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The Chequers

Ridgeway Lane Lower Woodside Hampshire SO41 8AH

This historic seventeenth-century pub is not easy to find, but that's half the appeal. It sits on the edge of the tidal mudflats just south of Lymington, down a quiet country lane, and is particularly popular at weekends when those in the know come here for its fantastic pub food. Portions are positively vast, and they don't skimp on quality either, with excellent local fish, smoked salmon salads and whitebait – though the menu features lots of other pub favourites including steaks and ploughmans. There's a lovely walled garden at the back, a front courtyard and a cosy interior, with an area at the back of the pub set up for sports TV. The pub's name probably comes from its role as the Salt Exchequeur Office from the times when the nearby mudflats were in fact saltflats. Today they make up a nature reserve spreading from Lymington to Keyhaven, and there are some superb walks nearby.

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