PERHAPS it says more about me than anyone else but whenever I enter a British country pub I always have a nagging fear that it might be vaguely reminiscent of the Slaughtered Lamb in a certain 1980s horror film.

I picture all heads snapping towards me as soon as the door creaks open to reveal a tight huddle of morose locals glaring at at me over their pints in surly, silent suspicion.

Mercifully, nothing could be further from the truth at the Bear and Ragged Staff, a great country pub in Station Road, Bransford.

Staff were friendly, welcoming and accommodating from the outset. The landlord has been there 22 years which means he must be doing something right. There is a small garden at the front of the pub which I imagine would be a nice spot in summer and the situation of the pub is one of its more attractive features.

The pub is also served by a decent-sized car park. The atmosphere inside was rustic and refreshingly unpretentious with a down-to-earth, homely vibe and a lounge area with a television and plenty of tables.

Not many pubs can claim to be immortalised in artwork by the creator of iconic Beatles cover (Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), Sir Peter Blake. But one of his works called ‘High Street Heroes’ (which has pride of place in the pub) features the pub’s Lynda Williams and Gary Whitby.

It’s just nice to see a traditional country pub that still has a heart and hasn’t sold its soul to follow the latest fads.

So many pubs become generic and anodyne as a result and they begin to look almost like it has been assembled like featureless, flat-pack furniture. This is certainly not the case here. Personal touches are everywhere, particularly in the choice of framed photos and pictures on the walls at this former Worcestershire Dining Pub of the Year.

The menu was varied, offering a range of meat dishes including rump steak, pork belly, burgers, gammon, a chef’s curry and a pie of the day. Fish dishes included fish pie, fish ‘n’ chips and scampi. The menu also presented a range of vegetarian options including a halloumi burger, omelette and two different tagliatelle dishes.

A range of sandwiches were also available, served with dressed salad garnish and a choice of white or granary baguette, sliced granary bread or a ciabatta roll. I opted for the pie of the day - beef and red wine - and I did not have to wait too long for it to arrive.

The end result was was very tasty with a generous helping of well-cooked chips and vegetables. The meat was a little too fatty for my taste but that’s a small niggle in what was a good dish overall. The sauce was full of flavour with a rich, peppery taste. There was a lengthy wine and dessert list. I chose a pint of Twisted Spire, a 3.6 per cent beer from Hobsons, a lovely pint which went down all too easily.

The total cost was £17.10 (£13.50 for the pie and £3.60 for the pint). This seemed a little steep for the food and very reasonable for the pint.

This may seem like a small point but the toilets were spotlessly clean and exceptionally well-maintained.