Visit the Gloucestershire woodlands where The Secret Garden was filmed

Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Puzzlewood's dramatic scowles, spring 2021 - Credit: Candia McKormack

If you fancy walking in the footsteps of wizards, fey folk, Jedi, dragons, unicorns and Weeping Angels, did you know it's possible to do so in one magical location in Gloucestershire? 

Puzzlewood is an ancient woodland in the Forest of Dean, which has been the filming location for many big screen and TV releases, including Star Wars, Doctor Who, Merlin, Da Vinci's Demons, Atlantis, and the much-celebrated 2020 adaptation of The Secret Garden, starring Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Dixie Egerickx.

Covering 14 acres, the dramatic geological features at Puzzlewood are known as scowles, formed through the erosion of natural cave systems formed in the Carboniferous Limestone many millions of years ago. They were then exploited by Iron Age settlers through to Roman times for the extraction of iron ore. 

In the early 19th century, over a mile of enchanting pathways were laid down to allow access to the woodland, providing dramatic and picturesque walks. Along the winding maze of these pathways, you will find ancient trees, strange rock formations, secret caves and a rich array of native flora and fauna.

Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean

Enticing bridges cross the deep-sided scowles at Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean - Credit: Candia McKormack

Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean

The landscape at Puzzlewood features many species of native fern - Credit: Candia McKormack

Along with other attractions across the world, Puzzlewood was forced to close for much of 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing. The ancient woodland, however, used the time to restore balance to its unique eco-system and is now more beautiful than ever.

READ MORE: 19 famous filming locations in the Cotswolds.

Managing director Helen OKane, who has been at the site for 13 years, is delighted to be able to welcome both daytime and residential visitors again, and once more the woodland birdsong is joined by the happy voices of children setting out on their next magical adventure.

Puzzlewood is less than a mile south of Coleford in the Forest of Dean, and just 20 miles from Gloucester. Visit puzzlewood.net to book your visit, call 01594 833187 or email Helen@puzzlewood.net 

Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean

The lockdown of 2020 allowed the ancient woodlands to restore balance - Credit: Candia McKormack

Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean

Mysterious root formations at ancient Puzzlewood - Credit: Candia McKormack

Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean

Puzzlewood features a unique diversity of flora - Credit: Candia McKormack

Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean

Exploring the deep scowles of Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean - Credit: Candia McKormack

Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean

Mystery and magic deep within the Forest of Dean - Credit: Candia McKormack

Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean

A curious face hidden within Puzzlewood's rock formations? - Credit: Candia McKormack

Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean

In spring, the scent of wild garlic is heady on the air - Credit: Candia McKormack

SUBSCRIBE: To Cotswold Life for more inspiration of beautiful places to visit.

Most Read

Comments powered by Disqus