The Yew Tree Inn

Clifford's Mesne, Newent, GL18 1JS | (01531) 820719

The Yew Tree Inn at Clifford’s Mesne is a welcoming retreat on the slopes of the National Trust-owned May Hill. This independent pub offers visitors a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

The Yew Tree Inn photo gallery

Despite a belly full of fine local food and real ales, musters up the energy to snap a few shots of Gloucestershire country pub The Yew Tree Inn.

While venturing inside a pub you’ve never before visited can be a daunting experience, nothing could be further from the truth at The Yew Tree Inn – where the team could have happily whiled away the hours if not for it being a workday lunchtime.

But don’t take our word for it, take a look at the snaps below and see for yourself what’s in store at this – by the owners’ own admission – hard to find but well-worth seeking out Gloucestershire watering hole.

Find out more about The Yew Tree Inn.

© SoGlos
Sunday 22 February 2009

The Yew Tree Inn review

The Yew Tree Inn at Cliffords Mesne in the Forest of Dean proved it’s not the journey, but the destination that really counts – particularly when you’re stomach’s growling and the sat-nav is on the blink.

Marauding wildlife, unexplored dirt tracks and the tantalising promise of treasure marked with an X on the map – the Indiana Jones experience isn’t one you often get going for a spot of lunch in the Gloucestershire countryside, but the intrepid expedition to The Yew Tree Inn at Cliffords Mesne near Newent proved worthy of a Hollywood motion picture. Well, almost.

A series of wrong-turns, sat-nav malfunctions and a print-out of directions ignored by a stubborn driver who it turned-out didn’t ‘know a short cut’ meant that the meandering journey to May Hill’s winding rural roads – fraught with muddy dead ends, loose chickens of the most free range variety, and suicidal rabbits springing across the roads inches from the headlights – to The Yew Tree Inn could be described as eventful at the very least.

So, the rustic welcome from the landlady Cass was all the more warm, and the appetites all the more keen, when we eventually sat down to a pint of Gloucestershire’s Glory and a perusal of the impressively extensive lunch selection on the specials board and a la carte menu at the Forest of Dean pub often described as a hidden gem.

With a startling array of seafood on offer, the smoked salmon and crayfish terrine immediately stuck out for me, proving a light, deliciously subtle dish sprinkled with zest-fresh lemon juice which, seasonally speaking, is only likely to prove more popular as the weather warms up. Faced with a myriad of mussel options, my partner opted for traditional moules mariniere – and was visibly surprised when a huge steaming bowl overflowing with glistening black shells was placed before him. A total of 27 (yes, we did count them) juicy mussels with a powerful cream and white wine sauce and hunk of bread were declared ‘lip-smackingly good’ and devoured with relish from both sides of the table.

Next, courtesy of a beaming and softly-spoken waitress, came a piping hot savoury bread and butter pudding for me. Topped with a golden gratin crust, filled with gooey mozzarella and strong blue cheese with just a hint of sundried tomato, the tasty dish – delicious in a smaller dose – was very rich, and with the texture of a traditional sweet bread and butter pudding (also on the menu) I did keep expecting to bite on a sultana, however.

Smugly comparing his plate to mine, my partner’s glistening loin steaks of Gloucestershire Old Spot pork placed opposite looked a marvellous sight, topped with pretty pink peppercorns and vibrant green parsley. The two thick slices of moist, tender and flavoursome meat didn’t fail to impress the tastebuds either – with calorific hand-cut chips, vine tomatoes and crisp veg all proving a button-popping combination that roused jealousy in onlooking diners.

With no fields to plough, or even suitable shoes to make the 40-minute steep walk to May Hill’s peak, the huge portion sizes described by Cass as fulfilling ‘country appetites’ left little room for afters. What little was left, however, was quickly filled with the recommended vanilla cheesecake – a delicate, citrus-infused slice of refreshingly light dessert, as well as a surprisingly light and fluffy homemade sticky toffee pudding – which proved exactly what you’d want from the steaming traditional favourite, accompanied by ice cream.

While there is an obvious emphasis on fantastic quality pub grub – which makes the best use of locally sourced ingredients, including produce picked from the Yew Tree’s own garden – the foodie isn’t treated at the expense of the drinker. Pump labels decorating the ceiling beams proudly show the commendable choice to support local breweries. It’s hardly surprising therefore, that The Yew Tree is one of pubs on the Gloucestershire Ale Trail. For exotic tastes the bottled beers span the globe, and the selection of well-priced wine available from behind the bar and on-site shop is also remarkably extensive.

The Yew Tree isn’t your typical postcard-pretty Cotswold pub. Despite being a former cider house dating back to the 1500s, the 60s-style extension from the exterior does little to hint at the rustic charm inside – the original beams, the delicious aroma from the wood burners, or the higgledy-piggledy stairs leading to a hidden snug, for example. But perhaps that is exactly why there isn’t a hint of pretension – or the temptation to over inflate the prices – at The Yew Tree. It’s a proper pub which works hard to keep the punters – largely a combination of welly-clad walkers, families and wagging-tailed dogs – extremely happy.

Like all good action movies, the eventful voyage to The Yew Tree Inn in Cliffords Mesne is more than worthy of a sequel – with a fully functioning sat-nav, and an expandable waistline, next time.

The average price of a three-course meal for two at The Yew Tree Inn, excluding drinks, is around £35.

By Michelle Fyrne

© SoGlos
Sunday 22 February 2009

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