We visit the family-friendly pub on the edge of Bristol with a country village feel

The Horseshoe on Siston Common is next to the Bristol to Bath cycle path
The Horseshoe on Siston Common is next to the Bristol to Bath cycle path

Walking through the long grass towards The Horseshoe, it feels like coming across a village inn in the middle of the countryside.

There can’t be many pubs in the Bristol area with a cattlegrid on the road outside, a reminder that cows once grazed outside this Victorian pub on Siston Common - and they may even return soon.

Earlier this year, South Gloucestershire Council revealed it is working on a plan to graze animals across approximately a third of Siston Common.

The Horseshoe overlooks Siston Common
The Horseshoe overlooks Siston Common

The proposal is that up to 20 cows would graze on the part that runs from the underpass near the pub and, they say, it could help to re-establish rare wildflowers and meadow grasses.

The cows would even have their own herdsman - you don’t see many job advertisements like that in the Bristol area these days.

Sixty years ago, visitors to The Horseshoe may well have arrived on horseback but others would have turned up by train as the Midland Railway line used to stop at nearby Mangotsfield station a short walk away.

The former railway line slices through pretty Siston Common and now forms part of the Bristol to Bath cycle path, which means a lot of customers now arrive at the pub by bike, while others make use of the Bristol Ring Road nearby.

The dining area at The Horseshoe, which has a huge menu for all ages
The dining area at The Horseshoe, which has a huge menu for all ages

For those of us who use public transport, the number seven bus to and from Bristol city centre stops the other side of the grass opposite the pub, a two-minute walk away.

Next to lanes with signs for ‘Streamside’ and ‘Bridge House Farm’, there is still a timeless and bucolic feel to this corner of Siston Common.

With its huge car park and large garden, this is a family-friendly pub that caters for all. Inside, there are high ceilings and old fireplaces although over the years it has been modernised quite a bit and it’s perhaps not quite as charming as the handsome exterior.

A polite notice near the bar tells customers not to walk into the pub bare-chested: ‘Tops are to be worn inside at all times - no top and you won’t be served’. With an autumnal nip in the air, there was no chance of that on this visit.

My pint of Wadworth 6X was reasonably priced at £4.30 and in perfect condition. The cheapest pint is Carling at £4.20 and the most expensive is the Cruzcampo at £5, which is certainly cheaper than you’d pay in many city centre places.

There’s a full food menu and also a ‘seniors menu’ (Monday to Saturday) which costs £8.99 for two courses and features main courses such as fish and chips, hunters chicken and a full English cooked breakfast.

The Horseshoe is hugely popular with the locals but also cyclists using the cycle path. It’s a lovely pub and one that still feels rural despite being so close to the city. It’s the best of both worlds.

The Horseshoe, 41 Siston Common, Bristol, BS15 4PA.