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The Axe and Compass, Heath and Reach - pub details

Axe and Compass

Address: Leighton Road, Heath and Reach, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, LU7 0AA [map] [gmap]

Tel: 0871 951 1000 (ref 2042) - calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras

Nearest train stations Leighton Buzzard (2 miles), Bow Brickhill (5 miles), Fenny Stratford (5.1 miles)

Pub facilities/features:

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> Current user rating: 7.2/10 (rated by 43 users)
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other pubs nearby:

Dukes Head, Heath and Reach (0.0 miles), Star, Leighton Buzzard (0.3 miles), Heath Inn, Heath and Reach (0.4 miles), Cock Hotel, Leighton Buzzard (0.4 miles), Stag, Leighton Buzzard (1.2 miles) - see more nearby pubs

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.

5 most recent reviews of 45 shown - see all reviews

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 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

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