Clearwell is a small west Gloucestershire village near the Welsh border surrounded by fields, so this place feels countrified and peaceful even though you enter from the village high street – an unclassified road off the B4228. Until recently it was a farm and although transformation has been achieved in several stages it all hangs together. The 20-plus rooms, cottages and suites are placed around various buildings, a relatively large number for this guide considering its location but the feel is small and intimate, even cosy. Old stonework and timber has been preserved in the public areas, there are log burning stoves, country antiques and freshly cut rustic flowers.
The bedrooms and bathrooms are all different, stylish yet homely using whites, greys and greens – contemporary but not wannabee-trendy. Our bathroom was spacious, with a freestanding roll top tub and a pleasing expanse of grey ‘brickwork’ tiling.
Hari and Colin Fell, who left London in 2003 were new to the hospitality industry, but are professional to the core: they have paid attention to the basics – pocket sprung mattresses, good linen, thick towels, duck down pillows, Nespresso coffee machines – but also achieved an imaginative, unstuffy but stylish overall decorative effect.
Chef Rob Cox uses locally sourced ingredients where possible in his traditional dishes with a modern twist: a popular dish is Gloucester Old Spot pork belly. The menu has a sensible range of offerings from light lunchtime bites to full celebration dinners. It’s becoming a local food destination.
There’s plenty to do around here: golf, fishing, canoing, walks in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. They’ll even tell you the best spots for wild swims.