Day Out: Puzzlewood

9 May

The Forest of Dean is one of the last surviving ancient woodlands in England. Puzzlewood is about in the middle of the Forest of Dean (or the FoD as I like to call it, pretending to be a local) and in the early nineteenth century a local landowner began twisting wooden handrails and stepping-stones through its scowles to create an entertainment for family and friends.  Some say Puzzlewood inspired the forests of Tolkein’s Middle Earth and Rowling’s Forbidden Forest. (I cried a little to put Tolkein and Rowling in the same sentence, but there it is.)  The scowles of Puzzlewood have been featured in BBC shows like Merlin, Doctor Who, and Atlantis.

And now I’ll be quiet, because these rocks and trees speak for themselves.


Near the entrance, a whimsical guide rail


Caverns and cliffs of moss and roots


The forest cat — named Banksy — who often walks with visitors


I stick to the looping, circling path, but Banksy finds his own way


Come along, then



Possibly one of my favorite photos, ever



Puzzlewood begs you to come in, wander, dream ..

Puzzlewood as an attraction includes a small play area, a hay barn (for jumping), an indoor maze, farm animals for petting (and smelling), and a small cafe with acceptable hot chocolate, coffee, tea, cakes and paninis. If you enjoy a leisurely wander through magical woods, then this is easily a half day outing. If you are in some kind of hurry, you can run through the woods like Ungoliant’s daughter Shelob is after you, grab a quick coffee to take-away, and head on down to the Heritage Centre for a busier day. (Hmm, I have no post about the Heritage Centre? I’ll put that one on the list … )  Or if they are in season, see some wild bluebells.


3 Responses to “Day Out: Puzzlewood”

  1. Jeanne May 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    It looks so very English–a domesticated forest, complete with cat.

  2. Tesni May 9, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    So pretty and magical. Going to have to visit! Off to the Forest of Dean for go ape in a couple of weeks so I think a visit to puzzlewood needs to be added to the days itinerary.

  3. thebookgator May 10, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    Wow, amazing photos! The one you mentioned as your favorite shot reminds me a little of Labyrinth as well. And I recognize that cat’s tail–it’s really the Cheshire Cat, isn’t it?

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