News Updates » Press Releases Nicky Godding News Site Fri, 25 Apr 2014 16:37:09 +0000 en hourly 1 Ball and Chain wedding ale for Alex and Alice Fri, 11 Jan 2013 09:41:44 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Ball and Chain wedding ale for Alex and Alice

27-year old head brewer Alex Arkell has been keeping himself busy in the run up to his wedding later this month to long-time sweetheart Alice Braithwaite.

While Alice is kept frantically busy organising the wedding, which is taking place at her family home in Northumberland on 26 January, alongside running her successful Lechlade teashop, The Tea Chest, which opened last year, her groom Alex has been creating the perfect celebratory beer for the occasion at the Swindon brewery, which he’s named (with Alice’s approval) Ball and Chain Ale.

“It’s been a lot of fun creating a beer to mark the most impo

rtant day of our lives,” said Alex.

“I decided to brew a completely original recipe for Ball and Chain, using four different varieties of malt, the main ingredient in beer, to produce a distinct grist (milled malt) as its foundation with Celeia, Willamette and

Columbus hop varieties added at different points through the brewing process to give a rounded, well balanced floral finish to the beer which has a hearty ABV of 5%.”




Alex says that the ingredients of his traditional ale are the same as that of a successful marriage.   “Beer is brewed from malt, hops, water and yeast.

Most malts are made from barley, much of it good English barley and it’s the base of any real ale. Hops are the female flowers used primarily for flavouring and stability. The yeast is used for f

ermentation.   Marry them together and there you have it:  Malt and hops for content, stability and flavouring and yeast to rise to the occasion.

“I’m hoping that Ball and Chain will become fundamental to a truly contented married life for us both.”

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Stone Roofs add character to a landscape Mon, 07 Jan 2013 11:26:49 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Stone Roofs

From the Cotswolds valleys to the Yorkshire moors, stone roofs represent the character of the British landscape. So much so that a house with a badly laid roof, or one using the wrong roofing materials for the local environment, stands out a mile – and not for the right reasons.

But like any other part of a building, a roof must be laid properly and maintained regularly.   Get it wrong and an expensive stone roof won’t last a lifetime.   Get it right and a stone roof will easily last 100 years and could even last 200 – 300 years.

Whether laying a new stone roof or reroofing an old, leaking roof, it’s better to understand some key issues at the beginning to avoid expensive problems later on. If properly laid and maintained, total reroofing with new slates should not be necessary.

Traditionally, blocks of stone were laid out in fields to be split naturally by winter frost before being dressed to size and shape, with a hole formed for the peg. Due to time pressures they are more commonly split manually using a hand tool. Some suppliers offer sawn slates, these are often visually unacceptable (as they lay too flat) and can cause technical problems. Traditionally split slates are always preferable.

Wherever possible, new stone slates rather than second-hand ones should be used. This helps to keep stone tile quarries open and reduces the pressure of theft on our existing stone roof stocks. If you are using second hand slates check where they’ve come from: It’s illegal to use salvaged tiles from another listed building.

Having sourced your stone tiles what next?   Find a roofer – but beware, not all roofers can lay traditional stone roofs. For instance, natural stone roof tiles should be dressed to size, not sawn, an angle grinder shouldn’t be used to cut them.   Experienced stone roofers will ‘dress’ a slate with a chisel edge hammer or similar tool and will understand that if a stone tile is damaged, it may still be dressed to a smaller size and reused further up a roof where the battens are laid closer together, which makes it an extremely sustainable roof material. Look carefully at a stone roof and you’ll notice that there’s a real art to how it’s been laid. The lower stone tiles are much larger than those further up the roof (referred to as ‘diminishing courses’).

Stone roofs are also at a much steeper pitch than slate roofs, typically at  a minimum pitch of 45 degrees, because stone is porous and it needs the extra gradient so that rain falls off more quickly.   Welsh slate roofs, on the other hand, are less porous and can be as shallow as 17.5 degrees.

On stone roofs, only half the stone tile is visible.   An inexperienced stone roofer may try and reduce the amount of stone used (thereby saving some money), but good horizontal and vertical laps are essential with stone, which unlike slate, does not rest flat against the battens, and therefore needs more coverage to ensure a watertight roof. When repairing roofs, reused slates should be laid in their original orientation, because if the hidden, unweathered surfaces are exposed they may deteriorate much quicker. Traditionally, stone slates were fixed with timber pegs (usually oak) hung over roof battens. These days, it is more common to use large headed copper roofing nails.

Don’t be persuaded that your roof needs fascia or barge boards by a roofer either, traditional vernacular stone roofs don’t usually have them, unless they are a Victorian interpretation.

Some of our clients want to replace an existing slate roof with stone because it’s more beautiful. If it’s a listed building you probably won’t be able to do it, and even if it isn’t, I would often caution against such action as the materials used on a roof will go a long way to explaining the history and phasing of the building.

However, if you do go ahead before the roof covering is disturbed, it should be checked by an ecologist for evidence of bats. It is illegal for anyone to disturb, injure or kill a wild bat or obstruct access to a bat roost. If the roof has never had heavy stone on it, check with a structural engineer that it can bear the extra weight.

Having read the above, you will realise that you may not need the upheaval and expense of the wholesale replacement of a stone roof. So how can you prolong its life?   The easy answer is to prevent moss build up.   Moss will absorb moisture and accelerate the delamination of the stone slates, so scraping off moss, ivy and other creepers will help reduce the cost of future repair bills.

Neil Quinn is a Conservation Architect and Partner at Yiangou Architects, which was established in the Cotswolds in 1981. From its base in the historic town of Cirencester, the practice specialises in high quality residential construction using both traditional and contemporary materials. The practice’s team of seven qualified architects are equally at home working with Grade I Listed or contemporary buildings, supported by a well-qualified and experienced team of technicians and technical co-ordinators. In recent years the practice has expanded and projects now extend nationwide. The company can also manage new projects from design through to building completion.”

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Hop Harvest delivers for Arkell’s Sat, 27 Oct 2012 21:50:40 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Everyone’s heard of food miles, but Arkell’s Brewery has believed in beer miles for years – and at hop harvest time head brewer Alex Arkell drives just eight miles down the road to inspect this year’s hop crop, at Berkshire Hops, Kingston Bagpuize (which is actually in Oxfordshire – confusing we know).

Alex said: “We’ve bought our Fuggles and Goldings hops from Tim Blanchard at Berkshire Hops for almost twenty years – it’s the only hop farm in Oxfordshire, and it’s also the closest hop farm to the brewery. Why travel miles when something so good is on your doorstep?”

For this year’s hop-picking Oxford pubs Rickety Press and Rusty Bicycle landlord Chris Manners went along to see how it all works – and came away with some hops to decorate his pubs.

Tim Blanchard and his family have been growing hops for almost fifty years, and now his sons James and Edward have joined the family business. The Blanchards grow hops across 50 acres of the farm, the rest of the 1100 acres is mainly arable, with 700 pigs.

“Most hop farms are in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Kent,” explains Tim. “Hop farming began here in the 1920s and our family got involved in the 1930s.”

The hop is, according to, Tim an amazing plant.  It’s got wonderful preservative qualities (one of the reasons brewers put it in beer), and it’s a member of the nettle and cannabis families.   It also has separate male and female plants and is full of essential oils.

For Alex Arkell, local hops help give Arkell’s beer it’s distinctive taste and flavour. “Unlike many of the bigger breweries who buy cheap hops in bulk from abroad, many family breweries such as Arkell’s love the fact that our beer is not only brewed in the traditional way but it’s also using local ingredients.”

This year’s hop harvest is nearly in, thanks to Berkshire Hop’s new hop harvesting equipment (purchased after the farm’s kilns suffered devastating fire damage in 2010), and Arkell’s will be taking delivery of the new hop crop soon.


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Alex has brewery over a barrel Fri, 27 Apr 2012 09:01:36 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Wiltshire brewery, Arkell’s will take delivery of over £200,000 of new beer barrels over the next five years.

Each barrel, made out of stainless steel, costs £70, holds 72 pints of beer and has ‘Arkell’s Brewery’ embossed around the collar.


Head Brewer, Alex Arkell, who took over brewing responsibilities just last month, is delighted.


“Traditionally, of course, beer barrels were made out of wood and bound by metal hoops. They were made by a Cooper and the cooper’s fire is still in existence here at the brewery.


“However, much as I appreciate tradition, steel barrels are much easier to clean, better for maintaining quality and consistency of the beer and we’ve been using metal (aluminimum) barrels probably since the 1960s.  Now it’s time for some new ones to keep Arkell’s Ales arriving at our pubs in tip top condition.”



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Haskoll wins refurbishment project on Finland’s biggest shopping centre Fri, 27 Apr 2012 08:58:42 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Award-winning architects Haskoll have commenced a €90 million project to renovate Itäkeskus, Finland’s largest shopping centre first opened in 1984.   When completed in 2014, the centre will be repositioned and reaffirmed as the country’s leading shopping centre.


Owner Wereldhave Finland is also reviewing the tenant mix for the centre. It is currently involved in negotiations with a number of key international retail chains seeking to enter Finland.


Stockmann Department Store currently anchors the centre, which has 120,300 square metres of retail space and over 250 stores.  It will continue to do so from a new location at the end of the main mall, scheduled to open at the end of 2013. This relocation allows the creation of 12,000 m2 of prime retail accommodation for leasing to new tenants.  The entire renovation and remodeling will create approximately 11,000 square metres of  additional  commercial space in a series of phases.


Derek Barker, Managing Director at UK-based Haskoll, lead design and concept architect on the project, said: “This is a fabulous project. The new design will maximise commercial opportunities in the centre and provide a modern shopper environment. Work is progressing phase by phase, a difficult job as tenants must be relocated while continuing to trade.”


He added: “This is a good example of a centre owner’s recognition of the need to rejuvenate successful but aging retail environments.”


The centre has been renamed Itis, as it is already widely known in the local community, and a rebranding exercise is  under way.


Jaakko Ristola Managing Director, Wereldhave Finland Ristola believes that a shopping centre can no longer be a static space where stores open in the morning and close in the evening: “Shopping centres are as much providers of services as social meeting places, where people spend their time in comfortable surroundings. This trend can be seen all over the world,” He said.


The redevelopment by Wereldhave Finland has been driven by the growing number of inhabitants of nearby areas Vuosaari, Sipoonranta, Kruunuvuori, Myllypuro and Viikki.


JonesLangLaSalle has been retailed as leasing consultant and Laker Developments are the Development Managers.


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Two golds and a silver for Arkell’s Beers Mon, 26 Sep 2011 15:06:57 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Two golds and a silver for Arkell’s Beers

(photograph courtesy of Chris King,

Arkell’s Kingsdown and Moonlight both achieved gold awards at this year’s Taste of the West awards, with Bee’s Organic achieving silver.

Brewery director, George Arkell, is delighted with the result.  “The well-established and highly respected Taste of the West Awards are attracting record numbers of entries so we are particularly thrilled at having achieved such a great result this year,” he said.

The judges loved the presentation of the three ales submitted, all the bottles and packaging scored full marks.

Of Arkell’s Kingsdown, the judges added: “The ale has a fantastic aroma that almost scored full marks. A good appearance with a sweet, malty finish to the taste. Overall a great taste of

a classic ale, well worthy of a gold award.”

Arkell’s Moonlight also came in for particular praise: “The ale has a lovely aroma with good balance. A good appearance with a mostly malt finish to the taste. Overall a fantastic taste.”

Arkell’s Bee’s Organic which has, in previous years, scored gold at these awards, proved it’s all down to individual taste by achieving a silver this year. The judges said: “The ale has a lovely, malty aroma with a slight hint of honey; very good in appearance and a nice finish to the taste, a very smooth aftertaste with notes of citrus and honey. The overall taste was very good, though the honey taste could perhaps be enhanced a little more.”


George Arkell added: “We put heart and soul into brewing our beers and it is wonderful that professional beer tasters love what we produce.”



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Crackliest Roast Pork ever at Broad Hinton Crown Thu, 04 Aug 2011 14:29:21 +0000 admin Continue reading ]]> Landlord and Chef at The Crown at Broad Hinton near Swindon, Oliver Moody, is claiming that his Roast Pork crackling is the crackliest ever.

“It taken me years to perfect the perfect pork crackling because it’s so delicious when it’s cooked properly – golden crisp on the outside, meltingly sweet underneath before you plunge into the tenderest of meat itself – and a big disappointment if the joint is soggy right through,” he said.

But it’s not just crackly roast pork on the menu at this pretty Arkell’s country pub. Oliver is a bit of a radical chef as the pub regularly hosts ‘Extreme Steak Nights’ with massive steak joints.   The next such night is being held in October.

Oliver and his partner Anna Brookman are celebrating taking over officially behind the bar at The Crown, having worked tirelessly behind the scenes for the previous landlords, who left last month.

“We know The Crown and its customers well,” said Oliver. “Before we were employees, now we have the opportunity to make the pub truly our own.”

And the couple intends to do this in style. In what they think will be a first for Swindon, and what they also predict are the ‘next big thing’ in culinary delights, they will soon be introducing Monkfish Liver and Cod Cheeks onto the menu.

Monkfish liver is a Japanese delicacy – rich and creamy and it has been called ‘the foie gras of the sea’, cod cheeks (which really are the cheeks of a cod) can be cooked in much the same way as scallops and are also considered a delicacy.

“I love introducing new foods and new ideas onto the menu,” says Oliver, “But I know that not everyone wants to try it out so there’s plenty of recognisable dishes on the menu for the majority of our customers who would rather know what they are ordering!”

“Perhaps I’m like an extreme sportsman – sometimes I just want to go ‘off piste’ as they say and do something amazing, and sometimes more customers than we expect come along for the ride. When we started the extreme steak nights we thought to attract just a few but we’re having to do more of them as they’ve proved very popular.”

Arkell’s Brewery chairman, James Arkell, isn’t entirely sure about the monkfish liver or the cod cheeks, but is a big supporter of the extreme pork crackling. “There’s nothing better than tender roast pork inside an armour of crackling prepared by a young and enthusiastic team who love what they do – all washed down with a pint of Wiltshire Gold or 3Bs,” he says.

So what is the secret of Oliver’s crackling?   “The meat must be as dry as possible before it’s rubbed all over with salt,” he says. “Then put it into a very hot oven – up to 220 degrees and leave it at that heat for the first half of the cooking time, then ‘Bob’s your uncle’.”

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