I'd been aware for some time that the Boot in Histon was a well-run pub but, for no good reason, found myself visiting only rarely. Then, last year, we had a Branch meeting there and all who attended were impressed by both the quality of the ale and the warmth of the welcome. Accordingly I met up with licensees Margot and Paul Croucher to find out more on what we'd been missing.

The Crouchers have actually been at the pub for thirteen years. They took it on when it was part of the Pubmaster estate, subsequently sold to current owners, Punch Taverns. Margot had managed the pub before taking over and has the trade in her blood her parents had the Maypole in Cambridge until 1982. During their time at the Boot they've made many improvements, helped by Paul being a carpenter by trade (which remains his day job). The dining room has been refurbished twice and has attractive new furniture. Paul also rebuilt the bar and sorted out new play equipment for the garden. Both the lounge and covered patio have been upgraded, as have the toilets and kitchen. The one room left untouched is the delightful snug with its big old open fire and olde worlde character one of the best pub rooms in the area.

Three real ales feature permanently Woodforde's Wherry, Wells Bombardier and St Austell Tribute. The guest beer can be chosen from either the Punch Finest Cask list or the SIBA local ales selection. On my visit Youngs Winter Warmer was about to give way to Nethergate Old Growler. Paul looks after the cellar which is so small that two deliveries a week are needed.

As with most pubs these days, food is a big part of the business. Lunch is served every day including a three course OAP lunch for just 6.95 (not Sunday). Monday and Tuesday evenings are for pizza promotions, Thursday and Friday the normal menu applies and on Saturday there's usually a theme night e.g. all you can eat curry or a promotion like a casino night. Wednesday is especially good value as you can have three courses off the main menu for just 10.

The dining room doubles as a function space and several groups meet there regularly e.g. the Norton Owners Club and the local angling society. Music sessions also take place, with the Cambridge Crofters and Histon Unplugged performing each month. Bans play every Bank Holiday Sunday and at some other times. On the games front, darts, crib and petanque are all played.

Histon is blessed with a great collection of pubs with the Red Lion a particular magnet for real ale fans but its well worth a crawl, in which case don't miss the Boot.