IN 2019, Feldon Valley went from just a golf course to a fully-operational hotel and restaurant which received praise from the national media. Our own Michael Purton stayed there and was impressed by the transformation.

Last year, the north Cotswold golf club in Lower Brailes, near Banbury, concluded a multi-million pound transformation, adding a new development of lodges and bedrooms, a destination restaurant and gym facilities to the respected 18-hole course.

Feldon now boasts 25 bedrooms set amidst the rolling countryside and a restaurant overseen by award-winning chef Darren Brown.

Since opening, the new lodges and hotel rooms have attracted visitors from across the UK. The venue has been praised in the national media. The Times said the restaurant’s balcony was one of the best alfresco dining places in the UK, and Sun Travel reported that ‘the mouth-watering menu is as local and seasonal as it gets’.

When I stayed there it was easy to see why the venue has been received so well. Firstly, the view across the golf course and to the countryside beyond is stunning, while the accommodation was first class.

There's a Main Lodge with 13 rooms, but I stayed in one of the four individual lodges which are reached via a raised boardwalk through the woodland at the edge of the golf course. These lodges have a Scandinavian charm, with wood panels and floor-to-ceiling windows, and offer large comfortable beds, a sitting room and kitchen, and spacious bathroom. They were perfect for a relaxing weekend break.

During the development, an abundance of tree species were planted and 66 bird boxes installed to encourage the location’s rich owl and bat habitat, and there was a real feel of being in the heart of nature during our stay there, despite the golfers out on the course.

Feldon prides itself on using the region’s producers and suppliers for food – including Paddock Farm in Brailes, Cotswold Distillery in Stourton, A M Bailey fruit and veg from Stratford and meat from the SaltPig Curing Company from Chipping Norton – and you could taste the freshness.

For dinner, in the beautiful new restaurant, I chose the Ceviche of Orkney scallop with squid, cucumber and fennel (£11) to start, with a main of Paddock Farm Tamworth pork fillet & cheek with onion, cavolo nero and gherkin (£20), and then a dessert of apple crumble soufflé with apple sorbet (£7), all washed down with a Pearson’s cider (£5). Everything was perfect, from start to finish, with fantastic flavour and presentation, and the staff were attentive without being pushy.

Feldon has also worked to cross-promote local tourism and retail businesses. Collaborations to date include ‘Ginner’ – a supper club event in partnership with the Cotswold Distillery – and the most recent winter supper that headlined Rollright cheese and Brailes honey.

David King, general manager, said: “2019 was an exciting time as we brought more and more of the property to life. We’ve been well received nationally and we want more locals to come and visit whether it’s for lunch, supper or a sundowner.

"We want everyone in the vicinity to be as proud of what we’ve created as we are and in turn support local business and employment.”

After our stay there, I have nothing but praise for Feldon Valley and would highly recommend a weekend break there.

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