Puzzlewood claims to be “a magical woodland in the Forest of Dean.” As we were staying in the area for the weekend we thought we’d head over to check out the magical claims for ourselves.
We were staying in The Forest of Dean, at Whitemead Forest Holiday Park using Nanny and Grandad’s motorhome. Our annual insurance, that we got on the motorhome, for our trip to Blackpool last year, was about to run out so we thought we’d best make the use of it. Also, being realistic it was probably the last time that we will make use of it for a while as it’s not going to be very practical with a new born on the way.
Puzzlewood was only a 10 minute drive from our holiday park. Being 32 weeks pregnant I’d planned a relatively chilled weekend for us. I was hoping to spend some quality time together before our family expanded. It was also a great opportunity to get out into the fresh Autumn air and explore the nature of the area.
As we entered into Puzzlewood it was instantaneous agreement among Team Mack that it looked magical. Ahead we could see paths forking off in different directions, some high and some low. The trees towering above us had spread their roots far and wide, twisting out onto the paths. Mini said that she thought there was a witch living in the forest. I preferred the nicer options of woodland fairies.
The forest was created over thousands of years, as natural erosion occurred and exposed iron ore that is common in the area. The various trees like the iron ore and their roots grow around it, creating the magical root formations.
Before we went into the forest, Mr Mack downloaded the free Puzzlewood App on his phone. We then had to try to find 10 coins hidden within the forest. When they were found you could capture them using the app and add to your bag of treasure. We had a good explore of the different paths however only managed to find 6 of the coins. There’s no map as such of Puzzlewood so you just get to go wander and explore. Who knows, perhaps we walked around the same part over and over in a loop.
Puzzlewood has been featured in lots of film and tv productions over the years and it’s easy to see why. Productions such as Merlin, Tree Fu Tom and Doctor Who have all taken advantage of the breath-taking scenery to showcase fantasy worlds. It is also believed that JRR Tolkien used Puzzlewood for inspiration for his Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, after it was known that he had spent time in the area when writing the books.
On site there was also a café and small gift shop. Additionally, Mini enjoyed playing on the adventure playground and saying hello to the goats and ponies. Just before the entrance to the Puzzlewood, we also came across a barn with a good selection of ride on toys for little ones and an indoor maze.
We all enjoyed our visit to Puzzlewood, it was a really special place to admire the beauty of nature. It was also lovely to just get out into the fresh air and explore, it also helped to work off our roast dinner too! I would definitely recommend a visit to Puzzlewood and would love to visit again in the future, and maybe we’ll get to find the missing 4 gold coins.
Due to the narrow and winding paths at Puzzlewood pushchairs are not allowed, it also wouldn’t be suitable for those with limited mobility.
For up to date opening times and ticket prices, please visit the Puzzlewood website here.
During our weekend away we also visited Perrygrove Steam Railway, which happened to be just over the road from Puzzlewood. If you have a day to spend in the area why not fit in a visit to both on the same day.