101 places to go – Puzzlewood

It may sound more like a theme park for intellectuals but our new recommended destination, Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean, is actually a completely natural attraction – despite looking like a set from The Lord of the Rings films.

The Tolkien connection is interesting though. Many feel the author had to have found some inspiration from the ominous ‘scowles’, withered trees and otherworldly ambience of Puzzlewood, since he was reputedly a regular visitor to the Forest of Dean.

Even without the ability to draw proof of Puzzlewood’s inspiration on forests like Fangorn and Mirkwood, it’s possibly the nearest you can get to exploring Tolkien’s Middle Earth without worrying about giant spiders and trolls, which we’d have to say is an obvious bonus. But if you would like a little more evidence of Puzzlewood’s connection to popular fantasy then you need look no further than BBC TV’s Doctor Who and Merlin, both of which used Puzzlewood to wonderfully spooky effect.

Perhaps Puzzlewood’s greatest attraction is the ability to wander down narrow paths, soak up the atmosphere and marvel at the distinct geography in peace. For this reason it’s better to avoid peak visiting times to maintain the illusion. If you do find your visit to Puzzlewood to be more like a Bank Holiday in Hobbiton then don’t worry, all is not lost – there’s still plenty to keep your troops entertained.

Alongside the 14 acres of woodland you’ll find lots of animals at Puzzlewood, including donkeys, ponies, lambs, ducks, pigs and hens. There’s also a playground for the kids and two indoor mazes. If you fancy something a little less strenuous then there are picnic benches, a gift shop and café.

If you fancy a break near Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean then take a look at our featured holiday cottages in the region today.

Pic by Andy Dingley via Wikipedia.

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