out of 10
Highlands cottage is a really super cottage that we cannot recommend highly enough because we had such a wonderful time there. It is well looked after and very comfortable and is a really lovely, old, quaint and cosy cottage, that is situated in the gorgeous village of Clearwell, which is close to the Wye valley and within the Forest of Dean.
Clearwell was a lovely place to be based and is a beautiful, quiet, old-fashioned village, which feels a bit like you are stepping back in time and is very picturesque and unspoilt and has remained largely unchanged by the passage of time. It has a lovely Victorian church and an old market cross, and also has two very nice traditional pubs and the amazing Clearwell Castle, which is an early eighteenth century gothic style castle, that has now become an upmarket hotel and where there was once a recording studio used by some of the most famous rock bands of the 1970s and 80s. The landscape around Clearwell is really pretty because it is surrounded by hills, so there are probably some good country walks within the immediate vicinity of the cottage, and although Clearwell is quite a small village, there are some really interesting tourist attractions based there. At the edge of the village we found the Clearwell caves, which had been an old mining area, but nowadays the large caverns there can be explored and are sometimes used as film locations and also for television series like Merlin and Doctor Who. Quite close to Clearwell village, we discovered two fascinating places called the Secret Forest and Puzzlewood, which are amazing areas of very old, tangled and moss-laden woodland that are very atmospheric and have also been used as locations for films like Star Wars, and also for television. Rockfield studios are situated not that far from Clearwell, in some old farm buildings in a quiet area just outside Monmouth, and is an amazing place where groups like Coldplay, Oasis, the Manic Street Preachers and the Stone Roses and artists like Paul Weller and Annie Lennox have recorded. So Clearwell and the Monmouth area are also really interesting for having been associated with and having generated some of the really great sounds and music of the last few decades.
We were really delighted with the scenery that we found near to Clearwell and the whole area around the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley is really amazing and has an outstandingly beautiful natural landscape and is surrounded by wonderful high forested hills and spectacular rocky outcrops and cliffs, and has lots of fantastic forest and stunning, tranquil river side trails to explore. Near to Clearwell, we found wonderful historic towns to visit like Chepstow and Monmouth and the book town at Hay-on-Wye, and we also discovered a number of amazing medieval castles, which are really beautifully situated in lovely rural landscapes and amongst some of the really picturesque old villages and towns along the English and Welsh border. The wonderful Brecon Beacons area was not too far from the cottage and is really beautiful and has a really amazing and magnificent mountain landscape to explore.
Highlands cottage is near the centre of Clearwell village and is a really lovely old eighteenth century stone property, which is very pretty and feels very countrified and rural, and although it is situated on the main high street of Clearwell village, it has a really nice, quiet, peaceful and tranquil setting. We thought the accommodation at Highlands cottage was of a very good standard and although the cottage was very cosy and quaint, it had plenty of space and excellent facilities. It has a really nice, pleasant, good-sized modern kitchen, which is very well equipped and also has a lovely conservatory, two very nice bedrooms, two bathrooms and a downstairs toilet- all of them were really well presented and were very clean. The front sitting room of the cottage was full of character and felt very rural and old and of its time and had a beamed ceiling and some lovely original features. It was styled in keeping with the age and period of the cottage and was very cosy and full of country charm. It had been nicely furnished by the owner and had a small pretty antique-style chest of drawers, two very comfortable sofas and had a good- sized television, and felt really quite rustic because the main feature and focus of the room was a lovely traditional old stone hearth and fireplace, which had a really old-fashioned kettle suspended above the hearth. Off the cosy lounge there was a quite spacious modern kitchen (which has a dishwasher and washing machine) and adjacent to this a lovely bright quite modern conservatory that was still in keeping with the age and character of the cottage and was being used as a dining area, and had a nice pine table, where we enjoyed having our meals, and also some very comfortable chairs for relaxing in the evening.
The two bedrooms were well-proportioned and of a good size and were very prettily and neatly presented. The master bedroom had a lovely old- fashioned, Victorian style cast iron bed and benefitted from having an ensuite shower room and toilet. The twin bedroom was also very pleasant and had a Victorian style pine wardobe, plenty of space and was at the front of the cottage and had a view over the high street and pretty cottage windows and some nice Laura Ashley style floral print curtains. The main bathroom was conveniently situated as it was immediately adjacent to the twin bedroom, so in effect, really the cottage has the additional advantage of having two ensuites. All of our sleeping accommodation was very comfortable, immaculately clean and well-presented and was very nicely and simply styled and had lovely fresh, crisp, cream-coloured bedlinen on all of the beds and felt quite spacious.
On arrival at the cottage, we were pleased to find everything at our accommodation looking really good and were delighted to receive a welcome pack of bread, milk and butter, and also a bottle of red wine and some chocolates.
Outside the cottage, we were really pleased to find a convenient parking space, which was off the road and on a private drive immediately adjacent to the cottage. The cottage also benefitted from having an attractive outside patio and garden space that was quite private, which was tucked up on the hilly slope immediately above the cottage, but which we did not use because it was up some quite steep steps, however for those with a bit more energy and stamina this could be a lovely place to sit and relax on a nice spring or summers evening. Highlands cottage represented excellent value for money and was in a fantastic central position for exploring all the beautiful scenery of the Wye Valley and had the added advantage of being near the Brecon Beacons and all the marvellous landscape and scenery that can be found there. Coleford, the nearest town is a pretty market town, that had a very nice old world feeling and some lovely older architecture and had a lovely traditional central square, very good amenities and plenty of shops, including a good supermarket for food shopping.