THAME'S 27-acre award-winning Cuttle Brook Reserve is just five minutes walk from the High Street, via Spring Street and seven minutes from The James Figg pub.

This makes it a perfect place to walk the dog before tucking into a pub lunch, providing you don’t mind him getting a little muddy if he jumps into the brook.

Formerly named The Abingdon Arms, having begun life in the 17th century as The Greyhound, The James Figg was renamed after one of Thame’s famous sons by the Peach Pubs company when they took it over in 2010.

James Figg was the 18th-century boxer thought to have lived at the pub at the height of his fame, when he was considered England’s first undisputed champion boxer.

This is why colourful numbered boxing gloves are hung beside your table once you have placed your order, rather than the traditional numbered wooden spoon. A portrait of the pub’s namesake takes pride of place in the front bar and photos of British sporting champions line the walls.

An open red-brick fireplace in the centre of the bar provides extra warmth during the winter months.

However, it’s pigs’ ears that make this pup special as far as my Border collie Barnaby is concerned. Visiting dogs are offered a large crunchy pig’s ear to munch while their owners tuck into their lunch. As far as Barnaby is concerned, a pig’s ear is the best treat ever. One of the many things I like about this pub is the fact that it has retained its “pubby feel”.

While the food is freshly cooked from local ingredients where possible, the menu is modest, offering good honest dishes such as home-roast ham, egg and chips and delicious pies baked locally by Newitts, Thame’s award-winning butcher (pie of the day £6.50 and £10.50).

Uncle John and I chose a large portion of their classic roast beef lunch served with crunchy roast potatoes and all the trimmings (£10.50 or £6.50), which tasted really home-cooked. Had we called in on a Wednesday this dish would have been half-price.

We chose Vale Brewery’s Autumn bitter to go with the roast beef, Thame’in of the Brew (4.1% ABV), which turned out to be a real harvest beer with a glorious golden colour and delightfully bitter flavour.