recently driving through the Surrey Hills on a lovely warm weekend. I saw the sign for the Plough Inn which said that it was a microbrewery. Being a real ale enthusiast, I thought this was great. I'd stumbled across a little gem.

Then I walked into the pub. There was no one there at all. I had to wait for about 4 minutes until a lady (presumably the landlady) appeared from the kitchen.

I wasn't sure which ale to choose as none of the labels for the real ale had a description. After asking the landlady I had a pale ale.

It was not well kept beer. It was very still and flat. Not in the sense that it lacked carbonation, just that it was badly kept and had no body. It didn't taste nice either.

The drinks were not cheap, neither.

What really stuck out for me was the appalling customer service on display. Having to wait ages to be served in an empty pub was a novel experience, but it was the hostile attitude of the landlady that really put me off.

Whilst being served she started really moaning angrily about people coming in only to use the toilet.

I was hungry, but the food was quite highly priced and there was an overly formal dining area which seemed like a relic of decades gone past, rather than a either a good old traditional pub or something more contemporary. I decided against the food and sat in the beer garden. There were about 4 other people there. I think the emptiness of such a quaint pub in such an idyllic location, on a very busy hot day, spoke volumes.

All in all, I had high expectations of this pub and left very disappointed. I could get over the bad beer, if the service had been friendly, or even courteous.

I see from reading other people's comments that moaning about passers by using the toilet is a common theme. In response to that I would say this... These people are a captive market. They are probably put off by one or more of the following things:

- Having to wait ages to get served
- Highly priced food
- Hostile attitude to customers
- Ill conceived formal dining area. ( Do you really think Hill Walkers want to sit in a formal dining area?)

P.s. I love bathams.
benzo - 28 May 2012 22:28
Visited this pub with my wife recently. It was late lunch time. We were greeted in a very friendly manner by the person behind the bar, who was an older man. The service was excellent, the food really delicious, and didn't take that long to come. We waited for our food in the dining area, and noted the attractive open fire. There was varied but enjoyable music playing very qietly in the background. Also we didn't pay anything until just before leaving. Perhaps we were good customers. No doubt some cynics will accuse me of being to do with the pub, but that's not the case. I only looked at the beerintheevening website after our visit to see if others liked the pub as much as us!
fairminded - 9 May 2012 18:20
I always feel that this pub takes advantage of its isolation.
It could be me but are people who run pubs becoming less welcoming generally?
bumpsfelt - 5 Apr 2012 12:14
I see things have improved then TEMPEST......and I have never been barred from here or anywhere else for that matter. Neither am I anyone else in another guise.
fullbelly - 16 Mar 2012 22:37
from the outside this pub looked great - especially after a long walk.
How wrong could I be !
I was served by a disinterested and unfriendly women behind the bar.
The cost of the round of drinks I bought was shockingly expensive.
My particular real ale was undrinkable. The Landlord reluctantly agreed
but no apology was forthcoming.
The beer I changed it for was slightly stronger and therefore more expensive.
Upon serving the new pint to me the unsmiling barmaid ( landlady ? )
proceeded to ask me for a further 20p !!
The icing on the cake was some unruly children in the beer garden running amok and throwing stones.
No wonder the place was almost empty despite being in a prime location
and on a sunday lunchtime.
Needless to say we won"t be returning !!
westbound - 12 Mar 2012 09:38
Relatively new to the village, first time Diner in the main restaurant. Trepidation. No sign of owners. New chef : Ric (he doesn’t work Mon or Thurs I believe) . Food quality excellent. Prawn cocktail starter, T-bone steak main, Apple crumble pudding. 77 pounds for two including 6 drinks (Tallywacker! – I am not adding much to say the micro brewery beer is superb) very reasonable. Menu prices have been cut : Ham,Egg&Chips now 8.95 vs 11.95(?) 6mths ago – much more like it. First class service from Becky. Very presently surprised (not by Becky but the food!). Areas to improve? The menu is very traditional. If I was cruel I would say dull. What is going to get me back, next month (not in six months).
carlosmoreno - 16 Feb 2012 10:01
Back in 1997 there were two very good reasons for visiting this pub.
She no longer works there sadly.
FuzzyDuck - 5 Jan 2012 12:18
A good visit this time. A man behind the bar was friendly, the Biddendens cider was in excellent condition. I didn't try the food. The music was at a reasonable volume this time (although I still think canned pop, even if quiet, does not go well with real cider & ale and a log fire at a remote house in the woods).
jgurney1 - 4 Jan 2012 19:44
My wife and I stopped off for lunch here over the weekend and were unpleasantly surprised by the attitude of the lady behind the bar (presumably the landlady). Reading the comments on this site, I see this is not an isolated experience. I read the menu at the bar and asked the landlady where we could sit, while my wife went to the loo. Literally 1 minute later, as we walked across to the dining room, she stopped us and began to tell us off for coming in to use her toilets without buying anything. This seemed both rude and bizarre to me, but I hadn't come for an argument so didn't start one.

However, when this uncalled for aggression was coupled with some very mean ploughman's lunches (see below) and a pint of orange and soda for £3.20 I felt the need to comment. The food was decent but definitely far too expensive for what you get. The price of soft drinks seems to show serious contempt for the public. The only pubs that charge £3.20 for orange and soda are the ones that don't care what their customers think.

I certainly shan't be coming back here, but as the pub seems to thrive on passing trade from walkers I expect it will continue to get away with it.
hogsflesh - 3 Jan 2012 16:11
Ive been here a few times on a sunday and always enjoyed the visit. Great to try the beers from their brewery. After sampling them all (and no i didnt pay for the sample nor for a glass of water), i had a few Crooked Farrows and really enjoyed them.

We have had a couple of starters with some chips and all were good.

The locals have always been very friendly, as was the landlady.

I'll be going back for sure but its a shame the garden isnt utlilsed more.
l80pje - 13 Sep 2011 13:25
agree with roy. good pub, food and service - and doing a cracking summer trade in one of the finest areas in the uk.
tradervic - 2 Sep 2011 14:32
Went along with some trepidation expecting a dragon at the door needing to be fought before getting a beer. Not so. A warm welcome and a handshake when we left I really don't know what the fuss (from other posters) is all about. Maybe I was lucky. So take the dragon fear out of the equation and you have a lovely pub with good beer in a great location. Try it - you might be surprised and as lucky as we were.
roytheboy - 19 Jul 2011 07:19
Two ploughman's lunches, half of cider and a pint of Spitfire. 5p change from £23. The beer was flat, and the ploughmans were the meanest ever. With the cheese were one and a HALF tiny bridge rolls, HALF a pickled onion, a teaspoon of pickle and a smattering of salad. And no butter. Such meanness shows real dedication. Nice scenery, though, so 2/10.
brian_of_surrey - 2 Jul 2011 21:34
Food and beer are good here, although the amount of customers (in the lovely Leith Hill area) can sometimes put a strain on service quality. However, overall, this unique out of the way pub is worth a vist despite the virtual campaign by some posters to discredit (giving low ratings etc.) the outlet which is run by a landlady who does it her way. A true and unbiased rating is about 7.
wealdman - 1 Jul 2011 10:30
Fullbelly now has a dozen recent and negative posts about The Plough - and seems to dislike those who like the place! Biased (obviously) and/or barred (maybe?). This is a good pub in an excellent and scenic location.
tempest - 1 Jul 2011 09:41
The clue is in the score here guys, rated by 100 people and the consensus 4.5!

fullbelly - 1 Jul 2011 08:37
good comment e.r a good pub but ignore the landlady.
laughingduck - 30 Jun 2011 19:02
I have absolutely no association with The Plough. It isn't a bad pub by any means, but there are better. Certainly, the food, while good solid stuff, is pretty middle-of-the-road, pleasant and heart-warming but largely unimaginative. I've also seen Anna Abrehart being pretty chippy with other customers. So no, not ideal - just not as bad (at least in my experience) as some people have made out. Clearly, the experiences reported by Lulu, Sallyanne et al are pretty horrifying, and I too would never visit a pub again if treated thus.
EccentricRichard - 30 Jun 2011 17:18
In one of the best locations in SE England, the Plough (with its own brewery) serves excellent beer and food - which is reasonably priced. Summer days here are a pleasure, particularly after a walk up nearby Leith Hill which - like the pub - is in a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty. During winter, the pub has a roaring open fire and, on my visit there yesterday, I found the barman to be pleasant and informative. The Plough would be high on my list of good Surrey pubs.
sussexfox - 23 Jun 2011 09:33
Whatever do you mean tradervic?
what, suggest that he is in league with the owners?
or that he has just joined and enthused so heartily about this pub that therefore he should be not quite the genuine article?
No need for me to point that out then....good
Paranoid . A great song , a sad lifestyle!
fullbelly - 22 Jun 2011 19:47
A good and accurate post Richard. But, no doubt fullbelly, or one of his mates, will point to your recent joining of BITE - and suggest that you're biased! Yes this imperfect pub is absolutely fine.
tradervic - 22 Jun 2011 11:19
I'm surprised to see some of the negative reviews here. No, this place isn't perfect but it is good nevertheless. The setting - nestled in a fold in the North Downs - is idyllic and it's ideallly situated for people coming from Leith Hill. On the various occasions I've been there it's always been busy and there has been an assortment of dogs, mountain bikes, touring bikes and even the odd horse outside. The downside to the setting is that you're not going to get a lot of peace and quiet, and my father says he finds it a bit claustrophobic. The beer is generally good (and several ales are brewed onsite in a microbrewery out the back - they come at a price but are worth it). Don't come here if you want a gourmet dining experience: the food is just good solid pub grub and none the worse for that. Externally, the building is Victorian, but behind the facade it's a much older (17th century at the latest) timber-framed affair. Both the bar area and the little dining room have fireplaces and - in cooler months - log fires. This is a pub best sampled in cold, wintry weather: it's warm, the old windows mist up and it's very atmospheric. Given the choice, though, if going for an evening meal in the summer, I'd go elsewhere (I can thoroughly recommend the Inn on the Green at Brockham, where I went last night on the longest day) - but don't write this place off because it doesn't deserve to be written off. It is deservedly popular and so, thankfully, seems unlikely to be turned into a gastropub, unlike the Windmill at Shere...

As for the landlady, Anna, take no notice of her! Yes, she's very Oirish and as odd as a three-pound note, but behind a thin layer of fierceness she's absolutely lovely. I don't remember so much about her husband Rick, but I can honestly say I've never been disappointed by the service here. All the staff are friendly and anyone who says otherwise is talking nonsense (though it's a few months since I've had a chance to get down there). One warning: car parking is very limited. There is a small car park across the road and some on-street parking but there's only space for about fifteen cars or so.

So, no, not a polished perfect gem, but a pleasant pub nevertheless. I'll give it a 7 out of 10.
EccentricRichard - 22 Jun 2011 11:01
popped in today, still rude staff and poor beer ,what is wrong with this pub?
fullbelly - 28 Apr 2011 17:03
yes guys (or ladies} why do they do this?we all know whats going on!no rating given.
theguv1 - 18 Jan 2011 19:54
Hmm yes, I see only one review each praising the place to the skys, I wonder perchance if they could be an alias for the owners? Surely not!
Hodge1 - 18 Jan 2011 18:28
yeah , real league of shaddows stuff going on here....reckon they must be in cahoots with the landlady
fullbelly - 18 Jan 2011 17:25
Yep smell a Roland too !!

Have not rated this pub as yet.
Dementer - 18 Jan 2011 11:37
click on to the username of the last two posters,see when they joined,and how many other pubs they have commented rating given.
theguv1 - 18 Jan 2011 07:17
Recently visited this pub on a Saturday lunchtime with my girlfriend, whilst we we were exploring the Surrey Hills. Cracking little pub, with real log fires and beer brewed on the premises - not many other pubs do that. We saw the steak menu which looked very good, so returned later that evening to eat. Half the pub looks like a cozy old English inn, the other half is a more upmarket restaurant. Have to say the restaurant manager bent over backwards to look after us - free sorbet before you eat, also my steak was over-cooked and so they replaced it and then gave us a free dessert as a goodwill gesture. Steaks were superb - aged 21 days and locally-sourced. I would definitely recommend this pub for an evening meal if you like steak and ale.
Gezira - 10 Jan 2011 21:40
My fiance and I just recently discovered the Plough whilst driving home one night. We
stopped by on the off-chance of some ham, egg and chips and were very pleasantly
surprised to discover the pubs english steakhouse. The food was great and the
service included a knowledgeable presentation of the steaks available.
Unfortunately we live in Barking and don’t get down to Surrey much but if we did
find ourselves in the vicinity then we’d definitely be interested in eating
there again. It’s a refreshing surprise to find a quality steakhouse which
serves better food than the usual cheap stuff you’ll find in a
Paulmill - 7 Jan 2011 21:39
We went there yesterday, guess what? We left before we ordered food and took our custom elsewhere. Our friends were a bit late (Trying to find a parking spot which is always difficult round there as it is such a popular spot), We kept being hassled over if we were eating or not ) We could only sit in the restaturant (The only table left), if we were going to be ordering food, which we were going to be doing , but were obviously waiting for our friends to arrive. After getting two lots of hassle I felt we would take our 11 friends and vote with our feet, Its the pubs loss not ours as we are all relatively local and won't be going there ever again until the pub changes hands. It is is quite difficult for the pub as it is quite small and it does get a lot of custom due to its ideal location, but they would be better ditching the restarant area and just making everywhere accessable and just being nicer to people. They rely on their trade coming from strangers passing through , but most locals avoid.
HelenJ - 3 Jan 2011 12:53
we went to the plough today, hadn't been for a few years. really surprised to read some of the negative comments on here. it is a little pricey, but the beer tasted fine (I had a furrow, other arf a beautiful south)...the landlady was about, and made us feel welcome, and the latino girl who was running the bar was extremely pleasant and a hard worker (pub was busy). food was good, and reasonably priced. it's a lovely little pub, roaring fires and cosy....would visit more often, but live north of londinium!
sammy_gunn - 5 Dec 2010 01:40
I visited the Plough last week, it is situated in the heart of the Surrey hills which have many wonderful walks.I chose to walk the Leith Hill Tower ( ouch !) very steep prolonged climb! this pub has long been a favourite of mine excellent home brewed ales, including the new Beautiful South, if it sounds like a pop group it is because they recently played here and it is brewed in their honour.the guvnor has recovered from serious ill health, he is a real gentleman who loves cricket.If you find the ales a tad dear just remember you CANNOT get them anywhere else.
slerpy - 25 Oct 2010 20:03
Good pub, location, beer and food. Friendly saff - can be very busy.
tradervic - 21 Oct 2010 11:48
Hey guess what ???? another new member to the site and they just love this one I being a little over suspicious or are they just in cahoots with the (mis) management.
I myself went back to the Plough last weekend and can honestly say that little has changed in the warm welcome department. The beer , brewed on the premises was a big disappointment , when I pointed this out the response was not exactly expected!
fullbelly - 5 Oct 2010 18:18
This pub has an amazing location, and the on-site micobrewery is a real gem.

Quite a lot of comments are about hospitality to walkers and cyclists and I guess the amazing location aspect is a double edged sword in this respect. This beautiful area attracts hordes of cyclists and walkers who need water and toilet facilities, and there is nowhere else in the area that has them.

The cyclists/walkers resent paying for water and wish to use the loos for free. The loos are often left in a sorry state after a coach load of walkers have used them, or muddy cyclists, and the pub must pay for them to be cleaned, or worse, paying customers are deterred from returning due to dirty toilets.

Water costs money to serve, not just serving but glass collecting, cleaning, drying and breakages, and of course the water meter itself.

There may be some goodwill to be earned but it is at a considerable cost, not least in staff time in cleaning the loos, and mostly for people who never intend to purchase anything from the pub.

justlovesthempubs - 25 Sep 2010 23:59
overpriced and not a friendly atmosphere, would not recommend.
mrboonay - 19 Sep 2010 16:30
Went to The Plough on friday, there was a big group of about 20 of us. We were very well looked after and people in the group were pleased with the beer choice. We also enjoyed the Folk Band that were playing. An enjoyable evening was had by all
sturpy - 13 Sep 2010 11:58
Nice to find the Plough still offering a well-kept Biddenden cider, although pricy at £4.00/pt.
Do any customers actually like the pop videos that were being screened? I would have found them annoying if I'd been sitting inside. The new bus operator runs an 18:20 service down to Dorking from opposite the pub on weekdays, handy for getting back after a walk and drink (but beware - it came through 5 mins early when I used it today).
jgurney1 - 20 Aug 2010 17:21
To clear up a couple of minor points on John B's commentary - which I must say could have applied to various visits I've made in the past and I'm pleased to see it's not all doom and gloom.

1) There did indeed used to be ten handpumps herem in one straight row acorss the bar, which used to be far longer. Usually they were nearly all occupied with quite a diverse range of ales - Rick has only ever had two regular brews of his own on - Ringwood and Sheps were often represented as I recall. Although I could understand the rationale and don't miss them now, at the time they re-organised the layout (part of what must have been a pretty expensive refurb to improve the toilets and build up accommodation facilities) in around 2000, I was disappointed to see only 5 rise from the ashes. A ten-pump bar is a rare thing to behold.

2) I didn't know about the Beautiful South beer - but I can guess its provenance. During my last visit in February Anna mentioned that she had signed up for Paul Heaton - lead singer of the Beautiful South currently doing a national tour of pubs to support the flagging industry - to do a turn at the Plough, I think on 12 May. I missed it, and I confess to having doubts as to whether it would come off as it is way off the beaten track, but I assume it probably did and that Rick brewed this one-off to commemorate it.

PS: Those who have commented on my allegedly indulgent rant of 27 May, please note the (slightly) shorter length of this one. I am getting better....
TWG - 7 Jun 2010 18:00
In one of the most picturesque areas in the South East, this pub is plagued by people who think its OK to just enjoy the view and use the toilets; thank god for Anna who is well described by JohnBonser. The Plough is efficiently run - though perhaps not a typical friendly local; but then, these are also rare in Windsor or on the Brighton seafront.

The beer is excellent, the food is good and the pub doesn't try to be 'all things to all men' - its a welcoming retreat for the weary walker and biker; not so welcoming, perhaps, for the numerous time wasters who often complain about the car-parking (which is normally ample) before they order. An excellent pub under most headings.
wolfdog - 1 Jun 2010 14:01
Mr Bonser - an experienced critic 'with no axe to grind' - has hit the nail on the head and I totally concur with his views. Put simply - the landlady does things her way, as she is entitled; I will be a frequent visitor here (and to Leith Hill etc.) over the summer months.

Undoubtedly - because of the lack of amenities/facilities in Coldharbour - some walkers/bikers have been known to use this fine pub for comfort breaks; it is a commercial entity where peak business periods must be managed to ensure maximum return. Accommodation is first class.
sussexfox - 1 Jun 2010 11:48
The Plough is a fine, traditional, well-established home brew pub situated in the Surrey hills a few miles south of Dorking.

I'm told that there's some excellent walks nearby, although the persistent drizzle that set in, together with the descending mist, meant that the focus of my Saturday visit to the area shifted more towards the pub and the home brewed beer and a longer visit than originally anticipated.

As you approach the pub, the first thing you notice is a St George's flag flying proudly outside. Inside, a board above the smallish bar servery tells us that The Plough Inn was established in 1641and that it has been the home of the Leith Hill Brewery since 1996. The Brewery is a converted barn at the back of the pub, which I did manage to get a quick glimpse of when the rain finally relented. There's a pleasant, sloping garden at the back which gives views of the surrounding countryside. There's outside toilets, just outside the side entrance, which, by normal outside toilet standards, are positively luxurious. The inn provides accommodation and is AA 4 Diamond standard.

The main bar on the left as you go in is bare boarded with some blackened oak beams helping create a traditional atmosphere. There's two adjoining areas here - the area at the back has a dartboard, but the positioning of tables and chairs suggests it's not used. There's also a smallish TV, which wasn't in use during my visit. Furniture is mainly wooden chairs and tables, with not a lot of comfort. There's a largish well appointed restaurant area on the right hand side of the entrance, but, on my visit, most people were eating in the back room of the pub. Food seems to be basic pub grub, but portions looked substantial and filling and arrived quickly, served by staff who seemed enthusiastic and eager to please. A few board games are provided for children.

The pub was reasonably busy with a mixture of walkers, cyclists and motorists visiting the area and who had, in the main, dropped in for lunch and a respite from the steady drizzle that had set in. Notably, there didn't appear to be one customer present who was either a local or a regular and this gave the pub a rather transient feel, with people coming and going at regular intervals. I didn't get the feeling that this was in any way a "community" pub, but one with a definite emphasis on catering for passing visitors.

On the home brew front, beers on were Crooked Furrow - described as "the flagship brew" - and Tallywacker - "dark and delicious". The Crooked Furrow ( ABV - 4% - £ 3.30p ) and Tallywacker ( ABV - 4.8% - £ 3.50p ) were both superb pints. In particular, the Crooked Furrow, a dry bittery pint, was very moreish. On a pump round the side of the bar- and not immediately noticed by me - was a third beer, The Beautiful South, which I found somewhat bland and disappointing by comparison. Shepherd Neame Spitfire was also available as was Biddenden Cider. The pub is a CAMRA Good Beer Guide regular. Notably, earlier editions of the Guide refer to the pub having 8-10 handpumps. This has evidently been reduced - I saw only 5 on my visit.

In view of the recent squabbling and plethora of recent adverse comments here about the pub - and the landlady in particular - some of which are noticeably more informative and helpful than others, here's my comments as an impartial first time visitor with no axe to grind. For most of my visit, the bar was staffed by a young Portuguese ( ?) bar maid who was friendly and efficient. She was able to describe the characteristics of the home brews, and seemed genuinely interested in what I thought of them. Anna was mainly in the background, keeping an eye of things and making sure everything, particularly the kitchen, was running smoothly. On several occasions, she found time to stop and chat with customers - most notably with a group of 4 cyclists - and also with a family with several young children who called in just before food stopped at 3pm. I formed the view that she's probably not a naturally gregarious Mine Hostess, but, based on my visit, she's certainly not the Wicked Witch of the West that I was half expecting.

Being a rural pub, getting here by public transport presents a challenge. My route was by train to Holmwood and then a 40-45 minute walk down country lanes and footpaths. Thankfully, I managed to avoid the worst of the weather.

Unlike the nearby Surrey Oaks and the Royal Oak in Rusper, The Plough Inn is not a "must visit" pub, but I enjoyed the visit and I'd happily call in again.
JohnBonser - 1 Jun 2010 11:10
Easy for you to say TWG lol
stroller - 31 May 2010 16:05
As someone who has been an infrequent visitor here across the last 14 years, and who has appreciated the good local beer and pleasant location, I am disappointed to see just how sour the reviews have become about the pub, which although has always tended to divide opinion did used to receive a fair share of positive comments. I am bound to say however that I have little choice but to accept that the bad experiences punters have endured here recently - which now go way beyond just the short tempered snappiness of the landlady and are often levelled at the food, ale and the state of the interior - are genuine, and sadly a fair barometer of how far the standards of the Plough have declined compared to what it was a decade ago.

Anna - the landlady - has always been perfectly pleasant towards me personally. However, it is obvious that she is undoubtedly not a tolerant or personable character per se, and I have borne witness to unnecessarily harsh comments from her towards usually unassuming customers. I have also chatted to her and heard her side of the story about some incidents (it is only fair) and whilst I might take her viewpoint on board, the overarching fact remains that she is in a role which requires one to major in public service, and unfortunately there are times where a pub licensee must within commonly-accepted bounds of reasonableness go along with occasionally demanding or unfair behaviour of its customers with good grace. That is not to say they must be expected to tolerate every whim of the punter, but they are there to serve, and to maintain a sound business for the benefit not only of the customer but their own livelihood. Generalised comments made about "ramblers" and so on may be based on some genuinely unfortunate experiences, but given that they will rightly or wrongly form a large contingent of your customer-base, can their support be so easily-discarded?

I know the pub was marketed 2 years ago for a considerable sum, which notwithstanding its charming setting and continuing potential, was unrealistic, especially given the downturn in the property market at that point. Anna has stated that to come away with any money at all the price was justified, especially as trade has declined considerably. Whilst I didn't say so, I do fear that the latter problem could be eliminated or at least lessened if her attitude was a little softer and more tolerant, particularly on matters which are plainly petty. I vividly recall an incident in early 2000 where some people were virtually horse-whipped for having taken up seats in the so-called dining area after having been "warned" not to. Food was not even being served! An earlier comment suggests there has been no let-up on this issue 10 years on, and it is something like this which will turn customers away. I worry that any turnabout in the pub's fortunes now can't be realised because of the bad press Anna has allowed to develop around it.

Plainly average-quality food (frankly it always was variable) and charging for tap water and small beer-samples is not good business sense, and whilst one accepts the heightened desire for licensees to make a margin any way they can just to survive nowadays, this policy does more harm than good, and no amount of empathy with the Abreharts' personal circumstances will justify it in the minds of customers whose expectations are legitimate, and who in the final analysis can go elsewhere - permanently. As for rude and incompetent staff, that is almost certainly due to what I imagine are now relatively poor wages given the couple's reduced financial situation - one gets what one pays for. Again though, a case of false economy methinks.

I am surprised at one commentator who found the Crooked Furrow on poor form, as the most consistently good aspect of the Plough - indeed the one which has kept me going back albeit with increasingly protracted hiatuses between visits - is Rick's own-brewed beers. The food is over-priced for its quality but good beer in country pubs never comes cheap nowadays and £3.30 a pint isn't ludicrous. Actually I feel I must sound a note of support for Rick at this juncture, as he is an absolutely charming man who I've never seen irritate customers. It is perhaps frustrating that he isn't more "front of house" than his wife, but sadly this is probably due to him having been seriously ill 3 years ago and although recovered, I don't think he is as hands-on as he once was.

There is no doubt that there are serious fault-lines that could to a significant degree still be ameliorated. However, I don't think the regime will change at this late stage, particularly because I believe that the Abreharts are now just biding their time until they can sell - I think they will end up having to retire and let the place go for less than they'd hoped and may lose money. But then it won't just be the market that commands a lower price, as their approach to running their pub has done nothing to maintain any residual "good-will" value that could help boost its prospects for buyers, who now have to re-build a positive reputation for the place. In her defence, Anna has rejected an offer from someone who wanted to convert the place into a poncy wine bar, despite offering a reasonable sum. I think it is to the couple's credit that they so far haven't been willing to sell to just anybody, because however appalled some folk are at the way it is now, surely there's nobody who wants to lose a local pub to a venue that is best confined to Covent Garden and not commensurate with the community of Coldharbour? Once that happens, there really is no going back.

I'll let the gunfight at the Coldharbour Corral between Grumpy et al continue, but I felt some sort of measured criticism of this establishment with a bit more background was worthwhile. Please don't involve me in any slanging-matches if you happen not to approve of any of my comments!
TWG - 27 May 2010 12:28
Hey Mr Grumpy...Are Fullbelly and Sheikhinvakh me as well!!
You are sad , if you feel this pub is being unfairly reviewed i can only think youve either never been or you are indeed related to the landlady. If I have never been here then answer me this simple question. Is there still a sign at the end of the pub garden from a neihbour asking pub customers not to urinate on his vegetable patch? So there you go.....I am not alone in my dislike for you ask any regulars from the Royal Oak where you still havent had the nerve to introduce yourself. WEAZEL!
mashtunlicker - 27 May 2010 11:04
The best thing about this pub is where it is, the worst Mr Grumpy drinks here!
fullbelly - 25 May 2010 16:05
A delightful setting in the lovely Surrey Hills. Such promise. What a shame. Here is my little experience of this pub: my partner and I visited during the winter. A bitterly cold day with driving sleet. The pub looked so inviting and such a pretty location. We entered, it was doing a decent trade but not frantic. We approached the bar and waited. Eventually the Landlady peered disdainfully at me over her glasses and fixed me with a glare hard as granite. Undeterred, I asked for two pints of beer and packets of crisps. These were sullenly produced and cash tendered without comment. The bar was barely lit, spartan seating and no evidence of heating. The adjoining room on the other hand was more cheerily lit and nice open fire was in evidence. I motioned towards this direction, only to be stopped dead by the sharpest bark I have ever heard (including those of canine origin) which fixed us to the spot, like escaping prisoners caught in a searchlight. The source was the Landlady, who made quite clear that we were not welcome in the "dining room" (which was half empty) and that we should, on pain on death, remain where we were, in the unlit, uncomfortable and cold bar area. Clearly a sharply segregated regime. I don't mind indifferent service, but that received from the Landlady was outrageous. We wasted no time in finshing our drinks and leaving, avowed never to return The Plough is one of the few pubs that has moved me thus. The Landlady should perhaps review her customer care skills.
SheikhInvakh - 22 May 2010 19:07
You really are an odious individual, mashtunlicker. You are the one who decided to have a go on this site about this pub, one which I don't even know if you have visited. So I am venting my self importance? No, I am supporting a pub which I feel is being unfairly criticised by people who have never written about pubs on this site before. I smell a rat here - perhaps it is a rodent burger from MacDonalds which your friends Lulu, Sallyanne and Marque left.

Perhaps it is time for you all to get back under your stone.
mrgrumpy - 21 May 2010 08:48
oh dear mr Grumpy, you seem to take great pleasure in upsetting people on this site,this time its the turn of The Plough to vent your self importance. Other readers please look at the various comments on The Royal oak page on this site. Drinkers there are so upset that there is a collection box on the bar to pay for a one way ticket for him to go to Sheffield! As for us all being one person I seriously think you need help....
mashtunlicker - 20 May 2010 20:04
Welcome back Lulu. Obviously you have not been out trying other pubs to write about.

So I'm not allowed to refer to you by name? Well, she who must be obeyed, would you respond instead to Sallyanne, Mashtunlicker or Marque, which appear to be your other names.

Perhaps you will do us all a favour and go back in time to Stalinist Russia. I feel you will be quite at home there.
mrgrumpy - 20 May 2010 14:02
Mr Grumpy-

I take great offense to your aggressive and hostile nature towards people posting. I have the right to express my opinion as do you. The fact of the matter is that I felt the Plough under performed in all areas. As a consumer who feels mistreated I have the right to express this. There 87 other reviews and most are very similar in content. YOU are doing this site a disservice with your undeserved attacks on other users. Let's be realistic, this is not a Michelin 2 star restaurant, they are cooking burgers and pub food. Please do not make any further reference to me again.
Lulu65 - 20 May 2010 10:42
Another new poster. Welcome to the site mashtunlicker. No doubt you will be reviewing loads of pubs like your friends Lulu, Marque and Sallyanne.

For the record I don't like the Plough very much as the beer is overpriced. However I do object to idiots like you coming onto the site just to trash a pub. I expect another new friend of your will come along now and tell me off.

I just wonder how long it will be before dividing your already extremely low IQ into so many new people will result in you being an amoeba. Two more posters at the most I suspect.
mrgrumpy - 19 May 2010 18:56
not very good, not very friendly, not worth it...all the comments seem to have a similar theme with the obvious exceptions by mr G.....could be he likes it here as it fits his character....
mashtunlicker - 19 May 2010 18:21
Aha Marque has signed is as his aler ego, Sallyanne, peddling the same inane drivel.

No doubt you will come back as Lulu next time. Let's face it, you have it in for this pub and won't let it go.

Perhaps you could sign in as a fourth person next time. How about RonandMacDonald?
mrgrumpy - 19 May 2010 17:58
Taking an hour to cook a burger is not acceptable. Neither is hysterically shouting at your customers.

Both of these statements are true whether you are in Frankie and Benny's (soemwhere I have never actually been to) or the Fat Duck.

Your increasingly hysterical ranting about events you were clearly not there to witness would indicate that you are infact the lady in question - or at least related.

SallyanneH - 19 May 2010 17:20
So Marque would like us to believe that he just happened to write about the Plough, the first time he has ever written anything on this site, and lo and behold, look who wrote in before him. Why is was Lulu and Sallyanne, whom he has never met before, and have also never written on this site before.

The event may have taken place, I know the landlady doesn't take fools lightly (which should have tipped you all off that it is really not the pub for you). But this is not a fast food joint. You obviously enjoy giving your order to burger flippers and can then walk out with your lunch a few minutes later.

I think to anyone with the requisite IQ would be able to tell from my other comments that I have nothing to do with this pub (in fact I'm not it's greatest fan), But of course you have never used this site before.

You are doing this site a disservice. Please leave quietly.
mrgrumpy - 19 May 2010 15:07
An interesting character assassination on someone who came on here to merely write a review on a dreadful experience so others could avoid it.
Please leave this website for those who would rather read a review of a pub experience, over immature offensive remarks on other reviewers who are reporting service.
Your attitude only affirms to me that "Mr. Grumpy" is in fact Mrs Grumpy Landlady - especially when your comments about going to fast food establishments instead ring true to another review below = (quote after a gentle enquiry about how much longer we'd have to wait 30 mins after ordering: 'you people always want to jump the queue; this isn't McDonald's')

99% of all the reviewers on this site to this establishment clearly felt the same way as we did - the first comments about bad service start from 2004 onwards and her bad attitude is mentioned in nearly every comment since then.

My advice to those who use this site for the reasons it is meant for - there are far better pubs in the area to spend your money at.

Marque - 19 May 2010 13:25
Oh how coincidental. Marque was just coming on to write a review on the Plough, and guess what, Lulu and Sallyanne had beaten him to it. Of course Marque had never ever met these polite girls before. And what a surprise, none of them have ever written on this site before.

And if you had bothered to look, you would have seen that I have written reviews of several pub and so am obviously nothing to do with the pub.

You may be interested to know that there is a Frankie and Benny's in Dorking. I am sure they will suit your sophisticated tastes admirably. Perhaps those lovely girls Lulu and Sallyanne would like to be reacquainted with you there.
mrgrumpy - 19 May 2010 11:30
Interestingly I came on here to write a review of the Plough Inn and I can see that other visitors on Saturday have beaten me to it.
Clearly the review below mine has been written by the landlady herself - or one of her immediate family!
I was in the pub with my wife on Saturday for lunchtime - and we witnessed the events that the girls below talk about.
The landlady was so incredibly rude to the party in question, myself and my wife and several other visitors. Shouting & being completely offensive to visitors is completely unacceptable.
We will definitely NOT be ever visiting again, or recommending this pub.
We were snapped at for taking "too long" choosing what to eat, snapped at for asking how long it would be and when the food eventually arrived it was very uninteresting & certainly not worth the money. I could easily have cooked much better and quicker at home.

The girls the reviewer below describes were a very polite, quiet 30-something group who wanted the special of the day - hamburgers. They left very upset after having been shouted at by the landlady and not allowed their money back. My wife and I couldn't believe how they were treated, the whole pub went quiet in stunned silence.
This woman should clearly not be running a pub!!

We wanted a nice relaxing lunch but came away feeling ripped off and having been given below standard food.
I would NOT recommend - and clearly judging by other reviews on other websites the customer "service" has been well noted by other visitors. Apparently this pub allows in locals who have been barred from other pubs in the area and the landlady is only nice to them to keep them as visitors, as everyone else complains. This was definitely seen on Saturday!
Marque - 19 May 2010 09:01
I have to say that the Plough is well rid of these disagreeable females Lulu and Sallyanne. You are buying freshly produced food, and guess what, this takes time. Why don't you go back to McDonalds and Kentucky Chicken where you will find food more to your liking. I personally think the landlady here is what could be termed a "good old girl". Good riddence I say, leave the pub to respectable drinkers and diners.
mrgrumpy - 18 May 2010 17:17
I would firstly like to say that I have never in my life been so angry that I felt the need to come back home and write a review to warn others. Well the Plough Inn took my review writing virginity and also took 12 GBP from me and never gave me any food for it, however we shall get to that later.
A few of my friends and I arrived at the pub expecting to have an experience unlike most other pubs we have gone to in the past. You simply go order your food, it comes to the table, you eat it and then you leave. Well no such luck here. We never received our food, after waiting 55 minutes and mind you the place was not busy. We were all disrespected by the woman behind the bar who brought a friend to near tears. She also told us our food had not yet been started in the kitchen because they were "so busy". Please remember this was 55 minutes later and the place was not busy. When we told her we thought this was unreasonable and we needed to leave she refused to give us our money back. We all left in full agreement that this was hands down the worst experience we had ever had at a restaurant not only in the U.K. but anywhere in the world. There are so many lovely pubs in that area with great staff unfortunately this is not one. If your looking for hospitality and a friendly staff, look elsewhere.
Lulu65 - 18 May 2010 15:22
I have never bothered to write a review of a pub or restaurant before but felt compelled to do so after such a horrendus experience this weekend at The Plough Inn.
There is such a long list of problems with this place I cant begin to list them all here. However the main bone of contention was that after my firends ordered burgers at 1315 we realised that we were going to be cutting it fine for time (we needed to leave by 1400). So at 1330 one of my friends asked how long the food would be (so that we could get an idea and possibly just ask to take it away). This was greeted with 'It will be at least 20 minutes'. This would have been fine but for the tone of voice, and the fact that 35 minutes to cook a burger is a pretty long time. At1350 we asked again how long the burgers would be the answer this time varied between 'they will be at least 20 minutes' and 'they are cooking they are cooking'. We then asked either for our money back or to take the burgers with us - I kind of thought that if they had been cooking for 40 minutes they were probably done - I was met with a slightly hysterical woman shouting 'What sort of person are you?' 'They are cooking I wont give you your money back' and 'I have met people like you before'. According to a member of staff at the pub she had been drinking heavily the night before - so I am putting the hysterical reaction down to a bad hangover. The horrible atmosphere down to her, but the fact that after 45 minutes the kitchen was unable to produce a burger is just ridiculous. Avoid this place at all costs.

SallyanneH - 18 May 2010 10:04
hooray free water..................with a smile perhaps. Todays soda is tomorrows champagne. Forget who said it but remember theyre loaded.
Manners maketh man. and they need a sense of humour!
fullbelly - 24 Apr 2010 22:52
The law has now changed or is about to where you do have to give free water to cutomers if asked !!!!
stroller - 24 Apr 2010 11:45
"Fullbelly (with a name like that you ate somewhere else no dought) that is an out dated law a pub does not have to supply free water and to be fair with the rent and rates landlords/ladies have to pay i can quiet understand that.What sometimes happens are walkers and bikers come into a pub mob handed and tend to take the place over (not always, agreed) which can get not only the people who run the places backs up but also other customers as well so its not all oneway.
Got to say on our visit the staff were friendly beer ok no comment on food as we didn`t eat,place is a bit scruffy.
Report this for removal
Beersupper - 20 Nov 2008 19:14
I thought it a legal requirement for pubs to serve drinking water free on request , clearly reading the reviews below this is not the case !! What do other BITE users think?? Should a pub provide free water to walkers??
Report this for removal
fullbelly - 20 Nov 2008 18:15"

Not so outdated! The law came into effect as of 6th April this year.
Yes, a little over two weeks ago!
The_Final_Arbiter - 24 Apr 2010 09:31
went to the Plough yesterday evening and found it to be the WORST CAMRA good beer guide pub I've had the misfortune to seek out! Ordered a pint of their own Crooked Furrow beer (not particularly cheap in my opinion at £3.30 a pint bearing in mind they brew it themselves) and found it to be very flat, and didn't enjoy it at all.

Went back to the bar (having tipped half away) and decided to try their Tallywhacker beer instead. I asked for a sample (which I wouldn't ordinarily do, but having found the other beer to be wanting, decided to do so before investing another £6.60).

"No problem, that's 30 pence" ... 30p for what????

to sample a beer apparently !!!

I've drank at many a good beer guide (and non good beer guide pub) and ALL have been happy to let me sample a beer I'm unfamiliar with, without expecting me to hand money over!

I genuinely thought the bar man was joking at first, but no, he pointed to a chalk board which stated the fact. "30p, beer sample". OUTRAGEOUS !!!

I therefore decided to leave immediately and head to our next venue, the Kings Head in Holmbury St Mary (which btw - was everything a good pub should be!!!)

I asked for a card for a local taxi firm, which he gave to me.

I made sure I asked them for a quote first, before booking. £35 so I was told (for a journey just under 5 miles) !!! What a joke!!!

Turns out this firm are from the Redhill/Reigate are, a good 8 to 10 miles away, hence the extortionate charge.

I managed to source my own cab (from Dorking - 3 or 4 miles away) for £15, some difference eh ?!?

NEVER NEVER going anywhere near this place EVER again!!!
TheydonBois - 24 Apr 2010 01:05
I found Buster211009's 2nd April rant to be rather pathetic. He said: "Grumpster you seem to complain about every pub between Crawley and Guildford". The proper rejoinder to that is - "And your point is ......?"

Grumpster is, in fact, not grumpy. Many of the country pubs between Crawley and Guildford are not places where even the slightly discriminating would want to go. (the Dolphin in Betchworth, the Rising Sun in Charlwood, The Plough in Coldharbour, etc)

The problem with unruly children in pubs has gotten worse over the years. If Buster hasn't noticed that (with his vast experience in pubs) .... then he's obviously been part of the problem.

I suspect Buster is probably more at home at pubs in Redhill.

Anyway, why did he waste all that bile on the Grumpster when it's the (literally) decades long, appalling behavior of the "management" of the Plough that really deserves it. Afterall, they ruined his "luncheon experience" that day. Not the Grumpster!

The real group that deserves pity ..... are the people of Coldharbour.
pooying - 17 Apr 2010 14:42
Pathetic takes a change in the law to make you comply, so rude, so cheap, so mean....Merry Xmas one and all, ask for a glass next time you back time!
fullbelly - 11 Apr 2010 20:02
Martin Rosenbaum | 09:08 UK time, Friday, 26 March 2010

Next month, pubs and licensed clubs in England and Wales will have to make free tap water available to their drinking customers.

This requirement is being imposed by the Home Office on 6 April in a new code of practice on alcohol retailing
get your free watter now is xmas
renegade - 11 Apr 2010 04:10
What I would like to know is are Mr Grumpy and Grumpster related? Its strange but they are never seen out together ...perhaps they are the same miserable person with a split personality?? Does this mean two one way tickets to sheffield for the poor folk of Rusper to spring for?
fullbelly - 6 Apr 2010 08:15
Grumpster you seem to complain about every pub between Crawley and Guildford. As an ex-Publican whose pub at the time was in the CAMRA top 10, I have always run a pub where children are welcome especially at lunch time. Coldharbour is a tiny village, there are no other shops or pubs in the village so locals have to drive. We took our kids for a meal in The Plough at LUNCHTIME during the week when people like you won't be in there. It was 1.30pm when the Landlady picked a fight with a customer that was so aggressive that a lot of people walked out without paying their bill. At least we paid and our kids were extremely well behaved. Who the hell do you think you are to tell me that I can't take my kids into a pub at lunchtime. Oh by the way what's pizzaland a child friendly venue

Buster211009 - 2 Apr 2010 20:28
it just goes from bad to worse...WARM WELCOME my a**e!
fullbelly - 25 Mar 2010 19:01
Well shame about people moaning about the "unfriendly "pub, I always get a great welcome and have been most amused by the locals. I cant understand the comment about children and their parents being upset. Quite frankly pubs should be pubs and not places for tiresome children, I for one am not remotely interested in having to put up with unruly and annoying brats when I go out in the evening, thats why pubs are (and should be) a sanctuary. If you want to take your children to a drinking establishment then accept that they serve alcohol and adults are there to relax not babysit and have to be nice to other peoples alter egos. Why not just go to pizzaland or some such child friendly venue. Humbug!
grumpster - 10 Mar 2010 18:26
Blackcrowe, another spot on review, this pub is in total decline and believe me if I had the money I would make the owners an offer they would not be able to refuse to sell up and go away. The staff are rude beyond belief and the 'regulars' are unfriendly and very anti-social. People that have been barred from the Parrot at Forest Green and other pubs/social clubs nearby are predominate in this pub as the management value their business. The language and behaviour of the 'regular's' is seriously bad. I had to take my kids outside whilst the landlady and a 'regular' had an argument that nearly turned into violence. It's my 'local' pub when we visit the in-law's and they like it weekday lunch time but we avoid it like the plague and go to the Kings Head at Holmbury.
Buster211009 - 9 Mar 2010 17:57

Came here after a lovely walk on Leith Hill for lunch with my family. Used to come here loads over the years - my god, how depressing is its decline. The two young girls working the bar were the perfect combination of brusque and dim in equal measure. The food was way below average and expensive. Some other diner rightly complained about the fire blowing back smoke and a member of staff got a strop and flung all the sash window wide open (it was minus 2 outside).

I loved coming back to Leith Hill but will do our lunching elsewhere next time. A criminal waste of what should be a perfect establishment.
BlackCrowe - 27 Feb 2010 21:05
Jemhart, you have hit the nail on the head, There is not a warm welcome at The Plough. We are not walkers but locals. When we ordered a meal for 4 people and requested tap water we were told it was more expensive that the bottled water. The staff are extremely rude as are the so called regulars that the landlords prefer who apparently spend more money as they drink 4-5 days a week. This pub has a serious attitude problem, I wish I had the money to buy them out and make the Plough a great pub again
Buster211009 - 18 Feb 2010 18:30
There's a sign on the wall of the plough that say's "a warm welcome at the Plough" so I'm thinking of contacting trading standards...
Went to the Plough for the last time yesterday - such a shame since it used to be a great place to go but finally their rudeness has got too much. The snotty barman literally threw the change for the overpriced pint in my hand like it was rubbish into a bin.
After a catalogue of altercations with the landlady I've seen many customers walking away with raised eyebrows and shaking their heads in disbelief at how someone could be so unfriendly.
One would think that they'd want support in light of the proposed oil rig on their doorstep but they seem intent on driving business away. Well done! here's yet another one boycotting the Plough....
jemhart - 10 Feb 2010 22:18
shame ................nice location. and I still disagree with their no tap water policy seems very mean.
fullbelly - 5 Feb 2010 21:38
This pub could be a goldmine but they chose to be obnoxious to people that don't want to eat. A a local I heard that that the Husband had health problems but that doesn't excuse the very rude landlady and as locals we are now boycotting
Buster211009 - 5 Feb 2010 19:10
How is everybody doing?? Surrounded by so much natural beauty and local clients so wonderful, this place should be among the winners. One advice that I give to you, Anna: distance yourself a bit of contact with the client. Let the business to someone innovative and reliable. How is gaby´s bad temper? I regret any inconvenience.
Kind regards. Jo.
dorreen - 2 Feb 2010 17:44
Have been to this pub about four times now during long walk's to Leith Hill. It is in a perfect setting and should be well worth a visit but that is about all. The bar staff and Landlady are the most miserable people to deal with, that's when they actually take the time to serve you. I've given it enough chances and now I won't return.
Anyone who has visited in the past and found the staff to be any good must have had too much of the home brewed, luke warm, over priced flavoured water that they sell as beer. Also if you want to buy the most expensive ever pint of Guinness then come here.
vicdakin - 3 Oct 2009 10:14
Lovely location and good customer service, with nice staff but let down by an uninspiring menu and overpriced food - come on Plough sort it out! We love you really :)
pixelchick10 - 12 Sep 2009 19:24
Here is the perfect example of a pub with the most amazing location... but the worst customer service...
We booked in for Sunday lunch... it was busy... we went to the bar to get our drinks and then were told to sit down with our menus and someone would come and take our order. After waiting... and waiting.... and waiting... we watched the bar girl run around the pub - we watched the man behind the bar extol the goodness of his beers (in a quiet period this would be brilliant - when 20 people are waiting to be served; it's very annoying) - we watched the landlady come out from somewhere and greet her regulars; then stare at the rest of us with nothing short of malice - we watched the bar girl run around the pub a bit more. After 35 minutes of studying our menus - I managed to ask the girl if we could place our order. Her reply... "No. It's too busy - you have to go to the bar". We looked at the bar... surrounded on all sides by thirsty cyclists and puffed out walkers... We heard the words "Just try a tiny bit of this one - it's our guest beer... No? OK - Try a gulp of this one... Super hoppy and delicious". We looked at the ever increasing queue. And left.
I have since spoken to many Coldharbour locals about this pub; the tap water debate... the universal dislike of the landlady... and I think... I'll drink somewhere else.
The_Dorking_Chicken - 12 Aug 2009 11:53
We didn't even get a chance to experience the food as the service was so bad we walked out.....and have made a point of never going back.....we are in our first year living in the area and have asked around and it sounds like we aren't the only ones that have had a poor customer service experience here. Shame....great location....should be a good time for all.
timtouring - 12 Aug 2009 11:14
We live a couple of miles away and sometimes walk to Coldharbour then go on to Leith Hill and return home. If there was another pub in Coldharbour, I'd never use the Plough, having received sometimes downright rude but mostly offhand service. The witch who runs the place either fixes you with a stare or looks at you and cocks her head when it's your turn to be served, and never smiles. She never actually says 'I hate you' but you can see that that's what's going through her mind. I've been going there for 20 years - never a flicker of recognition from her, and when I've tried to be friendly she's made no attempt to reciprocate - just said 'What do you want?' or something equally charmless. I don't bother any more. Often, we get to Coldharbour but can't bring ourselves to use the pub because of the bad atmosphere that always exists there. Yesterday, the owners weren't in evidence, which was a good thing, and we ordered drinks and some food, but the mozzarella in my tomato and mozzarella salad had been covered in French dressing, an example of the utter cluelessness with which this pub is operated. With over 30 pubs closing every week at the moment, I wonder why this one survives - it really doesn't deserve to. This pub could be a gem under different ownership.
Jacquot - 13 Jul 2009 14:51
What a wonderful pub! I was there with a few folk on Sunday, weather was beutiful, so we sat in the relaxing beer garden for a while. I enjoyed one of the best pints of Guinness I have had outside of Ireland (perhaps the Irish Landlady had something to do with that!).

Friends were dring some of the ales and had nothing but praise for them too.

The personal attention and lovely chat that we had with the Landlord's son, Ed, made the day for me.

They had the rugby on which kept me happy but it was tucked away in the corner of te back bar and didn't disturb anyone's afternoon.

I love this place and will definately go back in the Summer and try the restaurant and the B&B!
FuzzyKipper - 16 Mar 2009 19:49
a pretty pleasant place...not cheap but not gastro-ish/prententious either. Both house beers were good and the roast beef was decent though bit on the steep side at £12. Worth a visit overall though...
jeremyb - 1 Mar 2009 17:48
My partner Rob and I went for a walk on Leith Hill last Sunday, and popped into the Plough for a quick pint and a meal. Lovely log fire, Pub was busy, really cosy atmosphere. Landlady behind the bar was friendly enough, quite bossy but then I guess one would have to be running a Pub...not my dream job! Menu was diverse, a good choice of homemade meals. Have to say, food was delicious, we both tried the home brews Tallywhacker and Crooked Furrow, really good. We both think this is our new discovery, it's easy for us to get to so we'll definitely be making this a regular jaunt. I really couldn't fault this pub, well run, cosy, eccentric locals, wellies akimbo, and they allow dogs, which makes it perfect it my eyes!!! Recommended.
SBHorsham - 25 Feb 2009 01:54
Just popped in for a pint after a walk. A pleasant and well-maintained pub, extra special because they brew their own beer. 3 real ales were available today. The Crooked Furrow and Tally Whacker were both very good. Great location. Well worth a visit. I shall be returning to try all their beers several times over!
Log fire and darts
goosegog - 11 Jan 2009 17:08
After reading the recent reviews I tried this house again. It has definately redeamed itself! None of the horrible noise or rude service of past visits, and the Biddenden's was in xcellent condition. (€3.30/pt, but I know I can't expect Somerset prices in Surrey).
jgurney1 - 23 Dec 2008 18:10
A couple of weeks back my wife and I stayed a night at the pub from as a rest stop before we took our flight from Gatwick, we found the Plough in the AA guide.
I'm quite suprised actually as we felt we should come here to say how much we enjoyed our stay, yet reading through some of the negative reviews I imagine maybe they have new owners now?
Anyway, we were very well looked after by the staff, the barman was a treat, nothing was a problem. We asked for water and we got it with no charge and not an inkling that this might be a problem. The meal was very good, the bar was busy and we had a great time with the locals.
The room we thought was beautiful, having stayed in many establishments before, of a same category, we did not feel at all disappointed. Breakfast was equally fine. The barman even photocopied us a map and drew out the quickest route to Gatwick.
The home brews were good, wasn't so keen on the crooked furrow, the barman told me that his father was struggling to get it back on track after a sabbatical from brewing as he had cancer, but the Tallywhacker was wonderful, kudos to the landlord. I'm very glad to hear that he is doing well, and hope to come back to this pub someday. If anyone wants to hear a fault, it's that we couldn't have stayed another night (we had a terrible holiday).
jonskedger - 11 Dec 2008 19:32
Yes M Shaylor, The Plough is a fine pub which is well managed - in a beautiful location. But, to bleat on about the pub sign is madness, bearing in mind the strong positive qualities of this rare gem.
mandraker - 8 Dec 2008 12:24
We last came to the Plough a year or so ago, and this last weekend my husband and I were visiting friends in the area and we decided to book a room at the Plough. After reading though some of these reviews, I was half expecting the full fawlty towers experience , but (unfortunately) for us, there was absolutely no drama. The room was lovely, clean, great bed! We were very comfortable, no moans there. Lovely barman, handsome man (apparentely landlord's son) really looked after us, and lovely staff, bubbly young scottish lass, pleasant (but classicly gruff) chef. Two minor grumbles; at breakfast the chef overslept and came down 15 minutes late, which didn't exactly endear him to the other guests, but we let it go as we knew they had been very busy the night before, plus we noticed the pub sign from our room, and it needs some serious TLC.
Now I quizzed the Landlord's son about the water situation. According to him their policy is now to give free water no matter what. We saw quite a few asking for water, and no one was denied it.
All in all, we had a great meal, a relaxing weekend, were looked after very nicely, and the Landlord's real ale, especially the Tallywhacker were very good!
We give it an 8...we'll be back, let's hope they sort out that pub sign!

MShaylor - 8 Dec 2008 12:02
Fullbelly (with a name like that you ate somewhere else no dought) that is an out dated law a pub does not have to supply free water and to be fair with the rent and rates landlords/ladies have to pay i can quiet understand that.What sometimes happens are walkers and bikers come into a pub mob handed and tend to take the place over (not always, agreed) which can get not only the people who run the places backs up but also other customers as well so its not all oneway.
Got to say on our visit the staff were friendly beer ok no comment on food as we didn`t eat,place is a bit scruffy.
Beersupper - 20 Nov 2008 19:14
I thought it a legal requirement for pubs to serve drinking water free on request , clearly reading the reviews below this is not the case !! What do other BITE users think?? Should a pub provide free water to walkers??
fullbelly - 20 Nov 2008 18:15
Seeing as the Plough Inn was listed as a Pick of Pub in the AA pub guide we decided to stay a night there. It was a big mistake. The place was dirty and the staff were incredibly rude. We agreed a price of £60 for the smallest room and a time for breakfast. Upon close inspection the bathroom was not clean and the decor is quite outdated. We ate dinner there and the food was very poor quality for the price of the meal. For example the Bangers and Mash came out with shrivelled overcooked sausages and the mash was cold yet it cost £10.95. There was no one else eating there which should have told us something. The state of the dining room was frankly shocking, with dirt and grime caked so thickly on the back wall that I could have easily written my name in it, had I been inclined to touch anything.
We arrived at the agreed time for breakfast but no one showed up for half an hour. When someone eventually showed up they bluntly said that we weren’t getting breakfast because we were given the wrong price for the room but if we did want breakfast it would cost £10 each! This is unbelievably poor customer relations – if they quoted us the wrong price then they should eat the cost of their mistake especially considering we ate and drank there the previous evening. Evidently the room was supposed to be £90 which is insane considering the dated appearance and lack of cleanliness. We would not recommend this pub to anyone and we will no longer trust the AA pub guides.

frog260 - 16 Nov 2008 12:32
A bit of a rainy day out and the mrs., the dog, and I stopped in for a pint. Checked with the landlady if okay to bring fido inside and, although not pleasant, she was accommodating and in we went. A super friendly barman struck up polite conversation as we took a seat in the back bar. Whilst we were there a few mountain bikers coming in from the rain asked if there was a place 'round back for them to sit and the landlady pointed them to the back bar, asking only that they wipe off the chairs when they left. The pints were not special, but the pub was okay for a swift one.
whateverdrew - 9 Nov 2008 07:45
We have used this pub when we lived in the area and were very pleased with the beer and the food we have had there.. Therefore when we were visiting and looking for a place for Sunday lunch with friends, we suggested we meet there.

All I can say is that I was disappointed with the cloudy beer served. Also when the food arrived, my 'Roast Beef with all the trimmings' consisted of the beef, yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and peas, all swimming in copious amounts of gravy. I'm not sure what they understand by trimming, but my understanding of 'trimmings' is obviously different.

To add insult to injury, on checking my copy of the bill today (Monday) the landlady had added up the items to £79.90... On checking and double checking on Excel, the total comes to £70.70.....

I shall be writing to the landlady requesting a cheque for the overcharged amount when I return to my home later this week.... I will let this site know the outcome when if and when I receive a reply....
garethjones - 29 Sep 2008 12:53
I have walked the Surrey Hills for 20+ years and have used this pub many times. I believe the same owners have run it over those years. The pub was renovated for lodging around 10 years ago and from that time the feel noticeably attempted to switch to an "up-market" tone. Half of the bar was cordoned off as 'eating only', prices increased and 'hearty Irish' portions reduced, though the home-made quality is retained. The micro brewery continued to brew good beers: Crooked Furrow and Tally Wacker. The Landlord ran the bar and the Landlady ran the catering which seemd to work well. The landlord (brewer) had recently been very ill and stopped brewing. It saddens me to read all these negative reviews as it never used to be like this not so long ago. I have to admit that I have never asked for a glass of water with a meal, or at any time. Dare I stammer such a request in defiance?
mim - 15 Sep 2008 16:33
If enough people visited this pub on their bikes, wore hiking boots and then requested free glasses of water and plates of chips, it might push the landlady over the edge and hopefully result in her being carted off to the "happy (no pun intended) House". Genuine Fawlty Towers stuff.
Castiche - 23 Jul 2008 09:29
"why doesn't they install a water fountain outside so the cyclists and walkers can get their free drink. Sadly the cyclists and walkers are not spenders but they expect the free use of the facilities of a pub."

Read the reviews - it was mainly people in groups having meals, often with children, who were complaining at not being provided with water on request. Few of these arrive on bicycles. The walkers and cyclists coming to the Plough seem to drink lots of pints of more expensive fluids.
jgurney1 - 29 Jun 2008 21:24
Thought it looked like a post-office with a letterbox outside..! Most of this pub's customers are probably walkers of cyclists, if they don't like it they should not work there... Pathetic.
TheSensiblePubReviewer - 28 Jun 2008 11:39
Totally agree with the last comments walkers and bicylcists are generally a pain in the harris (not all agreed) they go to a pub have a packet of crisps glass of the thames best and think they rule the roust.Some are very considerate others not worth a flying fig
ThePilgrim - 28 Jun 2008 11:33
I know local people that have told them about the bad reviews for the pub and were told to F@*k off. This pub is goldmine so why doesn't they install a water fountain outside so the cyclists and walkers can get their free drink. Sadly the cyclists and walkers are not spenders but they expect the free use of the facilities of a pub. I can understand why she gets angry but I think she should be able to identify the genuine customers. Before all the cyclists and walkers start a hissy fit, I ran a very sucessful country pub for years and can assure you that the majority were not valued customers.
lolo9801 - 26 Jun 2008 21:03
When next in the area i will call in and try the local spring water and dine out on a plate of chips ,i will also be wearing body armour,a jock and crash helmet.
Beersupper - 18 Jun 2008 13:00
The Plough really seems to divide opinion. It has its plus points, mainly its wonderful location, and until a year or so ago, the fact that the landlord brewed his own beer. Although this was a hit or miss affair, you really want to like a pub where this happens. I brought some friends from North America here and they loved the place, and still rave about it.
So far so good then? No, not really. The beer is extremely expensive (even when they brewed their own, and with no transport costs or third party margins, it was 15-20% more than other local pubs), and the pub is a free house and can therefore negotiate great deals with suppliers.
The pub is in a renowned walking and cycling area, therefore these are the customers who will be supporting the pub. So why not welcome them, let them have a free glass of water before they spend large amounts of money on food and drink? Surely anone with business sense must realise this. You are not going to get all your trade out here from the Gatwick Airport brigade staying the night, which is what at times the landlady appears to crave for.
Most of the pub is given over to restaurant, which is rarely full. Drinkers must use the rather cramped bar, and when this is full they are not allowed to use the restaurant tables, even at time when food is not served.
The pub fire is also seldom on, even in winter. Please, the owners must move on and make this one of the top pubs in southern England. At the moment it is in the basement.

thepubvisitor - 14 Jun 2008 10:06
My rate for this pub is 8.
The Plough is a very nice, clean and relaxing coutry pub, and the food is excellent. The bar service is one of the best i have seen in what concerns to deal with people. The Landlord is absolutely charming and friendly as well as the bar maid. I have not met the Landlady. With our meal and wine, we had 2 pint of tap water, and nobody charged it from us... anyway, we would have paid for it if they asked us... after all, they only charge £0.50 and the service is very good. Maybe they just need another member of staff to ease the pressure.
We will go back next weekend!
dorreen - 9 Jun 2008 19:21
Biker, relax.

At the risk of spoiling 5555’s fun I think he is trying to wind up the landlady by getting more people to go in and ask for the ‘local’ water. My guess is that she also refuses to serve chips on their own.

GGG - 4 Jun 2008 13:41
Stopped in here while on a walk to Leith Hill. Ringwood Best, Old Thumper, Boondoggle plus Spitfire and Landlord (went off when I asked for one). Boondoggle was lovely, also had the Biddenden cider which was almost clear and a bit sweet.

Nice bar, funny chairs with short backs. Landlady although maybe a little curt seemed to be dealing with the regulars ok. Leith Hill beers haven't been brewed for 10 months because the brewer has been ill, wish him well.

As I didn't encounter the problems listed by others I have to give this pub an 8.
GuideDogSaint - 24 May 2008 19:58
The whole place looked like it could do with a good clean, it didn't give you a good feel about what was going to come out of the kitchen. The food was expensive, ok but nothing special. The staff didn't know what they were doing, we were asked at least twice after we placed our order whether or not we were ready to order.
Wouldn't go back
56alison - 15 May 2008 14:00
I went into this pub for the first time today. I had just been walking around the beautiful countryside and my friend and I decided to go for a beer. The pub looked lovely and welcoming. How wrong were we! There was no one in the bar - we waited for ages and realised that the landlady was just sitting there watching tv. Ok, maybe she had not heard us talking at the bar. So we politely asked her if she could serve us and wish we hadn't bothered. She was so unfriendly to us. I decided to have a beer and when I asked her if I could try the Landlord (I think thats the one) beer she told me in a most unpleasant manner that it was not possible as beer is far too expensive. Ok fine. So I asked her if she could recommend one for me as I'd not tried any of the beers on there before. She simply told me she didn't drink beer and to make up my mind. Excuse me if I'm wrong but part of the beer culture in country pubs is trying it. I had not seen the sign about the water and asked if I could have a glass and she pretty much shouted at me for having the nerve to ask for a glass of tap water. I will never go there again. Why the hell would you have a pub if you hate people so much? It seems that I'm not the only one whos taken the wrath of her. Its such a shame as the pub itself is lovely in such a beautiful setting.
Parafinfairy - 6 May 2008 21:19
A rare find. Aside from the tipple, this pub is known for serving fabulous local spring water and the best chips in the land. Be sure and start off by ordering both!
5555 - 1 May 2008 12:12
After a long walk (and admittedly getting very lost!) we stumbled upon this pub and were relieved to read the menu board which sounded great although pricey.

However, we were barely halfway through our drinks when the landlady had already been incredibly unpleasent and rude to TWO different groups of people and we simply didn't want to stay there and give them our custom. She seems to unaware of the meaning of the word hospitality and didn't seem at all suited to the role of country village landlady.

I won't go back. Expensive and they don't deserve my money.
AShep - 18 Apr 2008 14:16
I came here to post a negative review fully expecting it to be in the minority, I'm sad to see it's a common occurrence.

We stumbled into the pub at lunchtime last weekend after a snowy walk up at Leith Hill. The pub was packed with walkers and cyclists, there were a couple of dogs and a roaring fire. The decor was typical and welcoming. The landlady, however, was not.

Asking for a hot-chocolate received short-shrift: "not when we're busy", so I modified our order to two cokes. Adding a cauliflower soup I was presented with the cost, I handed my card and was told "you can't pay on card", so I raised my eyebrows - I had no cash on me. She deigned to accept my Maestro but for a 70p charge. In doing so she barked at the barman next to her to charge all cards under £10 the 70p fee. Eventually I submitted my pin and took a seat.

I should say at this point that the soup was jolly nice when it arrived and that it was a little cheeky to ask for a hot chocolate in a pub.

Country pubs are not Starbucks, I accept that and, having grown-up in a small village in Kent with a pub that has had to adapt I know that drink driving laws and the smoking ban have taken their toll on revenues. Village pubs MUST adapt and The Plough benefits from being in a glorious walking area with plenty of business by the looks of things. What puts people off however is shoddy service and it simply isn't that difficult to improve. On the surface of it the service is polite here: a fixed grin and smatterings of 'please' and 'thank-you' cannot hide some customer experience calamaties though. Charging a fee for card transactions is unacceptable; there was a time when CREDIT CARD transactions cost businesses a percentage fee but these days the decline in cash usage means that you simply have to accept that people, especially arriving on impulse will expect to pay, without penalty, on card.

Secondly, this preposterous 'tap water' argument: I saw her lovely laminated sign which ranted that tap water wasn't free. Well, technically no it might not be but what price a bit of hospitality? The negative effect of charging hugely offsets the pennies they'll recoup from charging people. Look at these reviews for example.

Whilst I concur that the halogen-lit gastro-pub is a disappointing trend in hospitality, the fact remains that any place where the slavish adherence to outmoded principles will ultimately die whereas an establishment that embraces a new customer-centric approach and retains the authentic character (for the two are not at-odds) would thrive.

So come-on, focus on relaxing the rules a bit, welcome drop-in trade, offer free tap water and promote the excellent soup and authentic pub experience.
smorgasbord - 12 Apr 2008 17:36
I've been in this pub several times and always liked it, esp. the well-kept Biddendens. However when I called in today I was driven out into the rather cold garden by the very loud music blaring indoors. Do many of the people who come out to this quiet spot out in the woods in mid-afternoon come for loud music?
jgurney1 - 11 Apr 2008 21:47
Whilst I agree with supporting freehouses, I feel that Wonderkind is missing the point. I have visited the Plough several times solely because of the micro brewery but each time we have encountered blantant rudeness from the landlady and extremely poor customer service from the staff. The landlady is pushing good business out of her door by her attitude so why should people support this freehouse. There are far more welcoming freehouses in the local area where our custom is appreciated. By the way I am not Freddie or any other banned customer
lolo9801 - 27 Mar 2008 11:31
What a great pub in a fantastic setting, but we must agree with previous comments made about the landlady. We stopped for a quick pint and were treated with incredible rudeness, that cannot be excused as mere abruptness. A certain curtness is forgivable with such a stressful job, however to treat new customers with absolute contempt and distain (when simply asking for a paper tissue, the landlady was downright rude, despite in the next minute, being charming to obvious locals.) can only alienate a paying public. We pay over the odds, not just for a pint, but for the atmosphere that comes with it. We will not be recommending this pub to anyone.
stagbag - 24 Mar 2008 10:52
To reply to the rant below from the owners:
Again I repeat it's extremely bad form for a proper pub to charge for tap water. I have never seen it in all my years visiting pubs
The vast majority of restaurants will not charge for it either - as long as you are buying their drinks as well (I wouldn't dream of just asking for water and not buying a round)
This is called good customer service. Often places that have a good reputation and service will flourish, whilst places like yours will be struggling.
There is of course a problem with pubs surviving, and the appearance of the chains everywhere. I for one always try and support freehouses - but not if they don't give good customer service.
I review on this site often, and most of my reviews are positive. I was researching pubs in this area as we are due to visit relatives soon.
You have simply lost money from my pocket and all others reading this website with your attitude
Shame on YOU for mentioning immigration in your reply - you and your attitude are what's wrong with this country not immigrants!

Scottie_chorlton - 19 Mar 2008 11:00
I would have liked to visit & stay at this pub this summer.
But after the negative comments of 'tap_water' below (presumably from the owners) I wouldn't give them my money.
It's extremely bad form to charge for tap water, I've never heard of a pub doing it. (Occasionally restaurants do)
I often get a pint of water with a round of beers, to keep hydrated and stave off that hangover.I urge everyone to boycott this pub and over turn this mean minded policy
Scottie_chorlton - 10 Mar 2008 18:24
We stayed at this pub for a night in January. It was not a good experience and our experience seems similar to many other comments posted here. I wish I had checked this site first, rather than the guide books this pub seems to appear in. Specifically:
- Poor value for money. The room was very average, up a tight set of stairs (I know it is an old building, but people that rent rooms do have suitcases), and expensive, even compared to normal poor value UK hotels and inns. We didn't eat very much (see below) but were charged £7 a head for an average bowl of soup and a roll as a late supper.
- Unhelpful landlady, too complicated to explain here, but I do not think this lady realises she is working in a service industry. After a couple of conversations with her, we decided to eat elsewhere.
On the positive side
- some of the locals on the other side of the bar are very friendly!
- It is close to Gatwick airport!!
ninewinds - 3 Mar 2008 18:45
Plain, friendly pub in a fine location and with good beer (Oakleaf Holehearted).
ashmather - 25 Feb 2008 10:16
OK let's clear one thing up.

The law requires establishments that serve food to provide tap water if requested. However, that same tap water CAN be legally charged for.

Why should a pub with expensive overheads not charge for tap water? After all, the water is metered and is filtered and chilled, it requires time and staff to serve it, the glass needs collecting and washing. A proportion of glasses will get broken or go missing. Further, the pub needs heating, business rates and other taxes must be paid, repair bills must be met and staff paid.

From my personal experience of many years behind the bar, the type of people who ask for tap water are a) generally women, b) tight, c) up-tight and d) think the world owes them a living. Get over yourselves.

Thousands of pubs are going out of business and all you care about is how you expected something for nothing and when you were reasonably asked to contribute toward it, having a hissy fit and bleating on about it in forums like this.

tap_water - 10 Feb 2008 14:47
This pub should have it all!

Great local beers, its own microbrewery, the best location in Surrey and an almost endless queue of walkers, ramblers and cyclists trying to get in. Most landlords would love this situation.


I visited with my wife and another couple and 2 small children (well behaved ones at that!) and while my beer was excellent my Sunday Roast was laughable - I have not seen such a dismal roast since 1980!

I fail to see how the people running this pub cannot see what is happening. Being sent to the barn I understand - before I had kids I couldn't stand them in pubs.

But, if you serve wafer thin beef and what's even worse the cheapest, nastiest fish fingers for the kids and then top it off by not allowing paying (and I think that is the key point here) customers not have a glass of water then you don't deserve repeat visits.

testaccount - 29 Jan 2008 17:31
We were also refused 2 glasses of tap water - having bought a round of drinks and lunch for 4 people. The landlady (we think, as she refused to tell who the landlord/manager was!) was extremely rude and informed that as they had to pay water rates they would not supply drinking water.

We will never go back there and will encourage others to avoid it - we wonder if the tiny cost of 2 glasses of water was really worth creating this ill-will.

happyhiker - 29 Jan 2008 09:21
This pub refused to serve tap water free of charge.

This may seem petty but I believe that it should be followed up, particularly as the pub is the only place in an area for bikers and hikers to get water. It was particularly irritating in our case as we had just ordered £60 worth of meals and £20 of beers/wines. To then be refused a pint of tap water was not only rude but as I understand it is breaking the by law which states that public houses and inns must serve tap water free of charge.

I might add that with one half of the pub was sectioned for the bar, and the other half for dining, the bar section was heaving and over crowded, while the dining section had tumble weeds blowing through, but the landlady zealously guarded her dining area leaping forth like a rottweiler every time some misguided patron ventured towards the seats in that area. Thus several people had to stand outside in the cold to drink their pints as there was no room in the bar section.

What a shame such a lovely pub with relatively good food should have such an unpleasant owner.

lewingtonn - 28 Jan 2008 12:14
I note the mixed reviews and complaints about food, service, etc. Visited as a stop off during a walk, didn't eat but had a decent enough pint of Crooked Furrow. Found the barman personable and friendly. In my view a worthy venture simply for brewing their own beers which from my one off experience tasted fine and was well looked after. In reality a brave and laudable venture in such an off the beaten track location. I possibly need to return on a busier day to test out the service more.
Maldenman - 20 Nov 2007 17:32
Coming as I do from Central London with it's homogonised and sterile chain pubs and bars, the Plough Inn is a refreshing change. Set in idyllic English countryside and with a traditional, welcoming feel, it's a perfect setting for a get away from it all lunch or dinner
The menu was imaginative and extensive and the food way above the norm. A good range of ales and wine to choose from to accompany our meal
Those who think the staff (and the landlady, who I found to be completely charming) are rude have obviously never had the misfortune to be served in any number of establishments in greater London where the merest acknowledgement of your presence can be considered a bonus, with corteous good service completely out of the question. I wouldn't expect to be offered free beverages in any establishment so why would I expect a free glass of water here? Good pubs are dying out in this country and patrons should remember that overheads are real issues for people trying to make a living. The water has to be fetched by staff and the glasses have to be collected and washed. You wouldn't expect a free milkshake in MacDonalds, but perhaps you'd be more at home there if you think the Plough is anything other than a perfectly delightful country pub!
FunkySoulDiva - 28 Oct 2007 10:54
Really sad that the management/owners of this pub do not take on board the comments made by their cutomers. I have been witness to at least five complaints about the quality of the food, drinks and the service. The Eastern European bar staff are extremely rude and possess absolutely no customer service skills. We no longer use The Plough as there are far better pubs a few miles away.
anonymous - 14 Oct 2007 19:59
Called on Sunday evening having been walking. The Leith Hill beers were not to my personal liking, we had a taster of the Hoppily Ever After and found it very smokey (post ban?) so settled for the reasonable but not exciting Crooked Furrow. The glass of Merlot was described as 'dead in the bottle' despite seeing a new bottle opened and the food at about £12 each was ordinary and well overpriced.
Never met the landlady and had good service from the lad behind the bar. Decor in the restaurant leaves a lot to be desired. Other than those drinking in the garden, we were last to leave (at about 9.10) which gave the whole place an empty feeling.
lout_from_the_lane - 6 Aug 2007 10:22
When I visited this pub earlier in the week I was disappointed. I ordered a pint from the pub's own Leith Hill brewery, Hoppily Ever After, it tasted very vinegary, when I queried if it was supposed to taste like this I was told it was, and it was suggested I add a dash of lemonade to take the bitterness away. The second beer I tried, Crooked Furrow was fine, but the third, a dark porter, Tallywhacker, was also vinegary, certainly unlike any porter I've ever tasted. Maybe the water they use to clean the lines or brew the beer is the problem, as I was told they would not refil my water bottle (essential for walkers). The Polish bar maid inplied the tap water was not fit for drinking and tried to sell me bottled water. However, the tap water, I obtained from the gents tasted fine.
Ginger_Beard - 4 Aug 2007 17:26
Great pub, slightly moody staff but they seem ok to me, if you ignore that the food is excellent and so is the beer, really great location too. Lovely unspoilt pub.
bluezebra - 24 Jun 2007 18:01
The hosts and chef when we arrived were very hospitable, although she was a bit brusque and reserved but no problems there. However, their website's claim to be a gastropub is exaggerated. Our meal was average. In the morning the breakfast requested for 8am was late and spoilt by burnt sausages. The room we stayed in was clean, pleasant and there are good walks and scenery nearby, but the restaurant carpet hadn't been vacuumed for days and there were crumbs on the tables. In the morning the bar was a mess with left over drinks, pizza and overflowing ashtrays. Rather offputting. The beer was good but expensive.
beerwoman - 30 Apr 2007 22:14
May have the world's most annoying website. Just because you can use Flash for everything, doesn't mean you should!
anonymous - 26 Nov 2006 10:55
I am not surprised to find that the reviews of this pub are overwhelmingly positive, except for the terseness of the landlady.
Rick's home-brewed ales - and those from elsewhere - are excellent and well-kept. The food - though in my personal experience variable - can be superb and seems to receive continuously rave reviews. It is a beautiful pub in an idyllic location, and is equally appealing to all ages and types, not just ramblers.
Rick is a very friendly and convivial host, but this has been off-set on a number of occasions by Anna's curtness, often at the pettiest of things. She's always been fine with me, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the people who have suffered a disproportionate tongue-lashing from her never returned. I appreciate that she works hard, is nearing retirement and needs to be firm with those who do take the mickey by consuming their own food in the pub etc. But there is a fine line between firmness and rudeness and sometimes, I feel she has crossed it, and been unreasonable.
However, this would not prevent me from going back, simply because it is a minor negative amidst a pool of positives.
One thing's for sure, it won't be the same when the Abreharts leave.

TWG - 11 Oct 2006 12:43
Hi one and all...we were staying at the Plough on Friday for two nights....we had a fantastic stay, the surrounding area is beautiful, our room was just gorgeous! The Landlord and Lady were charming, kind and courteous, we ate there on the friday evening and the food was absolutely wonderful....I had the confit of duck! My husband is a real ale man, and he is still raving about the beers. There seems to be some negative comments in the other reviews...I experienced none of these, I have to say it was one of the best puns I have been to, and I will be definitely coming back for more!!
snappy - 28 Aug 2006 14:22
I have been a patron of this public house for many years, and would say that I visit this establishment on average once every three months. In my opinion it is an excellent establishment, a free house, with character and great care taken in every aspect of the running of the place. Always spotlessly clean, excellent homemade food, and the real ales are fantastically kept...especially Rick's (the landlord) homemade ales, which he brews in a microbrewery behind the barn.

Having read through these comments, I would say that some of these postings are unduly harsh...Rick and Anna are a great couple, and deserve their time off (Anna being of retirement age and Rick not far off). Having been a publican myself many moons ago, I understand just what a stressful business this is, having the highest known divorce and seperation rate of any industry. The hours are excrutiatingly long, and what with the plough also being a 4 star AA rated B and B, I am not surprised that either Rick or Anna are around sometimes..has anyone considered that Rick may be brewing (a time consuming process) or that Anna is most probably cleaning rooms and helping out in the kitchen.

Anna is known for being sharp, she suffers no fools gladly, and in this business, this is a tool that is most needed, I have had first hand experience of people bringing their own food and drink to my old establishment, and seen it many a time while using the Plough, it being a popular haunt for walkers and ramblers. The basic premise is this....under no circumstances should anyone in a public house order water and expect it for free unless you are ordering food. Also please remember, that Free Houses are an endagered breed...of course chain pubs can afford to loosen the purse strings somewhat, but a sole business owner of a free house has many bills to burden, including the raised water bills and business tax.

All in all, I amy be biased having known Rick and Anna at the Plough for many years now, but I feel that this is a gem of a won't find many more like it, and if you expect different...well, there are many chain pubs to choose from, that sell shoddily kept beers, and pre packaged foods. For me, this pub is an easy 8 out of 10.
wonderkind - 28 Aug 2006 14:00
Visited here again on the 19th August evening - last visit around a year ago. Landlord not present so could not comment. However, the two (continental?) bar maids were pleasant and the own-brewed beer excellent. The Tallywhacker was top-notch! Based on this visit a score of -7-.
bobinman - 22 Aug 2006 20:44
Interesting reading the other comments, time for a change eh? Such a fantastic place with such a brilliant history of amusing landlords, why are these people running a pub if they dont enjoy it!? Food is good and beer excellent but with tatty old furniture, dreadful service and downright rudeness this place needs to be taught a lesson, bring your own sandwiches, ask for free water and use of the telephone. Time for a change.
anonymous - 9 Aug 2006 14:42
I have been visiting The Plough about every two months for the past seven years in the course of long walks around Leith Hill and I take overseas visitors there for dinner. The home-brewed Tallywhacker ale is
clean-tasting and full but not heavy. Menu is wide, includes specials for children, and the food has always been excellent and affordable. Today I had a first class rump steak. The tables, floor and lavatories were spotlessly clean and the staff were
modest, polite, attentive and prompt. Could hardly ask for better.
DesCartes - 28 Jul 2006 18:43
We went here one afternoon a few weeks ago, late one afternoon, and the pub was quiet. The barman (who, I found out, is the landlord's son) was sitting at a table smoking and drinking a cup of coffee). I ordered a pint of beer (which was OK) and a coffee, to be told they didn't serve coffee. In the half hour we were there three other couples came in, all asking for drinks and coffee, each to be told that coffee was not available. What fantastic customer service.
anotherpintplease - 18 Jun 2006 12:00
We tried the Plough when we found out about their special cider. Drinks are very expensive and their own beer is excellent but the cider wasn't that good. I agree with the comments made by others about the bar staff/landlady. Considering the location and the repeat business potential, it is sad that they are driving people away by their attitude. New management would be the best remedy. I also wouldn't recommend this pub.
anonymous - 24 May 2006 11:35
Have to agree with all the comments about the landlady. I was one of a number of walkers who were sitting down, other members were at another table. The landlady wanted us all to sit at one table! The pub wasn't even crowded.

A great shame as the beer was great (brewed at the back) but if the landlady has such difficulty being civil, why is she doing this job!

it's quite true, the pub could be so much better.

anonymous - 7 May 2006 21:52
Have been to pub on many occasions, today went with my 2 1/2 year old daughter and they wanted to charge 75p for a glass of tap water. When asked why they said it was overheads, I said we would use our own cup and they said they would still charge. Asked if we could get her own drink from the car the hesitated (we already had drinks on the bar not paid for) and relutantly said yes. I appreciate not giving adults free space in the garden, but toddlers!!! Real shame as they keep the beer in fantastic condition. Oh well! At least we have the Surrey Oaks - real cider, nice pub, great landlord.
francescasdad - 4 May 2006 14:03
How on earth did this place get in the Good Pub Guide? Food is overpriced and very slow (35 mins for main courses). Children are exiled to a dirty old barn. Cutlery is old and dirty.
The comments about tap water are true - the land lady was stunningly rude to my 7 year old son when he asked for a glass a water (at the end of a £60 meal). He's still talking about it 6 hours later!
lsmithgo - 1 May 2006 18:16
Food was OK but expensive. Having spent £30 on meal and drinks for four, I was a bit taken aback when bar maid ignored my request for glass of tap water to serve another customer. (How long does it take to fill a glass with water?) Lack of competition in the area and the fact that many visitors to Leith Hill are likely to be there only infrequently should not be an excuse for ripping-off customers. I would not recommend this pub and will definitely not be returning.
JamesTKirk - 6 Apr 2006 20:06
Nice landlord, not so nice landlady.
Nice food, not so nice price.
Nice garden, not so nice bar.
Nice beer (home brewed).
Not so nice tap water (charged!).

Could be so much more.
anonymous - 15 Mar 2006 18:05
In the running for the coldest pub in Britain. The landlady is pretty frosty as well.
anotherpintplease - 3 Feb 2006 22:31
Their home made ale is excellent. The staff are friendly and the mountain biking around Leith Hill is brilliant.
robertpulford - 7 Oct 2005 15:16
Nice pub, nice beer garden - perfect after a walk to the tower and back.

Good collection of ales as well as some strong cidre
mattywhi - 6 Apr 2005 19:17
OK food & ambience, spoiled only by the wait and a very rude landlady (quote after a gentle enquiry about how much longer we'd have to wait 30 mins after ordering: 'you people always want to jump the queue; this isn't McDonald's').
Dave - 7 Nov 2004 18:57
Excellant pub! Went once, and have returned many times. The food is excellant which goes a long way to foregiving the tempermental chef.
Nick - - 28 Apr 2004 20:47
Can be a little tight for space but otherwise a charming country hostelry. Scaled down beer range (free house) from 9 to 7 + real cider! Landlord is equally charming, and he brews consistently good ale on site. Landlady can be a bit sharp but runs a tight ship. Excellent.
Tom - 29 Mar 2004 16:02
Excellent food and good beer. Can get a bit busy at weekends during the day due to ramblers.
Jim - 13 Nov 2003 16:54
Excellent ambience at lunchtime.The food was tasty, the staff were welcoming and obliging.
Helen - 29 Oct 2003 22:07
Excellent pub, the beer is kept well, and the company is always great, hadn't drunk there in a few years until recently, and i am glad to say it hasn't changed. Rick and Anna keep up the good work.
Ian - 22 Sep 2003 23:51
I think the fact that they charge £1.00 for a glass of tap water says it all really!
Freddie - 10 Sep 2003 11:20
The real cider is something else as is Tallywaker. Gets a bit busy with people from out of the area, walkers etc on Sundays but it doesn't take anything away from what is a great pub in the evening all year round.
Richard - 10 Jul 2003 09:26
Up on the North Downs nr Leith Hill the highest point in Surrey. The tiny Leith Hill Brewery situated behind, which brews 'Crooked Furrow,' & 'Tallywaker,' for the Pub. About Eight handpumps + Real Cider, Good Food, Accomodation & refurbished Barn out back available for functions. Fine views across to the South Downs from the garden. Rick & Anna Abrehart bid a warm welcome to this rural, rustic gem.
Ted Smith - - 9 Jun 2003 00:14

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