Standing proudly on an old coaching road, with its sage green and whitewashed façade, The Horse & Groom is a 19th-century inn, surrounded by rolling arable fields. Located on the edge of the pretty village of Writtle, it’s just two miles from bustling Chelmsford, and close to the rural Essex villages of Chignal St James and Broomfield, as well as the historic Hylands Park House and Estate. In the early 1900s, Writtle was described as “one of the loveliest villages in England, with a ravishing variety of ancient cottages”, by the historical writer, A.R Hope-Moncrieff. And on long summer evenings, when a deep pink-orange sunset casts its warm glow across the cheery drinkers in the lovely beer garden, it’s easy to see why. In the distance, walkers make their weary way across the fields behind the pub, looking forward to a refreshing pint of cask ale and a warm welcome. Even in winter, the inn attracts patrons from all across the county, drawn in by the promise of a delicious pub meal under the old oak beams, or in front of the crackling log fires. With its many Grade I listed and pretty timber-framed houses, Writtle village is a popular stop-off for walkers and cyclists following the bridle-paths and tracks that surround it. On sunny days, the local green is abuzz with people feeding the eager mouths of mallards, moorhens, coots and swans in the duck pond, while others watch the world go by under the shade of the ancient willow trees.