Nestled deep in the heart of the Beautiful Forest of Dean is a hidden treasure. Puzzlewood is an intriguing ancient woodland, characterized by scowled. If you have never seen these natural geological features, they are exposed surface caves. They originate from the erosion of the caves underneath the ground formed from limestone. It gives the woodland an unusual and mystical look which is a joy to walk around. Like the nearby Clearwell Caves, during the Iron Age and the Roman times, the local settlers found it to provide a good source of much-needed iron ore. Indeed, there have been many Roman Coins found at Puzzlewood over the years, so many in fact, the findings were dubbed ‘the Puzzlewood treasure’.
Many people head to the Forest of Dean looking for the natural beauty and some fall in love with it so much they may even get married at Gloucestershire wedding hotel venue the Speech House. But if it is your first time exploring the Forest Puzzlewood is an excellent place to start, as it combines the magnificent alluring natural beauty of the forest, with its important mining history – and the evidence can be seen all around you.
Puzzlewood opened to visitors early in the 19th century, when paths were put down to allow visitors easy access around the ancient woodlands – and many came to see it and get lost amongst its maze of pathways. Visitors are enchanted by the deep caverns amongst the trees, high lookouts to climb, and bridges across the gulleys. There is also a list of things that you can find whilst on your walk in the woods. One of the most famous visitors to Puzzlewood was JRR Tolkien, who visited many times and based his famous world of Middle-earth on the magical old woodland. Another famous writer who may have taken inspiration from Puzzlewood is JK Rowling who lived in the Forest of Dean, who based the Forbidden Forest on Puzzlewood. Fortunately, though for the visitors to the wood, there is not a whomping willow to be found there!
It is not only books that are inspired by Puzzlewood – it is also a very popular filming location and has been seen on screen in the popular BBC shows Merlin and Doctor Who and even on the silver screen in Star Wars: A Force Awakens.