What happened when Ozzy Osbourne stayed at Clearwell Castle…

One of the biggest and most influential bands of all time, Back Sabbath aren’t generally associated with picturesque country houses and ancient woodlands.

However, in the heart of the Forest of Dean, the group wrote and recorded one of their very best albums. Inspired by the atmospheric surroundings of Clearwell Castle, Black Sabbath drew on the energy of the area to create some of their best known tracks.

Overcoming writer’s block

Before arriving at Clearwell, Black Sabbath had been trying to record their album in LA. The group had rented the same house they’d used when working on Vol. 4, their fourth album which had been a hit around the world.

However, even though the setting was the same, the band failed to rekindle the magic and a serious case of writer’s block set in.

Having struggled to put an album together in LA, Black Sabbath returned to England. Once home, they decided to give the album another go and rented Clearwell Castle to use as a recording studio and writing retreat. The band setup in Clearwell’s ancient dungeon. Within a short space of time, the stunning surroundings and unique atmosphere of the castle had worked their magic and Sabbath soon started writing and recording again.


Black Sabbath had long drawn on mysterious, otherworldly imagery and ideas when creating their music. This may well be why the group found their stay at Clearwell so inspiring.

As @Loudwire says, “As much as the castle invigorated Sabbath, it also freaked them out. There were reports that the place was haunted and during their stay Iommi and Osbourne saw a figure in a black cloak walk down a corridor and disappear. It wasn’t an isolated incident.”

In fact, a number of the people staying in the castle reported seeing and hearing things in the night. Ozzy himself said he followed a black-clad figure into the armoury one night only to find there was no one there.

This unique atmosphere may well have played a large part in helping the band overcome their writer’s block and create one of their most famous and well respected albums, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.

Visit Clearwell Castle

These days Clearwell Castle is exclusively for weddings and is not open to the public, so if you want a tour of the venue to see exactly where Sabbath Bloody Sabbath came into being, you’ll have to book your wedding there or keep an eye out for one of its season events. If you’re lucky, you might get a glimpse into the minds of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, and the rest of Black Sabbath.

For convenient accommodation near Clearwell Castle, look no further than The Wyndham – have a browse around our site or get in touch with a member of our team to find out more.


If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call us via the contact details below:

The Wyndham Team

T: 01594833666
E: info@the-wyndham.co.uk