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Clearwell Castle: A Historic Gem in the Heart of the Forest of Dean

Clearwell Castle is a historic site nestled in the picturesque Forest of Dean, renowned for its rich heritage and architectural beauty. Dating back to the 18th century, this castle has stood the test of time and continues to enchant visitors with its grandeur and elegance. With its stunning location and impressive history, Clearwell Castle is a gem that captures the hearts of all who visit.

Built in the Gothic Revival style, Clearwell Castle boasts intricate detailing and magnificent turrets, reminiscent of a fairytale castle. It was originally constructed as a family home for Lord Palmer and has since undergone careful restoration to preserve its original charm. Today, this Grade II* listed building is not only a testament to the past, but it also serves as a delightful venue for weddings, corporate events, and other special occasions.

One of the standout features of Clearwell Castle is its idyllic setting amidst the tranquil Forest of Dean. Surrounded by acres of lush greenery and ancient woodlands, visitors are treated to breathtaking views and a sense of serenity. The castle's gardens, complete with manicured lawns and blooming flowers, provide the perfect backdrop for romantic strolls or peaceful moments of reflection. Whether exploring the castle's interiors or embracing the beauty of nature outside, Clearwell Castle offers an enchanting experience that combines history, architecture, and natural beauty in perfect harmony.## History of Clearwell Castle

Clearwell Castle, nestled in the heart of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, is a historic gem that exudes charm and grandeur. This magnificent castle has a rich and fascinating history, dating back several centuries. Here is a glimpse into the captivating past of Clearwell Castle:

Medieval Origins:

Clearwell Castle traces its roots back to the 14th century when it was built as a fortification during the reign of King Edward I. Originally known as Clearwell Court, it was constructed as a defensive stronghold to protect the local area from potential threats.

Royal Connections:

In the 16th century, Clearwell Castle caught the attention of royalty. Elizabeth I, the iconic Tudor monarch, was said to have visited the castle during her reign. This royal connection added to the castle's prestige and contributed to its enduring legacy.

Transformation into a Manor House:

During the following centuries, the castle underwent several transformations. In the 17th century, it was converted into a luxurious manor house, serving as an opulent residence for wealthy families. The castle's stunning architecture and picturesque surroundings made it an ideal retreat for those seeking extravagance and tranquility.

Role in the Industrial Revolution:

Clearwell Castle played a significant role in the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. The castle and its surrounding estate became instrumental in the local iron and coal industries. The abundant natural resources of the Forest of Dean provided the castle with a steady income, ensuring its survival through changing times.

Restoration and Present Day:

In the 20th century, Clearwell Castle fell into disrepair. However, it was lovingly restored in the 20th century by a private owner, preserving its historical beauty and turning it into an enchanting venue for weddings and events. Today, the castle stands as a testament to the architectural prowess and rich heritage of the past.

Clearwell Castle's intriguing history, from its origins as a medieval stronghold to its royal connections and its role in the Industrial Revolution, has shaped it into the majestic landmark it is today. A visit to this historic gem allows one to step back in time and immerse themselves in the captivating stories of the past.

Notable Facts:

  • Built in the 14th century as a defensive stronghold.
  • Visited by Queen Elizabeth I during her reign.
  • Converted into a luxurious manor house in the 17th century.
  • Played a role in the local iron and coal industries during the Industrial Revolution.
  • Restored in the 20th century and now serves as a popular venue for weddings and events.

Architectural Features

Clearwell Castle is a magnificent historic structure nestled in the enchanting Forest of Dean. Representing a perfect blend of Gothic Revival and Victorian architectural styles, this impressive castle boasts several distinctive features that contribute to its timeless charm.

1. Grand Entrance: Visitors are greeted by a stunning carved stone entrance porch, adorned with intricate detailing and a striking archway. The welcoming entrance sets the tone for the breathtaking architectural grandeur that awaits within Clearwell Castle.

2. Stone Walls and Towers: The castle is constructed with local Cotswold stone, an iconic and durable material that contributes to the castle's robust appearance. Its medieval-style towers, complete with crenellations, stand proudly and give the castle a regal silhouette.

3. Arched Windows: The castle's windows showcase elegant Gothic arches, a hallmark of the Gothic Revival architectural movement. These arched windows allow natural light to stream into the interior, providing a warm and inviting ambiance.

4. Ornate Decorations: The castle's exterior is adorned with a myriad of elaborate carved decorations that add finesse and sophistication to its facade. Intricate motifs such as gargoyles, flowers, and foliage grace the building, showcasing the craftsmanship of the era.

5. Tower Clock: A notable feature of Clearwell Castle is its tower clock, which, apart from its functional purpose, adds a touch of character to the castle. The clock's elegant design, complete with Roman numerals, further highlights the castle's attention to detail.

6. Spacious Reception Rooms: Inside the castle, visitors are welcomed into grand reception rooms that exude a sense of refined elegance. The rooms feature high ceilings, decorative cornices, and fireplaces, creating an atmosphere of opulence.

7. Chandeliers and Fine Furnishings: Clearwell Castle boasts an impressive collection of chandeliers that illuminate its interiors with a warm glow, complementing the castle's regal ambience. The castle's rooms are also furnished with luxurious period furniture, transporting visitors to a bygone era.

8. Landscaped Gardens: Surrounding the castle, beautifully manicured gardens provide a picturesque backdrop. The meticulously maintained lawns, vibrant flower beds, and majestic trees add to the castle's charm and tranquility.

Clearwell Castle's architectural features harmoniously blend the charm of the past with the comfort of the present. It stands as a testament to the mastery of Gothic Revival architecture and offers visitors a glimpse into a rich historical era.

Surrounding Forest of Dean

The Clearwell Castle is nestled in the picturesque Forest of Dean, a stunning natural area located in the southwest of England. Spanning over 110 square kilometers, the forest is renowned for its rich history, diverse wildlife, and beautiful landscapes. Visitors to Clearwell Castle will find themselves surrounded by a wealth of natural wonders to explore and enjoy.

A Haven for Outdoor Enthusiasts

The Forest of Dean offers a wide range of outdoor activities, making it a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers. From tranquil walks to adrenaline-pumping adventures, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Over 4,000 species of flora and fauna can be found within the forest, including some rare and protected species.

  • Scenic Walks: Visitors can embark on scenic walks along the forest's many trails, allowing them to soak in the beauty of their surroundings and discover hidden gems along the way.
  • Cycling: The forest is also a paradise for cyclists, with dedicated routes that cater to all skill levels. From leisurely rides along quiet country roads to challenging mountain biking trails, there are options available for every type of cyclist.
  • Canoeing and Kayaking: The nearby River Wye offers the perfect opportunity for water-based activities. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely paddle down the river, taking in the stunning scenery and potentially spotting the abundant wildlife that calls the forest home.
  • Go Ape Treetop Adventure: For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the Forest of Dean is home to a Go Ape Treetop Adventure. This high ropes course provides an exhilarating experience, with zip lines, rope bridges, and challenging obstacles set amidst the treetops.

Historical and Cultural Treasures

In addition to its natural beauty, the Forest of Dean is steeped in history and culture. Visitors can explore a variety of historical and cultural sites, gaining insight into the area's fascinating past.

  • Dean Heritage Centre: Located near the Clearwell Castle, the Dean Heritage Centre offers a glimpse into the industrial heritage of the forest. The center showcases the history of mining, ironworking, and forestry in the area through interactive exhibits and displays.
  • Puzzlewood: This enchanting ancient woodland is said to have inspired J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. Visitors can wander through the twisting pathways, marvel at the moss-covered rock formations, and immerse themselves in the magical atmosphere.
  • Tintern Abbey: Just a short drive away from the Forest of Dean lies the iconic Tintern Abbey. This stunning medieval abbey, now in ruins, is a testament to the area's rich history and architectural heritage.

With its captivating beauty, diverse activities, and wealth of historical and cultural treasures, the surrounding Forest of Dean complements the charm and allure of Clearwell Castle. Visitors to this historic gem will find themselves surrounded by a unique blend of natural wonders and captivating experiences, creating a truly memorable stay.

Clearwell Village

Clearwell Village is a quaint and picturesque village located in the heart of the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England. With its rich history and charming character, it is the perfect destination for history buffs and nature enthusiasts alike.

Historical Significance

The village dates back to medieval times and is steeped in history. It is home to Clearwell Castle, a stunning Grade II listed mansion that was built in the 18th century for the Wyndham family. The castle's grandeur and architectural beauty make it a popular attraction for visitors from far and wide.

Natural Beauty

Surrounded by enchanting forests and rolling hills, Clearwell Village offers breathtaking views and ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Nature lovers can explore the nearby Clearwell Caves, an extensive underground network of ancient iron mines. These caves not only provide a fascinating insight into the area's industrial past but also offer guided tours, allowing visitors to marvel at the impressive underground formations.

Delightful Charm

Clearwell Village exudes a sense of nostalgia and charm, with its cobbled streets and traditional cottages that have stood the test of time. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the village, admiring the beautiful architecture and soaking up the peaceful atmosphere. The local community is warm and friendly, making tourists feel welcome and at home.

Attractions and Amenities

In addition to Clearwell Castle and the Clearwell Caves, the village boasts a range of amenities and attractions. Visitors can explore the Clearwell Church, a historic place of worship that dates back to the 14th century. The village is also home to quaint tea rooms, inviting pubs, and charming bed and breakfast accommodations, providing a comfortable base for visitors to stay.

Whether you're interested in history, natural beauty, or simply escaping the hustle and bustle of city life, Clearwell Village has something to offer everyone. Its unique combination of architectural splendor, natural wonders, and welcoming ambiance makes it a must-visit destination in the Forest of Dean.

Table 1. Facts about Clearwell Village:

Location Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England
Main Attraction Clearwell Castle
Notable Feature Clearwell Caves
Historical Significance Medieval village with rich history
Amenities Clearwell Church, tea rooms, pubs, B&Bs

Events and Weddings

Clearwell Castle is not only a historic gem nestled in the heart of the enchanting Forest of Dean, but it is also renowned for being an exceptional venue for events and weddings. Whether you are planning a grand celebration or an intimate gathering, this magnificent castle offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

Weddings at Clearwell Castle

Clearwell Castle is a dreamy location for couples seeking a fairytale wedding. With its stunning architecture, picturesque surrounding gardens, and breathtaking views, it provides a magical backdrop for exchanging vows and creating cherished memories.

  • Capacity: The castle boasts several beautiful ceremony and reception spaces, accommodating up to 160 guests during the day and an additional 300 in the evening.
  • Dedicated Team: The experienced wedding coordinators at Clearwell Castle are skilled in bringing your vision to life. They offer personalized service, assisting with every aspect of the planning process to ensure a flawless and stress-free day.

Exceptional Services and Amenities

Clearwell Castle offers a range of services and amenities that enhance the wedding experience for both the couple and their guests:

  • Luxurious Accommodations: The castle provides elegant and comfortable accommodation for up to 70 guests in its 15 opulent bedrooms, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the celebrations without the hassle of finding nearby hotels.
  • Catering Excellence: The talented on-site chefs are dedicated to creating culinary delights that will tantalize your taste buds. From sumptuous wedding breakfasts to delightful evening buffets, the team ensures that your guests are well-fed and satisfied.
  • Idyllic Photography Opportunities: From the castle's stunning interiors to its serene gardens, every corner of the estate provides a picturesque setting for capturing the most cherished moments of your special day.

Memorable Events at Clearwell Castle

In addition to weddings, Clearwell Castle is also a superb venue for various other events, such as corporate gatherings, charity fundraisers, and anniversary celebrations. The castle's charm, coupled with its flexible event spaces, makes it an ideal choice for hosting a wide range of occasions.

  • Professional Event Management: The dedicated event team at Clearwell Castle has extensive experience in organizing and executing successful events, ensuring that each gathering is tailored to meet the unique requirements of the occasion.
  • Flexible Spaces: With multiple function rooms and outdoor areas to choose from, Clearwell Castle can accommodate events of different sizes and styles. Whether you are planning an intimate gathering or a large-scale affair, the castle offers the perfect setting.

In conclusion, Clearwell Castle stands as a truly remarkable venue for both weddings and events. Its rich history, stunning surroundings, impeccable service, and attention to detail make it an exceptional choice for those seeking an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Forest of Dean.


Clearwell Castle offers a range of luxurious and comfortable accommodations, making it an ideal destination for a unique and memorable getaway in the Forest of Dean. Whether you are planning a romantic escape, a family vacation, or a corporate retreat, the castle provides a variety of options to suit your needs.

  1. Castle Suites: For the ultimate regal experience, the Castle Suites offer spacious and elegantly decorated rooms that exude charm and splendor. Each suite is uniquely designed, featuring antique furniture and modern amenities to ensure a comfortable stay.

  2. Courtyard Rooms: Nestled in the castle's picturesque courtyard, these rooms offer a more intimate and cozy setting. Guests can enjoy warm and inviting interiors, along with beautiful views of the surrounding gardens.

  3. Gatehouse Apartment: Perfect for families or larger groups, the Gatehouse Apartment provides a self-contained living space equipped with a kitchenette, dining area, and separate bedrooms. With its own private entrance, guests can enjoy both privacy and convenience.

  4. The Grotto: For a one-of-a-kind experience, the Grotto offers a magical retreat nestled within the castle's grounds. This secluded accommodation features a luxurious bedroom, a private bathroom, and exclusive access to the castle's stunning underground caves.

  5. Cottage Suites: Located a short distance from the castle, the Cottage Suites provide a cozy and tranquil escape. These self-contained suites offer all the comforts of home, with the added charm of the castle's surroundings.

Throughout your stay, you will have access to the castle's exceptional amenities, including a stunning ballroom, a tranquil library, and beautiful gardens. Additionally, the castle's attentive staff is committed to ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience for every guest.

Whether you choose to stay in one of the opulent Castle Suites, the cozy Courtyard Rooms, or the unique Grotto, Clearwell Castle promises an unforgettable stay in the heart of the Forest of Dean.

Activities and Attractions

Clearwell Castle is not only a magnificent historic gem, but it is also located in the heart of the enchanting Forest of Dean, offering visitors a wide range of activities and attractions to explore and enjoy. Whether you are a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, there is something for everyone in this picturesque region.

1. Forest Walks and Hiking Trails

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Forest of Dean by taking advantage of the numerous walking and hiking trails that crisscross the area. With over 110 square kilometers of ancient woodland to explore, visitors can discover stunning vistas, unique flora and fauna, and experience the tranquility of nature firsthand. The well-maintained paths cater to all levels of fitness and provide opportunities for leisurely strolls or more challenging hikes.

2. Clearwell Caves

Delve into the depths of history with a visit to Clearwell Caves, which are thought to date back over 4,500 years. These awe-inspiring underground caverns offer a captivating glimpse into the region's mining heritage. Explore the maze of passageways, marvel at intricate geological formations, and learn about the fascinating history of iron and ochre mining that took place here. A visit to Clearwell Caves is a truly unique experience that shouldn't be missed.

3. Puzzlewood

Step into a fairy tale at Puzzlewood, an enchanting woodland area that has been used as a filming location for numerous movies and TV shows. This ancient forest is shrouded in mystery, with its twisting pathways, moss-covered rocks, and mesmerizing hollows creating an otherworldly ambiance. Take a leisurely stroll through the woods, lose yourself in the labyrinthine paths, and let your imagination run wild in this magical setting.

4. Outdoor Activities

For those seeking a bit of adventure, the Forest of Dean offers a plethora of outdoor activities. From canoeing along the River Wye and cycling through picturesque trails, to archery, zip-lining, and even high ropes courses, there is no shortage of exhilarating experiences to undertake. Whether you prefer a leisurely pace or an adrenaline rush, the Forest of Dean caters to all types of outdoor enthusiasts.

5. Local Villages and Towns

Take a break from exploring nature and immerse yourself in the charming local villages and towns surrounding Clearwell Castle. Discover the quaint streets, historical buildings, and vibrant markets that offer an array of locally made crafts, delicious treats, and unique souvenirs. Experience the warm hospitality of the locals and get a taste of the authentic countryside lifestyle.

With its rich history, breathtaking natural beauty, and a wide range of activities and attractions, the Forest of Dean truly complements the grandeur of Clearwell Castle. Visitors to this historic gem can expect an unforgettable experience that combines the delights of the past with the wonders of the present.

Nearby Towns and Cities

Clearwell Castle is nestled in the heart of the Forest of Dean, surrounded by picturesque towns and cities that offer a variety of attractions and experiences. Visitors to Clearwell can explore these nearby towns and cities, immersing themselves in the rich history and natural beauty of the region. Here are a few noteworthy destinations to consider:

  1. Coleford: Just a short distance from Clearwell Castle, Coleford is a charming town known for its traditional market square and selection of independent shops. Visitors can wander through the town, admire the stone buildings, and perhaps even catch the popular annual Coleford Carnival.

  2. Monmouth: Situated on the banks of the River Wye, the historic town of Monmouth is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. Monmouth is home to the famous Monmouth Castle, where King Henry V was born, as well as the beautiful Monnow Bridge, the only remaining fortified river bridge in the UK.

  3. Ross-on-Wye: As the gateway to the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Ross-on-Wye offers stunning panoramic views from its elevated position. Visitors can stroll along the riverside promenade, browse the unique shops, and enjoy a meal in one of the town's many restaurants and cafes.

  4. Gloucester: For those seeking a larger city experience, Gloucester is within easy reach of Clearwell Castle. The city boasts a magnificent cathedral, renowned for its stunning architecture and intricate stained glass windows. Gloucester's historic docks, with their restored Victorian warehouses, provide a vibrant waterfront setting with shops, museums, and numerous dining options.

  5. Chepstow: Across the border in Wales, the town of Chepstow is home to the iconic Chepstow Castle, one of the oldest surviving stone fortresses in Britain. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the River Wye, explore the quaint town center, or even attend one of the town's lively festivals and events.

When planning a visit to Clearwell Castle, taking the time to explore the surrounding towns and cities ensures a well-rounded and enriching experience. Whether it's delving into history, soaking in majestic views, or simply wandering through charming streets, these nearby destinations provide something for everyone.

Town/City Key Attraction
Coleford Traditional market square
Monmouth Monmouth Castle and Monnow Bridge
Ross-on-Wye Panoramic views of Wye Valley
Gloucester Magnificent cathedral and docks
Chepstow Iconic Chepstow Castle

Tips for Visiting Clearwell Castle

Visiting Clearwell Castle in the heart of the Forest of Dean is a delightful experience for history enthusiasts and fans of architectural splendor. To make the most of your visit, here are some useful tips to consider:

1. Plan Your Visit in Advance

Clearwell Castle is a popular tourist destination, so it is advisable to plan your visit in advance. Check the castle's website for opening times and any special events that may be taking place. Arriving early in the day can help you avoid crowds and ensure a more intimate experience.

2. Take a Guided Tour

To truly appreciate the rich history and captivating stories behind Clearwell Castle, consider taking a guided tour. Knowledgeable guides will walk you through the castle's impressive halls, sharing intriguing anecdotes and historical facts along the way. Guided tours provide valuable insights into the castle's past and enhance your overall understanding and enjoyment of the visit.

3. Explore the Grounds

Clearwell Castle is nestled amidst stunning grounds, offering ample opportunities for a leisurely stroll. Take the time to explore the surrounding gardens, landscaped lawns, and enchanting woodlands. The picturesque setting provides an ideal backdrop for photos and offers a serene environment for relaxation.

4. Attend Special Events

Clearwell Castle hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, such as weddings, fairs, and seasonal celebrations. Keep an eye on the castle's event calendar to see if there are any events that coincide with your visit. Attending these events can give you a unique perspective on the castle and may offer additional activities or entertainment.

5. Respect the Historic Nature of the Castle

Clearwell Castle is steeped in history, so it is important to treat the premises with respect. Follow any guidelines provided by the staff and refrain from touching or removing any artifacts. Help preserve the castle for future generations to enjoy by being mindful of your actions and ensuring that you leave the premises as you found them.

Visiting Clearwell Castle is an opportunity to step back in time and immerse yourself in history. Follow these tips to make your visit a truly memorable experience filled with enchantment and wonder.


Clearwell Castle is truly a historic gem nestled in the heart of the Forest of Dean. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and picturesque surroundings, it offers a unique and enchanting experience for visitors.

One of the standout features of Clearwell Castle is its remarkable architecture. The castle itself is a splendid example of Gothic Revival style, with intricate detailing, soaring spires, and imposing battlements. Every corner of the castle is a testament to the craftsmanship of its builders.

The castle's history is equally captivating. Over the centuries, it has witnessed the rise and fall of powerful nobles, providing a glimpse into the past. From medieval times to the present, it has stood as a symbol of strength and resilience.

Today, Clearwell Castle serves as a magnificent venue for weddings, conferences, and events. Its beautifully manicured gardens and grand reception rooms offer a charming and elegant backdrop for any occasion. The castle's experienced team ensures that every event is tailored to perfection, creating unforgettable memories for guests.

Furthermore, the Forest of Dean, where Clearwell Castle is located, is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The enchanting woodland, extensive trails, and breathtaking viewpoints make it an ideal destination for exploring the beauty of the natural world.

Visitors to Clearwell Castle can also take advantage of the many nearby attractions. The Clearwell Caves, renowned for their fascinating geological formations and mining heritage, are just a stone's throw away. Additionally, the Wye Valley and Symonds Yat Rock offer stunning vistas and opportunities for outdoor pursuits such as hiking, canoeing, and birdwatching.

In conclusion, Clearwell Castle offers a truly extraordinary experience for those looking to immerse themselves in history and marvel at architectural wonders. Its idyllic location within the Forest of Dean and its proximity to other attractions make it an ideal destination for a memorable getaway. Whether attending a special event or simply exploring the area, Clearwell Castle is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.

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