June 29, 2022

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Hidden cafe at Lickey Hills near Longbridge where the ducks are friendlier than the staff – Alison Brinkworth

If you are wondering how to find this hidden little cafe in the scenic Lickey Hills, just follow the ducks. It’s called the Duck Pond Cafe for good reason as it’s in an ideal retreat opposite the water and close to an adorable wooden triangular duck house.

Right on the border between Longbridge and Rednal in Worcestershire, the cafe is tucked away behind the Rose & Crown pub and Lickey Hill Golf Course. The cafe doubles up as the golfers’ Clubhouse, but on the public side, it’s busily selling breakfast sandwiches, pies, coffees and even duck food for 70p.

While you can glimpse the comfy indoor seating on the other side, don’t dare ask if you can sit there. New to the place, I ignorantly asked if that was where we could take our food and drinks and got a gruff answer back. “That’s for golfers only,” the sharp server barked back.

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I swear I heard a ‘humpff’ straight after, but maybe she gets asked it all the time. The service was a little gruff with everyone, I noticed, and this isn’t the place for small talk and a smile. But who needs it with the stunning surroundings and those friendly birds?

This public side of the cafe is geared mainly towards takeout. There’s a hatch to order and just a couple of stools at a breakfast bar looking out at the view.

There’s plenty of benches and picnic tables outside, which are ideal for al fresco dining, as long as it’s not raining. The ducks are very tame and came along to peruse what was on our menu of the day, but they weren’t in any way aggressive or bothersome.



A cafe in a beautiful location

Follow signs for Lickey Hills Golf Course and it will take you to the free car park next to the cafe off Rose Hill. It’s set at the foot of the Lickey Hills, at the bottom of Beacon Hill to be more exact.

There’s the duck pond and a pretty stream with water cascading down the hill. Paths take you higher up among the trees, so there are a lot of dog walkers around for a stroll.

Many people use the cafe to get a takeaway tea and coffee to enjoy while they walk.

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Food at the Duck Pond Cafe

There is a wide menu (for people and animals). Along with the duck food, you can also get dog chews for 25p or water for free for your pet. There’s everything from an All Day Breakfast for £7.15 to baguettes, baked potatoes and even fresh homemade soup for £2.85.

Pies seem to be a specialty, so we put two of them to the test with gourmet fries. They were the Lickey 2 Meater containing chunks of chicken and ham in a “white sauce” and the veggie option of Broccoli and Stilton, both costing £4.95 for the pie along or £6.95 as a meal deal with the fries.

From the extensive drinks menu of hot and cold offerings, I got a latte for £2.85 that was frothily soothing and hot to warm me up while sitting outside. Everything from hot chocolate to expresso, flat white, americano or plain old tea is available too.



Pie and chips at the Duck Pond Cafe at the Lickey Hills
Pie and chips at the Duck Pond Cafe at the Lickey Hills

Cooked fresh, the homemade pies and fries turned up in a takeaway box about 10 minutes later. The buttery pastry on both crumbled deliciously in the mouth. While the flavours were spot on, especially the cheesiness in the stilton pie, there wasn’t quite enough sauce inside either, making them seem a little dry.

The real highlight was the excellent fries – the best I’ve tasted in a long time, putting even McDonald’s to shame. They were named “Gourmet Fries” and they really were just that.

Slightly crisp but with enough fluffiness inside to taste the soft potato. Freshly cooked, steaming hot and not too greasy either. Absolutely delicious.

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Service

Don’t expect service with a smile or any chit-chat from behind the counter. That said, the server is efficient and makes everything fresh and promptly.

Although enchanted to be surrounded by the quacks of the waddling birds, I didn’t expect the ducks to end up being friendlier than the brusque server behind the counter. But the serene landscape made up for any abrupt conversation in the cabin.

Prices at the Duck Pond Cafe

It’s good quality products that are sold at an average price, so it seems fair. A cup of tea is £1.55, americano is £2.45 while more extravagant hot drinks like a latte and hot chocolate or cappuccino are £2.85.



Scenery next to the Duck Pond cafe at Lickey Hills
Scenery next to the Duck Pond cafe at Lickey Hills

Food-wise, pies for £4.95 and the large portion of gourmet fries for £2 are fair, as they are homemade and so delicious. Filled baked potatoes are sold for £5.99.

The only thing slightly out of kilter and more expensive than normal were the baguettes. A Coronation Chicken baguette costs £6.85 while a Roasted Mediterranean Veg and Pesto version is £6.50 with no sides.

Verdict

It’s a real mixed bag of highs and lows for this cafe, reflected in the rating. On one hand, they serve up five-star fries and delicious coffees in wonderfully scenic surroundings.

On the other, the customer service could do with a bit of work and it’s not ideal for a rainy day as there is not much seating inside – unless you are a member of the golf club(but don’t ask about that).

The prices are fair and about average and I’d happily go back, especially on a summer’s day to the lovely surroundings. After all, I know the ducks will happily welcome me back.

Duck Pond Cafe, Rose Hill, Lickey Hills, Rednal, B45 8RT.