A landscape shaped by, what geologists think are, collapsed caves and ancient trees. The floor of the forest and the walls around covered with mosses and ferns, which add to the mystery.
When I first heard about Puzzlewood it immediately went on our bucket list. Especially after our visit to Belsay’s mystical gardens it was somewhere I wanted our adventures to take us soon.
Puzzlewood isn’t just about the woods though: there are animals, an indoor play area and a structured playground too. There’s a café and a willow maze. On our visit we spent little time enjoying these, but headed straight into the forest.
Then off we went, into the spooky forest.
There is no map, there are no signs.
Will we make it out? Will we find our way?
The paths criss-cross each other, go up and down
Some lower areas have big dinosaur footprint stepping blocks (practical against the mud and fun).
Lots of the paths have rustic wooden rails.
We found a crocodile, but it was busy camouflaging itself from the people having a picnic on it.
We waited for one another, hiding around the corner on the hidden bench, sneaking a quick snack as we informed the people passing by that we were hiding the hidden bench.
We surveyed the land from one of the look outs and others looked down on us:
And crossed above treacherous lands filled with evil gremlins on the skybridge.
There was a door, locked and dubious! Hugo and Angelina ran away,
We spotted some movement in the undergrowth: it was a busy-body elf wearing a vole camouflage. As we perched on some steps it scurried back and forth. I could just imagine it uttering words of urgency like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.
The fairies couldn’t hide their fun fair in the trees. Angelina spotted it a mile away. And they thought the long moss wouldn’t give it away!
Along the way we even found the fairydust mine, all sparkly and shimmering with light green fairydust. (I wish a photo could give back the fascinating sight!) It took some persuasion from me that we mustn’t touch it or else it may loose its magical powers.
Well this troll didn’t camouflage itself too well, but it sure did stay very still,
as did the others pretending to be boulders.
This truly is a magical land, where children’s imagination runs wild, while they (and you after them) run up and down paths, steps, over dinosaur footprints, into dead ends and back.
We spent a good 3 hours exploring the woods and playing make-believe. It was fantastic!
Where have you been where you felt the buzz of magic and mystery around you?
A family ticket costs £22 and annual tickets are available if you plan to go back. It is easy to spend a leisurely day here with a picnic, exploring the woods, petting the animals, whizzing around inside on some play tractors. On rainy days you can escape to the indoor play barns.
The paths are well tended, but Puzzlewood is a natural environment and can get slippery when raining or wet. Make sure you have good footwear- walking boots, wellies with good treads or other sturdy shoes.
Parking is free on site.
Access is not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs. We took our toddler carrier backpack, though Max had no interest at all in sitting in it. It was all too exciting.
For more details about Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean, pop over to their website: http://www.puzzlewood.net/
We stayed in the Forest of Dean at the nearby campsite, Bracelands, a Camping in the Forest site. (Our experiences there to come)
If you are ever stuck for inspiration for some outdoor fun pop over to some other blogs writing about their big and small adventures on #Countrykids: