The Dykes End, Reach

Mandering along the scenic country roads, in and around the Fenland vilage of Reach, you would be forgiven for thinking that you were lost in this vast open expanse of the Fens – not so, in fact you have stumbled into a true gem of one of the last few remaining unspoilt areas around the Cambrdigeshire/Suffolk border, all within easy reach of Newmarket (four miles south), Ely (six miles to the North), and Cambridge (seven miles west).

The Dykes End at Reach

The patchwork of virbant green and arable fields, the flat open surroundings of the Fens of East Cambridgeshire, with its enormous skies, reaching down to the fertile land and the rich heritage of nearby Cambridge (with it Universities), Anglesey Abbey, Wicken Fen, The Cathedral city of Ely, Newmarker (with its racing heritage) and The Devils Dyke or Ditch, together with the pull of The Dykes End at Reach is calling.

The Dykes End sits comfortably in the delightful and well knight agricultural focused community, with the ancient defensive earthworks of The Devils Dyke and its abundance of chalkland wildlife is just a few steps away.

This unspoilt area is ideal for ramblers, cyclists and dog walkers alike to enjoy.

Cyclists at the Dykes End

The Dykes End is set within the pretty Cambridgeshire village of Reach (just off the Bl 102 near Burwell), and faces Fair Green, where the Dykes spills out into the centre of the village. The village is situated at the Northern end of the 7.5 mile Devils Dyke, which runs from Wood Ditton, near Newmarket to Reach. The Devils Dyke or Ditch is an ancient Anglo-Saxon defensive earthworks, which probably marked the frontier between the Kingdom of East Anglia and its aggressive neighbour Mercia, and built to keep the fenland communities separate.

The Dykes End is a community Inn, and was bought by the villages in 2003. The Dykes End is full of character, with oak beams and a variety of pictures adorning the walls.

The ancient defensive earthworks of Devil’s Dyke

Surprisingly many of the pictures are of highland cattle, and not what you would  expect for this area of the Fenland countryside -it’s obvious that someone here  adores these majestic shaggy beasts! Whatever time of year, walking into The Dykes End, there is something very  comforting about its cosy charm, whether it is the crackle of a roaring fire in the grate, or a barmy evening sitting outside, watching the world go by.

You certainly know that when you are at The Dykes End, you are going to be well fed and looked after, like a long lost friend or relative, by a family that prides themselves on their care, and hospitality that is so very evident here.

Sunday Carvery

Here at The Dykes End, you can just relax, and either devour foods either from our locally sourced menu, to a generous wedge of fruit cake crammed with juicy sultanas (baked in-house), or just a steaming cup of tea. Maybe sit down, rest, and enjoy a sensible and honestly priced, affordable meal (with no hidden “extras” or “add on’s” which other establishments seem to favour), which makes a very welcome, reassuring, and pleasant change. At The Dykes End, it’s all included. The only “add on’s” here, are complimentary!
The choice is yours and what at a myriad of choices you have here too You could opt for a bar meal, or just settle down to a meal from our open menu.

And if this isn’t enough, on Sundays, there is an all day, THREE course Carvery for £21.50 per person, and IF you should run out of vegetables, on your already generous plate, then you can ask for a “top up”, at no further cost!! Absolutely wonderful!!

The accomplished cooking of the enthusiastic, talented, and award winning chefs here, quietly prides themselves, in the eclectic menu, of wholesome, seasonal produce, combining a traditional approach with some influences from other cuisines, in an unpretentious manner, with the colours and natural intensity of local flavours, that are the rich food heritage to the area.

Charcuterie at its finest

The Dykes End is a firm champion of “Eat Local, Eat Farm Fresh”, and committed to the “Less Food Miles, and more Farm Yards” ethic of using fresh, local produce, and together they share the values of British Farmers in their care for their production of high welfare, outdoor reared, free range, and sustainable produce. Only the best locally grown quality foods (wherever possible) will be the mainstay of The Dykes End menu, together with the providence which is equally important, and still The Dykes End maintains, a truly remarkable competitive price. Traditional, well cooked food is very much “order of the day”.

The menu changes regularly, and seasonally. There is, of course some “favourites” that will remain.

The Function Room table buffet

We use only fresh ingredients to make an Inn-House range of our foods which we serve, from our ice creams, to pasta, and our cured meats and fish.
Using fresh ingredients is the only way to guarantee a great taste, together with reassuringly good value, and honest pricing. The Dykes End is child friendly. However, The Dykes End, kindly asks that all parents and guardians are vigilant of their children at all times, not just for their safety, but as a consideration for other visitors, diners and staff too.

There are smaller portions from the main menu, for people with reduced appetites or children.

There is also a welcome for well behaved dogs in the bar area, with a complimentary treat, so Fido and Rover are not “left out” either.

“Bob” our friendly rescue Beagle

The car park to the rear of The Dykes End can accommodate approximately 12 cars, and there is additional parking along Fair Green, just in front of the Inn. What a  bonus, no parking fees! A destination worth remembering for all the right reasons, and all in one place – traditional food, laughter, conviviality, and a comfortable relaxed country atmosphere, where time has defiantly been banished.

What better place to stop off and take a break, gather your thoughts, and unwind after a busy day, or a welcome conclusion to a tiring day at work.

Since the beginning of September 2017, The Dykes End has a new face behind the bar, in the form of Chef and Custodian, Frances and together with her family,  including “Bob” the rescue Beagle, is thrilled and delighted to have the opportunity to take the reigns of this well know and respected establishment, which has been  accredited and commended by Prince Charles too!

We will have regular village activities, such as Quiz Nights, together with Domino Teams, ·and hopefully (with like minded fellow licensees in the area), have an “inter­village” team, with neighbouring villages. The stuff communities are made of, and with the camaraderie and “feel good factor” it always brings, she said. She goes on to say that she was brought up, with good solid customer service skills, and a commitment, for the local community, which has stayed with her. And her passion for village life shows. Her Father and Mother were proprietors of a grocery shop in a small village (not that dissimilar to Reach) called Mepal, a village surrounded by hedged and open fields. Mepal was on the busy A142 road between Chatteris and Ely, and situated in a high agricultural area, on the edge of the Fens in Cambridgeshire

The picking of mushrooms, sloes, and blackberries were always high on the seasonal list of things to do when growing up she said. Another seasonal activity we used to look forward to was what we all called  “sticking” she said -this was a job for children of all ages in the village to enjoy
( especially when you could get “officially” grubby, and not get scolded by your parents for it)!!

After the harvest, and especially after stormy or windy days, the farmers would allow the children to go onto the fields to collect branches and stick which had broken from the trees, and blown down. This was so the farm machinery would not get damaged when it came time to ploughing the fields in the spring.

“Our rewards”, she said was all the sticks and branches we could all drag back home to our parents, to cut up, and burn for firewood. From an early age, whilst watching her Father with butchery and Charcuterie skills (which has been taught to her, by her Father, and which he gained from his French Grandfather), she became quite adapt to boning, butchery and Charcuterie skills, which were handed down to her.

Award winning hams, bacon, pates, and brawns for her Fathers establishment, where a little bit of France, were brought to the Fens, were always on sale, especially when the only “ham” that you could buy in the 1960’s and 70’s was out of a tin, a flattened egg shape, and being heavily salted (to preserve it), would strip the shine from your teeth!, she said with a grin. So to get fresh ham, was a new concept then, and one we take for granted today, she said.

She goes on to say that, in today’s society, with all those health and safety rules, they would have had an “epic meltdown”, with an 8 year old wielding a boning knife! But that was in the 1960’s when family and historic parental teaching was at the fore.

 

Charcuterie at it finest

Since the age of 12 years old, (and having been taught the baking basic by her Grandmother, who was, according to local word, “an extremely good cook”, and was also a culinary judge, at the Royal Sandringham Show in Norfolk), she (Frances), has grown her skills, won numerous awards, for her Fathers shop, as well as in her own right, from delectable pastries and cakes to hams and charcuterie.

My Mother couldn’t cook, unless it could be literally bunged in a pot, and boiled to death!! She giggles. My Father was originally from Poland, and came to England with the English Army, to be repatriated in 1947, when he was 21 years old. And his Grandfather was French! Quite a concoction she exclaimed.

This has all stood her (culinary and hospitality wise) with a good and sound grounding.

Her pride for her heritage is clear to everyone to see.

Since her parent’s retirement in 1987, she has continued to cook, mostly bespoke Wedding and Celebratory cakes, and freelanced her catering skills with buffets for private function.

We will be offering our upstairs function room to businesses and group users for lunches and dinners as well as offering it as private meeting room.

 

The Function Room Table Buffet

She is what you would describe as a Butcher, Baker, and self taught Chef rolled into one (no candlestick maker here!). And the French/Polish and English cultures she has inherited are a force to be reckoned with, as her culinary skills prove.

She insists she is not a formally trained Chef, but does have over 40 years of “time served” experience in hand, and for her, someone who enjoys watching the pleasures of her customers unfold in front of her. She has an admiration for the French Chef Raymond Blanc, who had no professional training either, just his family inherited teachings. Like him, she has been taught be Grandparents and Parents alike, not that dissimilar to the man himself.

And as in the French culture, nothing is wasted; everything makes good food – if you have the skills and passion to do so, which she has in the bucket load! Continuing she said, that everyone who visits The Dykes End Inn will share a traditional, warm and friendly welcome for many years to come, from her family, together with The Dykes End Inn’s dedicated team.

We hope not to just to welcome old and new guests and visitors alike, but go on to welcome them all back again and again as friends too. We look forward to helping and supporting the community, she said. Are motto is “If you have had good food, and enjoyable time with us, tell your friends and family. But if you haven’t – you must tell us, so we can put it right; your satisfaction is paramount to us”.

 

Bar meal of Chicken Burger and Chips

We also offer a range of Bar Snacks and meals, ranging from Sausage Rolls, Scotch Eggs, Pasty’s, and Lighter Bites. Our winter and Christmas Menu will commence on 1st December 2017

We look forward to welcoming larger groups and businesses, together with coach parties as well (all with a day or two notice).

We have an upstairs function room and restaurant, which can seat up to 25 people, and can be hired privately. Our well appointed restaurant downstairs can seat 25 people comfortably.

We are here to cater for everyone’s needs, and occasions, whether it is Birthdays, Christenings, and maybe a works promotion or leaving party. Your occasions are endless.

Celebration cakes can be commissioned, if required.

We have started taking bookings for Christmas groups and functions already, and have a delicious Christmas menu which caters for all dietary requirements.

Our “Specials” will be running along side our regular daily menu. If anyone has a specific dietary requirement, we are more than happy to provide this, making your time with us memorable she said.

Why not call in and say “hello” and see what we have to offer, maybe pick up a leaflet of future offers and events we are holding, or if you prefer, go to our web page, or join our mailing list, she says.

Frances and The Dykes End Team all look forward to seeing you all very soon. And what of the pictures of highland cattle, which adorn the Inn? With an exuberant dimpled smile, Frances says that “she” is the “someone” who adores those rusty coloured, magnificently horned, and shaggy beasties!!

We are happy and edlighted to welcome Chris Leeton (former owner of The Hole in The Wall – Little Wilberham) as Head Chef to our team at The Dyke’s End, at Reach. Chris is well known for his delicious, Michelin accredited foods.

Contact Details:- Frances (Chef and Custodian) The Dykes End, Fair Green, Reach, Cambridgeshire. CB25 0JD Telephone: – 01638 743816 Web page-www.dykesend.co.uk Restaurant Booking is always advisable, to save disappointments.

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