Pheasants scatter across the fields and the views, on a clear day, stretch to Liverpool. Gloriously positioned on a former farm in the Peckforton Hills, the Pheasant has been stylishly revamped. The old laid-back feel has survived the smartening up of dark beams in bustling bars where pots of jasmine scent the air and Weetwood Old Dog comes from the cask; for sheer cosiness, book a table by a fire (there are three). The food is more refined than your average pub grub, and is informally and delightfully served. Our lamb rump with broad beans, radish and apricots was full of flavour, our salmon with pancetta came with a creamy chive butter, and the sticky toffee pudding was pleasingly light. Deli boards and all-day hot beef sandwiches are also on the cards: just the job after hiking the Sandstone Trail. The staff are the best and if you stay the night – why wouldn’t you! – the 12 bedrooms, some traditional (soft carpeting, sumptuous drapes, dark oak furniture), some contemporary (wide oak boards, exposed stone walls, atmospheric lighting) are split between the inn, the stone barn and the ‘stables’; go for one with a view.