West Sussex Country Pub
PUBLISHED: 13:44 24 November 2006 | UPDATED: 10:50 28 February 2013
Hidden away in a quiet corner of West Sussex, the Countryman Inn is a good traditional pub offering hearty rural food and a welcoming atmosphere, says Jonathan Keeble...
THE sun shone a warm glow across the West Sussex countryside, a defiant show of strength before winter finally takes hold. Guests at the Countryman Inn were making the most of this fair weather and dining outside. The wooden benches were probably still a little damp from the previous day's downpour but hey, it was sunny and next spring seemed a long way off.
Inside, the restaurant - south from the A272 towards Whitchall - was buzzing with talk of table manners (prompted by news that standards have dropped) and plans for Christmas. It's a welcoming sort of place with the classic sounds of Duke Ellington playing in the background. There are even the names of regulars engraved in brass panels on the bar.
Alan Vaughan has owned and run The Countryman Inn for 20 years and it's clear he knows what he's doing - there are only a couple of tables free. "We tend to get business people and retired folk during the day and then a mixture in the evenings," he says. "We keep the menu fresh, depending on what's available locally; the game comes from the Knepp Castle estate next door."