A drink in a welcoming pub is a great way to end a walk in the countryside. The Northern Echo's walks correspondent Mark Reid lists some of his favourites.

Winter is a great time to be out and about exploring the hills and valleys of Northern England and there is nowhere better to rest and recuperate after an exhilarating winter walk than a cosy village pub. What sets a great country pub apart is that once sat down with your drink you want to stay there all afternoon.


Egton Bridge, North Yorkshire: (01947) 895245

One of the prettiest villages in the North York Moors, Egton Bridge is also one of the most famous Catholic parishes in the country and is known as the "Village Missed by the Reformation". Set amongst lawns and mature trees beside the River Esk, the 18th century Horseshoe Hotel has an idyllic location with stepping stones leading from beside the pub across the river, which are exciting to say the least after heavy rain. The bar retains a great deal of character with wooden settles and an open fire where you can enjoy delicious home-cooked food.


Lastingham, North Yorkshire: (01751) 417247

This unspoilt 17th century pub is situated in the attractive village of Lastingham on the southern fringes of the North York Moors, and boasts a superb cast-iron range that dominates the cosy bar. Across the road is the historic St Mary's Church with its unique Norman crypt. Back in the 18th century the Rev Jeremiah Carter, the local curate, was paid a stipend of only £20 a year with which to support his 13 children so, to make ends meet, his wife ran the Blacksmith's Arms. To encourage people to attend services, Jeremiah would play his fiddle at the pub to the delight of the customers who would dance away the afternoon, but much to the disdain of the Archdeacon.


Muker, Swaledale, North Yorkshire: (01748) 886297

The Farmers Arms stands at the heart of the thriving village of Muker, set in some of the most spectacular countryside in England with the towering fells and deep valleys of Upper Swaledale all around. This breathtaking landscape makes for excellent walking country and the pub provides the perfect place to end up for a reviving drink after a long winter walk with its open fire, beams and a 'walker friendly' stone-flagged floor. This unpretentious old country inn is a superb example of a traditional Dales' pub with a convivial mix of locals and walkers enjoying well-kept ales and hearty home-cooked meals.


Askrigg, Wensleydale, North Yorkshire: (01969) 650298

Askrigg is an elegant village set amongst the rolling hills of Upper Wensleydale with the flat-topped Addlebrough forming a distinctive backdrop above the rooftops. Tucked away at the top of the sweeping main street, the Crown Inn is a fine example of how a country pub should be, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere, lively conversation and excellent home-cooked food. The pub dates back to the late 18th century when a house on this site was converted into an inn. By 1840 it had become known as the Blacksmith's Arms, after a blacksmith's shop which had been built behind the pub, but by 1867 it had been renamed again as the Crown Inn. It retains a genuine 'village pub' atmosphere with three distinct drinking areas, including the darts room, formerly the stables, a small snug with a large cast-iron range and the main bar warmed by an open coal fire.


Seahouses, Northumberland: (01665) 720200

The Olde Ship Hotel is an absolute gem of a pub with a very distinct 'nautical theme' - it's like being onboard ship. Inside, it is a treasure chest of seafaring memorabilia with several rooms packed full of nautical knick-knacks - even the wooden floor is made from a ship's deck, just make sure you bring your 'sea legs'. The walk along the glorious golden strand between Seahouses and Bamburgh is one of the finest coastal walks in Britain.


Blanchland, Northumberland: (01434) 675251.

Walk through Blanchland and you step back in time, for this picturesque village is built upon the foundations of a Premonstratensian Abbey. In the heart of the village is the Lord Crewe Arms, originally built as the Abbot's lodgings - the beer garden was the cloisters. It is a pub of great character with a stone-vaulted crypt bar, haunted bedrooms and a huge inglenook fireplace, complete with a priest hole where Tom Forster, the famous Jacobite rebel, hid before he escaped to France during the 1715 Uprising.


Greta Bridge, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham: (01833) 627232

The Morritt Arms developed as an important coaching inn along the busy trans-Pennine route. The London to Carlisle stagecoach regularly called at the Morritt Arms and it still retains a wonderful atmosphere with roaring fires warming the many bars and lounges, offering a glimpse of what it would have been like for wealthy travellers during the coaching era. This was where Charles Dickens stayed while researching his book, Nicholas Nickleby, in the 1830s. Tucked away to the rear is the Dickens Bar famed for its lively and colourful murals of dancing ladies and prancing gentlemen which were painted in the 1940s by John Gilroy, famed for his now-classic Guinness advertisements.


Romaldkirk, Teesdale, Co. Durham: (01833) 650213

AN award-winning pub which overlooks the sprawling village green at the heart of Romaldkirk, one of the most attractive villages in Teesdale with old stone cottages set irregularly around a large green and the tower of the stoutly-built Saxon church rising above the rooftops. The Rose and Crown dominates the scene, built in 1733 as a coaching inn on the old road between Barnard Castle and Alston. The layout of the Georgian inn has not been lost with a small front bar warmed by a roaring fire, dining rooms and a residents' lounge.

Mark Reid is the author of The Inn Way series of guidebooks