Clearwell Court was build in 1728 by Sir Thomas Wyndham on the site of an Elizabethian Manor House. Caroline, Countess of Dunraven, occupied the house in the 1860s. She built the Church, the village school and a hospital (now a private house). She also converted the towers flanking the castle entrance (South and North Lodges) into houses for her staff. Its name was changed to Clearwell Castle in 1908.
We moved in to South Lodge in September 1999. We wanted a large garden to develop but had little idea how to go about it. At that time the garden had a large number of fruit trees, mostly planted in the 1990s. The sides of the garden were overgrown with ground elder, bindweed, nettles, dock and brambles. There was a large pile of spoil and builders rubble, which we added to when we extended the house in 2002, along the West wall in front of the Chesnut tree.
We first opened for the NGS in July 2007. Since then we have welcomed nearly 3,000 visitors and raised about £15,000 for the NGS charities.
In the 1970s Clearwell Castle was used regularly as a rehearsal and recording studio by bands including Led Zeppelin , Black Sabbath , Deep Purple , Sweet , Mott and Bad Company.
The castle grounds were sold in the early 1950s to fund the rebuilding of the castle after it had suffered serious fire damage and fallen into disrepair in the 1940s. South Lodge together with two acres of land was sold to a private owner. The trees were felled and the land cleared. One large Chesnut tree, reputed to be around 350 years old, remains at the top of the garden.
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A two acre, private garden in the Forest of Dean that opens for the National Garden Scheme.
South Lodge Garden
Gloucestershire GL16 8LG