'Still a very special place,' says our most recent inspector. Nestled away behind trees just off the A66, the Pheasant was originally an old coaching inn, and there are many reminders of this within, particularly in the little old oak bar, which is full of darks nooks and crannies - little changed from its earliest days. The building is a long, low barn-like structure that has been exceptionally well maintained. There is a small but well-kept garden to the rear and grounds that extend to 60 acres.
     The two sitting areas are one of the main attractions of the place. The one to the front is low-ceilinged, with small windows and plenty of prints on the walls. The second has a serving hatch to the bar; both have open log fires.
     The grand refurbishment scheme was undertaken in early 2000, and smaller, more recent ones have see the conversion of 20 old bedrooms into 15, larger, lighter, more modern rooms. They are individually decorated, partnered by en suite bathrooms, and some have spectactular views of the fells. The original dining room has been reorganized to make the best of its slightly uncomfortable shape; there's also a new restaurant (The Fell) at the back of the hotel. The menu changes daily and is close to achieving its second Rosette. Service is outstandingly friendly.