My sister has been asking if we can have a day out in Puzzlewood for as long as I can remember, and we finally got to go on a beautiful autumnal day last September. Puzzlewood is, just like Eastnor Castle, another example of a hidden gem right on our doorstep, and as soon as we’d paid a visit I spent the rest of the week trying to figure out why on earth we hadn’t been before!
Puzzlewood is an ancient majestical wood out in Coleford, Gloucestershire and covers approximately 14 acres of land. Here you can also find evidence of open cast iron ore mining dating from as far back as the Roman period.
Many Hollywood films have filmed scenes filmed here, including Jack the Giant Slayer, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Huntsman: Winters War. Several popular series are also filmed here, including Doctor Who and Merlin. If this isn’t enough, the forests of Middle-Earth which feature in J.R.R. Tolkien’s books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are said to be inspired by Puzzlewood! Tolkien was a frequent visitor to the Forest of Dean and even worked there in the late 1920’s.
Game of Thrones fans were also delighted when an iron throne appeared in the middle of the wood in the run up to the release of the final season earlier this year. HBO hid six iron thrones in six countries across the world and challenged fans to hunt them all down by providing the treasure seekers with cryptic clues to find them.
The first throne was hidden in Puzzlewood on 20th March, however it was only there for a few days until April 1st. The clue to find the throne was a picture of it in a mossy wood with the wording “seek the Weirwood in this Kingdom on Earth”. There was even a spiral pattern on a rock nearby which matched the symbols used by the children of the forest from the series. This was a tricky clue and so a second clue followed shortly after, with the wording “put together the puzzle pieces to go find this Godswood”.
Puzzlewood hosts themed events throughout the year – when we visited in the autumn there was a Halloween Pumpkin hunt going on! There were 13 hedgehog pumpkins onsite and each one of them has a letter on its spikes. You need to make a note of all 13 letters to see if you can figure out the names of two famous witches/wizards who have been to Puzzlewood!
On your way round also keep an eye out for the dinosaur feet, magic doorway, the spooky tree, the secret caves, the balancing beams, the hidden bench, the crocodile and the little seat….all of them make great photo opportunities!
The ancient wood is full of winding pathways, beautiful trees and fascinating rock formations. Some of the ravines are really deep and the moss covered rocks can be quite slippery so tread carefully!
If this isn’t enough for you, there’s also mazes to get lost in and a few farm animals to visit whilst you are there. I would highly recommend going to visit this incredibly magical place, and if you get the chance to go in the autumn when the leaves are changing colour on a bright day with a warm autumnal breeze, this will make it all the more magical!