The Barge Inn @ Honeystreet

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On the canalside at Honeystreet – caught in the steady gaze of the Alton Barnes white horse – sits the Barge Inn (01672 851705,, possibly the only pub in the country endorsed by Camra, the Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute and the Rolling Stones. Once a regular watering hole of the Troggs' late singer-songwriter, Reg Presley, the Barge is a hub for alien watchers, croppies (crop circle makers) and connoisseurs of mildly hallucinogenic ales (the beers from Honeystreet Ales pour in regulation nut-brown and at-your-own-peril bright green). Beneath a vast psychedelic folk art ceiling – "the Sistine chapel of Wiltshire" – a detailed map documents all the crop circles sighted in the area.

Airy and absorbingly mellow, the Barge is the perfect place to stop and reflect on the rich oddness of the county and all the inexplicable feats of man contained within. That's without even mentioning Ronnie Wood's artwork in the restaurant.

Wiltshire’s a beautiful county and it’s an idyllic Friday evening at the Barge Inn, Honeystreet. Boats are moored on the canal that runs past the pub, there’s a White Horse etched into the chalk just down the road and in the pub’s back room the ceiling is painted with images of Stonehenge, errant cherubim and crop circles. ‘It is,’ one local tells me, ‘the Sistine Chapel of Wiltshire.’

The Barge indeed is Crop Circle Central – there’s even Croppie ale for sale – and circle aficionados arrive to camp here from all over the world: in the visitors’ book Kerry from Australia has written: ‘Great crop circles! Great people!’, while Miranda and Trond from Norway say: ‘Great to be back at Croppie HQ!’ No wonder an official at the Wiltshire Tourist Board tells me that they love crop circles; together with the numinous delights of Stonehenge and Avebury Rings they’re the county's biggest draws.
(Sunday Telegraph)

Featuring The Barge Inn
The Barge Inn at Honeystreet, probably the best known pub in the universe. The easiest way to get to the Barge Inn is by UFO. Exit intergalactic space at the Milky Way, follow the signs to the solar system, hang a right at Mars, and over Wiltshire zero in on the cluster of crop circles. (If you are coming from Earth, follow the canal west of Pewsey and it is the ninth bridge on the left.) You can't miss the pub. It is the one with the earthlings wearing Jesus sandals and Grateful Dead T-shirts.
(Daily Telegraph)

I love watching the hills from the haven of The Barge Inn. This old pub in the hamlet of Honeystreet on the Kennet and Avon Canal has a garden where I recommend supping a glass of wine or a pint and watching the sun set on the ridge to the north, while swallows skim over the water and narrowboats chug by slowly. ...the Barge Inn is the epicentre of crop circle activity in the area.
(BBC Country File Magazine)

Come down off the hills of the Vale of Pewsey, cross the little canal bridge, down a little lane to the pub; in front of you is the Kennet and Avon canal, while carved into the hillside beyond is one of Wiltshire's white horses. As if that's not enough, this is the HQ of the crop circle fraternity: pick up the latest crop circle magazine and chat about last week's geometric design with enthusiasts at the bar. We love the landlord because Adrian Potts provides a meeting place for a truly disparate bunch. Meet the locals. Some are campers from the field behind, others have hopped off a narrow boat, still others are here to discuss the Mayan prophecies and alien messages contained in the area's crop circles. Allegedly.
(The Guardian)

Last summer as I was walking west along the Devizes-Newbury stretch of the Kennet and Avon canal, I came across quite a peculiar pub perched on the bank. Situated in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside, overlooked by the White Horse of Alton Barnes, is the Barge Inn: the ‘crop circle centre of the universe’. The walls and ceilings were crammed with an array of pictures and murals of recent crop circles, all appearing within a 10-mile radius of the pub. The pub is as old as the canal itself and offered a fascinating and charming rest stop with a refreshing pint and an interesting conversation.

The British pub is unique, it is an iconic institution as much loved at home as it is admired from abroad. This makes it rather tricky to select the top hundred or so. But, undaunted, here we present our favorites. The Barge Inn Honeystreet: Unofficial headquarters for croppies (makers of crop circles) decorated with pictures of the circles, with fine view of the Alton Barnes white horse and well kept ales.
(Jamie Oliver magazine)

Expecting a traditional canalside pub, we were somewhat surprised to find a quirky den of hippy, retro folk at Honeystreet’s The Barge Inn...
I chose sausages with mash, onion gravy and mixed vegetables. The mash was delicious – it had a lovely peppery taste...
All of this was washed down with a lovely pint mug of 1810, a traditional cask ale from the Honeystreet Brewery. It’s fruity and malty, with a bitter aftertaste.
This is a delightful setting if you want something completely different... soak in the atmosphere and enjoy it with an ale...
(Wiltshire Gazette & Herald)

Barge Inn’s Banksy Bonanza!
- 01/04/2013

Reproduced courtesy of The Gazette & Herald

The Barge Inn at Honeystreet is banking on a huge cash windfall after a Banksy mural mysteriously appeared overnight on the Sarsen stone in the pub’s beer garden. The mural depicts a dog peeing against the stone and is thought to be in protest at the pub’s proposed banning of dogs from the canalside garden. Now Honeystreet Ales, the pubs owners, are planning to cash in by uprooting the stone and selling it at auction.

The stone currently awaiting removal from the pub's beer garden.

Simon Pye, a spokesman for the company, said: “We feel privileged that Banksy has chosen the Barge for his artwork. Some customers might view it as graffiti, but I'm sure it would help trade. Unfortunately, our insurers have insisted it's removed as it’s too valuable to leave outside”.

The stone has been entered into this months auction of street art at Bonhams in London and is expected to fetch in excess of £200,000. The auction house said it anticipates great interest from collectors around the world.

Sale of Banksy's murals removed from the street are controversial. In February a piece entitled ‘Slave Labour’ was withdrawn from a sale in Miami after howls of protest from residents in Wood Green, north London, where it was originally sited.

The artwork, which shows a young boy hunched over a sewing machine making Union Jack bunting, appeared on the wall of a Poundland shop last May, just before the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. It was due to be auctioned by Fine Art Auctions and expected to realise over £350,000, however intervention by Haringey Council and MPs halted the sale.

The Barge Inn is no stranger to cash windfalls, the 200 year old tavern was previously run by a community group who received £400,000 Lottery funding. The buy-out of the pub’s lease featured in a one hour BBC documentary presented by Sarah Beeny. The group however proved to be absent minded and went out of business in October 2012, after “forgetting” to pay any VAT for two years.

The Barges' sarsen stone has only been in place since December and was erected in the re-sculpted beer garden by customers to celebrate the pubs re-opening and mark a “new beginning.”

Honeystreet Ales is in discussions with the National Trust about sourcing a replacement. He said: “Because of funding cuts the NT are considering selling some of the Avebury stones as they have too many to look after. We are hoping to have the replacement installed by the Solstice”.

Three Pints a day keeps the Aliens away! -12/02/2011

Campers at the Barge Inn will be delighted to hear that finally a solution has been found to the long standing issue of alien abductions from the pub’s campsite. On April 16th , Honeystreet Ales will be launching their Alien Abduction beer, a specially brewed green beer with proven alien repelling powers. The beer has been developed at Honeystreet Ales top secret Wiltshire brewing facility and due to the rarity of its natural active ingredient it will only be available in limited quantities. Fortunately for Barge Inn customers supplies will arrive in time for the May – June peak abduction season.

Alien Abduction beer has been extensively tested by Prof. Vogelheim, a leading abduction research scientist. He found that drinking up to 3 pints of the beer a day (two pints for ladies) gave a 93% protection rate from alien abduction. Tests also demonstrated that a 100% success rate could be achieved when combining drinking the beer with other preventative measures, such as wearing a tin foil hat. Alien Abduction beer has proven to be effective against all AA threat. The beers active ingredient, code named AA46782X, interferes with aliens ability to alter molecular structures, whilst its green colour acts as a masking agent, making it invisible to alien viewing systems.

Bruce Wallis, R&D Manager of Honeystreet Ales said “we are delighted to have this new beer available for Barge Inn customers. Since the UFO crash last October there has been a lot sightings in the area and we were getting concerned about the upcoming camping season and a possible mass abduction at the Honeyfest event. Fortunately we finished the field trials in time and the beer has gained the necessary BAA/NASA approval to start production brewing.”

Barge Inn regulars are looking forward to trying the new ale. Long time drinkers John Brewin and Terry Kemp were excited to hear of the new ales secret powers. Both claimed to have been abducted in 1997 and are often seen around the village wearing foil hats in early summer. Local dairy farmer Jim Turner is also looking forward to the beers arrival. He said” I’m going to buy a barrel and put some in the cows feed. They’re always being beamed up and it affects the yields. Thank goodness someone is taking the problem seriously at last”

Alien Abduction beer is smooth to the taste with a satisfying malt and hop aroma. It is an excellent session ale and the recommended daily allowance should be achieved without difficulty. We do however promote responsible drinking and lower levels of consumption will still give limited abduction protection, especially when drunk in the dark. The natural active ingredient is tasteless and will not detract from your enjoyment of this first class pint. The RDA of 3 pints will provide protection from alien abduction for at least 24 hours.

Circle researcher comes a cropper - 19/07/07

German crop pattern enthusiast Jozef Cene ended up in a swirl himself when he mistook a canal for a road - and drove straight into it. To make matters more embarrassing for the tourist it was revealed that he is a policeman back home in Berlin. Mr Cene had spent Friday evening having a quiet drink and chatting with other crop circle researchers in the Barge Inn at Honey Street. On leaving he surprised cutomers sitting outside the pub by driving his car up to the canal edge. One of the observers said: "We thought he was mucking about to start with."

Mr Cene, who has since returned to Germany, was alone in his hired Fiat Punto. He paused momentarily at the edge of the canal then revved the engine before the car leapt forward. One onlooker said: "He looked to the left and looked to the right to check nothing was coming, indicated to turn right and then the car leapt into the canal." Pipe welder Patrick Povey went to the shocked tourist's aid. He said: "I was sat on a bench having a drink and the next thing I knew this chap drove his car straight into the canal." As the car began to submerge Mr Cene attempted to open his door and escape but the pressure of the water forced the door back onto his legs, trapping him.

Mr Povey, 25, who lives on a narrowboat moored nearby, said: "I could see him struggling so I went in to help him." He walked out into the chest deep water and helped the driver open the door and free his trapped feet. Mr Povey said: "I did not stop to think, I just went in to help the bloke."

Police were called and breathalysed Mr Cene, who was not over the limit. PC Mark Fiander-Lewis said: "The driver stated that he mistook the muddy and dark canal to be an extension of a wet Tarmac track and continued to drive straight over the bank and into the middle of the canal. "This was much to the shock and disbelief of himself and several witnesses." British Waterways arranged for the removal of the sunken car. One observer added: "The funniest thing was that it was completely underwater but his windscreen wipers were still going."

Courtesy of the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald