More Than a Pub

A warm welcome from Marina and The Bevy

My favourite place in Brighton is The Bevy in Hillside. The Bevy is more than a pub, it’s a community pub in the heart of Moulsecoomb and still the only community pub on a housing estate in the whole of the UK. 

From it’s opening  and blessing by the local vicar at the time Father John. The Bevy has always strived to put the community first.

With it’s mix of friendly staff and wonderfully diverse regulars and wide variety of groups and events. There is something for everyone. 

From arts and crafts to memory moments cafe for people with dementia to the Friday friends lunch club. Great food monthly Saturday  markets Saturday night music and the Bevy bus for home Brighton games.

For me it is like a second family. Where we all help each other out. From care packages to sorting out food from the garden and from fareshare and everything in between. I love enjoying a drink or two with one of the  older regulars who I think of as a second dad.

During lockdown they started up The Bevy meals on wheels which has been voted the best in the country. 

It’s a great place to meet up with family and friends. So why not hop on a 49 bus and come and join us all.

Marina, 2022

Marina’s story about The Bevy has been included in the walking tour at Brighton Festival 2022. You can read and listen to the other 11 stories that have been included by clicking here.

Fish Paste Sandwiches

My favourite walk from the Devils Dyke down to Fulking is full of memories. One is going from the Devils Dyke to Chanctonbury Ring with some done on the back of a pony. The walk to the Shepherd and Dog pub with my parents was a chance to run way way ahead of them and pretend I was on my own.

Everything was an adventure to me as a child: I imagined fairies hiding in the grass, made up stories in my head about children from a bygone age coming back to life and showing me the caves in which they lived (years later when I became a children’s author I never used that one but I’m sure that my imagination took root on the South Downs and by the sea in Sussex).

In my childhood days the Shepherd and Dog was a far more basic pub than it is today and I didn’t go inside.

My father would go in and bring me out a soft drink but never ever a bag of crisps as I remember.

All the food came from a picnic bag of enormous size. When going to the seaside this bag would contain fish paste sandwiches, Battenburg cake, a piece of fruit and a flask of tea. However when going on a Downland walk all I can remember are the scones and jam. Whether the Shepherd and Dog in those days served them or whether my mother pre-packed them I cannot remember. What I do remember is the climb back up the hill to the Devils Dyke Hotel which in those days again was much less fancy than it is today. I do remember my legs aching by the time we got home!

I do so wish the blackberry bushes on the road by Saddlescombe Farm were still there – indeed there may be a few left but the last time I went to inspect you couldn’t access that stretch of Downland because it was blocked off and somehow the bushes seemed so much smaller than they did in 1950!

Rosie, 2022

No Smoking, Sitting, Drinking

A drink in the sunshine with Rob

Gloucester Road / the pavement outside Diamond Edge.

I’ve long held the opinion that the Basketmakers is the best pub in Brighton, and many people share that opinion. Lots of people will tell you all about the tins on the walls inside and the quirky notes in them, but the best place to stop and have a drink there is on the pavement opposite, on a sunny afternoon. It’s a perfect sun trap, and because it’s not on the obvious route through the North Laine you’re not in anyone’s way sitting there. There aren’t many other places I’d sit on the ground – the beach maybe – and doing so feels like a throwback to younger, more carefree times.

I’ve had many birthday celebrations around this spot too – the pub gets busy inside, and people like to come and go, so a drink outside means that the party feels the right size no matter how many people are about. Of course, my birthday falling on the same weekend as Brighton’s Pride celebrations means that the area is one big party anyway.

It’s also an act of quiet rebellion – in the window just above where I’d sit there’s a sign that says “no smoking, sitting, drinking in this spot”. But I’ve been doing that for at least fifteen years, and nobody’s stopped me yet.


Rob, 2022

Rob’s story about sitting outside The Basketmakers has been included in the walking tour at Brighton Festival 2022. You can read and listen to the other 11 stories that have been included by clicking here.