Julie Hicks took over at the Fox & Hounds in November 2014, bringing with her over 20 years’ experience in the pub and hospitality trades. This includes a spell living and working in Italy, where she added to her professional chef skills by perfecting Italian recipes that you will now find on the Fox menu alongside more traditional pub fayre.
Julie’s passion for the pub trade began when she and her husband helped her father – retired chief engineer for Royal Greenwich Docks – run the Black Swan, Edwinstone, a traditional Nottinghamshire mining inn in the Sherwood Forest. After learning the ropes and qualifying as a chef, Julie and young family moved to a pub on the outskirts of Leicester, rebuilding its reputation as a thriving community hub. Seeking a fresh challenge, The Hicks family then bought the Rising Sun, Bream.
This 18th-century village pub within the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire – in sad repair when they fell in love with it – subsequently became a thriving foodie destination and picked up numerous awards, including Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Forest of Dean Pub of the Year in 2002 and 2003. Local CAMRA branch meetings were also held at the Rising Sun (almost as notable an accolade). After almost 7 years in Gloucestershire, the Hicks family relocated to a small farm in the mountainous region of Le Marche, Italy, growing their own grapes for wine, harvesting olives and immersing themselves in village life. Julie worked in local bars and restaurants to learn the language – picking up Italian cooking along the way. She also volunteered with a local animal rescue charity and 97 puppies and strays were fostered on the Hicks’ farm over the years, en route to a new forever home in Italy, Germany or Austria.
Now Julie, daughter Leah and father-in-law Bill – along with their ‘little and large’ Italian rescue pooches Bimo and Rocky – preside over this friendly (and dog friendly) village pub. The Fox & Hounds offers a seasonal home-cooked menu, including pub favourites and snacks. Menu highlights include authentic pasta dishes and traditional stone-baked Italian pizza. You’ll find a wide selection of real ales, with regular guest beers. The Fox has gained Cask Marque status for the quality of its ales, and will be applying for CAMRA recognition in 2016. In addition to the large main bar, there is a separate function room at the Fox & Hounds that can be booked for lunches, meetings and parties. With ample free parking on site, the pub is located in the heart of Clavering, close to the historic church and the castle ruins. There are excellent walks close by and the area is popular with ramblers.
The Fox offers a warm welcome to both locals and visitors and hosts a variety of events throughout the year. This includes its popular twice-monthly pub quizzes, where teams and individuals are most welcome.