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Axe and Compass, Heath and Reach

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user reviews of the Axe and Compass, Heath and Reach

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

A good sized pub on the main road through the village, it consists of a good sized car park with a small accommodation block off of it, a beer garden with good views of the adjacent countryside and a patio area at the rear.

The rear bar is what might be described as the public bar and seemed a popular spot with locals on a recent Tuesday evening visit. The flooring was a mixture of strip wood and some grey, slate like tiles whilst the walls had wood panelling on the lower part and some lime green, floral wallpaper up above. There was a plasma on one wall as well as a pool table, darts board and a small trophy shelf. The lounge bar at the front of the pub had similar décor but with a straw colour carpet on the floor, some black beams on the ceiling and pale lemon paintwork on the walls. There were a few small pictures dotted around such as artistic drawings of food and drink and a few old black and white photos of the locale.

The menu offered a decent looking selection of pub grub dishes, with option such a Ham Egg & Chips, Fish & Chips, Steak and a Stilton Chicken Breast as well as a few burgers, baguettes and homemade pies. Most of the main courses were in the £8 - £9 range. My Chicken Tikka Masala initially looked promising with a generous portion of chicken and sauce on a bed of rice with an accompanying mini naan bread. However, the sauce wasn’t particularly tasty and the chicken had that curious rubbery quality that you sometimes find in cheap Chinese takeaways. The menu listed it at £8.25, but apparently they have a “50% off” deal Mondays to Fridays so it only cost me £4.47 (although eagle eyed readers will note that this is actually only about 46% off) so at these prices it would be churlish to complain. Offering half price food virtually all the time though does of course mean that in reality that’s all it’s worth and one might feel slightly aggrieved at paying the “normal” price on a weekend.

There were a good selection of beers on tap, although it would appear that they were running a beer festival on the occasion of my visit, so it may not always be this extensive. There were three hand pumps on the bar suggesting that this may be the usual number and a further three barrels sat on the end of the bar. A blackboard listed the options as Potton’s Phoenix and Lion IPA, Tring’s Phantom Monk, Vale’s Red Kite, Kite’s Scary Kite and Caledonian’s Autumn Red. The only cider on tap was Strongbow, although these were joined by boxes of Weston’s Country Perry and Family Reserve. Hopefully the latter are permanent fixtures and not part of the beer festival.
Blackthorn - 6 Nov 2013 08:32
very promising from the outside, went in for sunday lunch. what a let down, meat was very tough and my 10 year old can make better roast potatoes, spoke to a few of the "regulars" and they said it has been going downhill for a few months now, shame another pub going to close soon i bet.
gloriab54 - 7 Dec 2011 18:14
my daughter use to use this pub lots and when visting her this week we thought we would treat them all to sunday lunch, oh dear not very good at all, yorkshire were like pancakes and the potatoes were green and i like my vegatables soft but i do have some teeth left, awful the worse sunday roast i have had for a long time...it was sunday the 9th oct, we did not complain as there was a big table of ten doing enough of that. shall be going back again.
browngirl33 - 15 Oct 2011 16:07
Popped in last night and enjoyed an excellent 'Fish supper' along with an enjoyable two pints of 'Directors'.
The pub was very busy with a mix of locals and passing trade....always a good sign!
The food was excellent; well cooked,plentiful and with quick,polite service.
Finally, it was gratifying to visit an establishment where you are greeted warmly by such a pleasant, efficient 'Team' of staff.
We will be back to dine again very soon....Highly recommended!
Enceem - 27 Aug 2011 08:49
Heath and Reach is a small village near the Chiltern Hills in Bedfordshire, about two miles north of Leighton Buzzard and three miles south of Woburn. It used to boast five pubs back in the day, but the Red Lion has been turned into flats, the Dukes Head into an Indian restaurant and The Cock Horse into a hotel.
But the Axe and Compass remains, and although I am well aware that the pub ratings on BITE are easily manipulated and not maintained by what laughingly passes as admin on this site, having seen it become the top scoring pub in the land, I took the opportunity when having to work from Milton Keynes to detour and see if I had been missing a rural gem of some character dispensing excellent ales straight from the wood, which somehow had been overlooked by the many Best Pubs in Britain guides.
And in this aim I can save everyone else the time and trouble.
The Axe and Compass is a fairly unremarkable village inn which retains a two room set up either side of a central serving bar.
The larger Public bar is dominated by a central pool table, two large plazmas running music videos, a dart board and several fruit machines and has a well worn feel and seating that has certainly seen some life. There were quite a few locals in on this early Monday evening, which as always a good sign.
It opens out onto a small patio area with seating which seems to be mainly utilised by smokers and beyond this is a decent garden section with kids play area.
The smaller front Lounge / Dining room is smarter and mainly laid to tables for eating. The food menu is honest pub grub fare at reasonable prices and there is a good range of home made pies at around the 7 mark.
Standard drinks offering with the usual chrome pumps. But at least there are three hand pumps although alarmingly for my visit these were dominated by the poor imitation that masquerades as Courage Best and Directors nowadays. Fortunately there does seem to be guest ales from the Concrete Cow microbrewery in Milton Keynes and the Courage Best pump was reverse clipped and a acme style homemade clip in crayon announced the availability of Watling gold, which was a decent pint and probably justified the petrol spent taking the detour from the A5.
So in conclusion, a solid, although largely unremarkable village pub that probably does qualify as being the best pub in Heath and Reach, and I would have no problem with it being my local if I lived in the village. But I dont so I cant see myself rushing back.

Gann - 26 Jul 2011 13:43
went in after nice curry up the road, the sports side is a bit rough and ready but we were directed to the dining side, they had stopped doing food, and we sat in some nice comfy tub chairs and enjoyed a bottle O&G pinot grigio was very nice and lovely and cold, will have to come in for food sometime soon.
lisareev - 23 Jun 2011 16:40
Held a 50th wedding meal here for 40 people, staff were great along with the food and atmosphere, many thanks and well done.
clinton2006 - 11 Jun 2011 19:21
thx for all the nice comments and got joint 2 nd best mentioned in local rag last week, keep on commenting and also pop in for a drink sometime and let us know your thoughts.cheers
strongbow74 - 26 May 2011 18:07
this is a great pub with a really great family run feel, its got great home made food and a sunday roast to die for, the beers really good and all the events they have are great. i've recently had a party here and could of not have been better.
craig21 - 23 May 2011 18:54
I've been everywhere son.
Grand_Mufti - 19 May 2011 22:46
lol i find this funny i have never been on this site but the so called dual identity youy mention is my wife and her friend who were staying down that area recently....lol they reckon the axe is very good not been myself but sound like a good pub.......have you been???
bobbafatty - 19 May 2011 22:06
Such a shame that racheljacks and blackpanther chose to use their dual identity to boost the rating. I'm sure it doesn't need it.

We CAN tell when you do this you know!
Grand_Mufti - 19 May 2011 18:56
Excellent food , excellent beers, especially the real ale which is exceptionally good. The staff always make you feel welcome, as do the regulars in the bar.
The dining area is intimate and does not have loud music and there is no sound from the bar area to disrupt the peaceful and relaxed ambience for dining.
Boomer69 - 19 May 2011 18:39
a proper pub my hubby would love the sports side, bit tired for me but had a peak in dining side very smart, planning to come back later in month for a food...looked very good, friendly atmos
blackpanther - 17 May 2011 11:21
staying in the lodge for 2 weeks for week, lovely atmos in the dining side and lovely home-cooked food, i know my hubby if he were here would love the sports side, lots of lively banter etc...very good all round pub
racheljacks - 10 May 2011 15:49
Haven't been to the Axe & Compass for a few year years, but finally decided to go after friends mentioned that they had redecorated and put in a new menu. I have to say we were all pleasantly surprised and we all loved the pies!! Great to see a local pub thriving.
JeanM - 9 Apr 2011 23:44
staying here for work lovely rooms and lovely food, steak pie a must, here for 4 weeks so will up date soon, nice pint of fenny popper as well.
lennyg35 - 28 Mar 2011 16:54
Was staying with friend in heath hence the mine pub crawl around leighton, this is his regular haunt, very nice beer, tried a pint a paddy tout very good and only 2.40 did not have food but looked very busy in the rmain bar had a race night on for charity, look forward to my next visit
properpubman - 15 Mar 2011 15:55
lovely pub, really welcoming stayed in the rooms, basic but just want i wanted, food was lovely and homely, made me feel very welcome.
reid54 - 5 Mar 2011 13:39
fantastic had one of the best pies i have ever had in years in there, although they are half way through a refit in the dining area was made to feel very welcome by staff & owners, will def be back loads lovely.
willl - 9 Dec 2010 17:23
lovely chatming pub, nice tring beers on tap with more local one to come, landlord said concrete cow will be on at weekend, wil have to bring the misses out for sunday lunch and sneak a few.
johngray36 - 17 Nov 2010 16:31
not long moved to heath, excellent pub good beer and pies to die for will be a regular now,looking forward to the halloween bop
jrose67 - 15 Oct 2010 14:23
I have had dinner here several times and the food has always been excellent. Good portions and cooked to order. The welcome is always warm and the sunday nights sessions are also starting to become a regular thing.
OB1.KanoBeer - 16 Feb 2010 20:41
just went in for a drink they had stopped doing food but chap behind bar did us some roast pots and yorkies..lovely good wine selection
loiuseroast - 7 Feb 2010 22:57
The Axe & compass, since the new management took over is fast improving . Great food at a good price. The selection of real ales is growing weekly at an unbeatable price for this area.
dannygraver - 4 Feb 2010 17:17
very nice food i had fish n chips for a fiver and my wife had a small banger n mash only 3 pounds, plus i sampled a few og the lagless las on tap.very good
heathaleboy - 27 Jan 2010 17:23
was on mini pub crawl fri night good beer 4 real ales on very well priced
whitebeerman - 24 Jan 2010 12:49
had christmas dinner party here sat night, amazing carrot soup best i have tasted, turkey so moist and a wonderful cheesecake ..will be back in the new year excellent
santahelper - 23 Dec 2009 15:48
very good went for lunch with friends good pub menu and very good value for money, tring beer on pumps sometimes up to 3 tip top
davidbeer - 8 Dec 2009 22:31
not been in for ages, lots of changes.....had food and had the pie hence the name best ive had in a pub, will be my regular snap stop now.
pieman37 - 2 Nov 2009 17:00
New management as of 1st August 2009, who are trying to rebrand the pub with good beer and a wide selection of real ciders on tap. Well worth a visit if you're passing.
adamcroft - 20 Oct 2009 13:04
We have eaten at the Axe a number of times and whilst some of the comments about the general feel of the place possibly lacking a little sparkle are true I feel it necessary to mention that the food has been consistently good. Last evening 5 of us dined there and once again enjoyed the food. We had prawn cocktails, breaded mushrooms to start and all were good. For mains we had steak, veggie and non veggie lasagne, an axe burger and the fish and chips and all were very tasty. Apart from the idea of serving the fish and chips in paper on a table with a lit tea light which at one point caught alight we really couldnt complain. The service and the final bill were also very reasonable due to their constant two for one promotion. Definitely a good value for money dining experience!
TBM - 14 Feb 2009 10:26
I use this pub occassionally on the way home and have seen its demise.Now run by a fairly affable lady who has been in the trade awhile but the pub doesn't seem to improve. The meals are OK with fair portions,the service is OK but could be quicker,more attentive greeting the customer more warmly. Unfortunately this place feels sterile,lacks charm and warmth really only catering for the few locals who sit in the public bar to watch the football!
Enough said !
Enceem - 2 Apr 2008 09:30
A bit disappointed to see some of the reviews here. Had a great Sunday Lunch at this pub. When we arrived everyone was in full swing on an Easter Egg hunt! The garden was huge and there was a massive kids play area. Kids have plenty of choice on the menu as well which is nice. We look forward to enjoying the garden when the weather gets better. Defintely recommend for anyone with kids.
smurphs - 24 Mar 2008 18:12
Full of morons watching football
Germansmustdie - 26 Oct 2007 09:50
THE BEST PUB IN LEIGHTION BUZZARD! the bar staff are fab!
Lou_01 - 14 Aug 2007 16:39
This is a terrible B & B, please do not stay there. After a fantastic day at the British Grand Prix, my sons and I arrived to stay the night (nearest we could find near circuit). All we wanted was a relaxing evening meal a good night sleep and a hearty breakfast. We were told we had to eat instantly as the kitchen closed at 9pm. I asked for a cup of tea, this was served up with sour milk. The meal was terrible. It advertises sky television but does not have it. Breakfast you have to eat on your bed. It was in a very noisy little fridge (cornflakes and a Danish) the mattresses were worn and they lay on a solid sheet of 1" thick wood. I moved to another hotel for a good night's sleep while my sons stayed. They had to forgo breakfast because they had to turn the fridge off during the night as it was making so much noise. In the morning there was no hot water and the sheets on one of the beds was full of holes. I would recommend sleeping in your car rather than staying at this place. The manager certainly has not stayed the night at his own establishment.
alexissoyer - 13 Jul 2007 10:57
Friendly staff, a very nice pint of a local mild (sorry, didn't write the name down), plenty of outside seating and a decent childrens' play area. A pleasant place to stop in one of the oddest-named places in England.
rpadam - 9 Apr 2007 21:35
Great pub and exellent venue for an all dayer! Also has a wicked football team, driven by a stupendous centre midfielder by the name of Danny Brazier (9")
tiger - 27 Jan 2005 11:18
my local and the best pub in the area. brilliant for live football and music.

lovely ol' landlord!!!
gems - 11 Dec 2004 13:34
This pub has a lovely garden and a fantastic atmosphere for all ages. Kids are welcome also and they have a wode range of facilities for them. The landlord is very friendly as are all the staff.
Jane Hobley - 17 Jul 2004 17:12
I stayed here in the B&B working for over a fortnight and i trully felt like i was one of the regulars. I was made to feel really welcome. The rooms are really nice, clean and you have your own tea and coffe making facilities, trouser press and tv etc.
Liz - 12 Mar 2004 12:49
The Axe is a great pub and you are always made to feel welcome. Its situated in the Rural village of Heath and Reach and has something to offer everyone. This pub has too much to offer to write in a paragraph but go and visit and youl'l see for your self. Its great for anyone of any age.
Steph - 9 Mar 2004 13:09
The Axe and Compass is a friendly, family pub with a large playground, giant chess board, large garden, pool table, football table, golf machine, games machines and fruit machine. There are over 5 televisons and 2 big screens, one you are able to sit in the garden and watch for sports! In the summer the landlord often has live music in the garden and get the BBQ going. There really is something for everyone. There is also a very popular B&B and all residents are made to feel welcome.
Nigel Trevor - 9 Mar 2004 13:06
A friendly pub in a rural village five miles from Leighton Buzzard. It also offers, bed and breakfast.

A great place for newcomers and regulars alike.
GLEN MANEY - 19 Mar 2003 17:27

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