Puzzlewood – Coleford, England - Atlas Obscura


The mysterious, fantastical woodland inspiration for "The Lord of the Rings." 


Located inside the Forest of Dean near Coleford, Puzzlewood is a popular outdoor tourist destination in Gloucestershire, England.

It’s filled with beautiful moss-covered rocks, bridges, and fantastic rock and tree formations that can be accessed by miles of winding pathways. Puzzlewood, used as a filming location for Merlin, Dr. Who, and Star Wars, covers more than 14 acres and is considered one of the best examples of pre-Roman Celtic open iron mines. The paths were laid in the early 19th century by the owner at the time. It didn’t open to the public until 100 years later.

An enchanting place, Puzzlewood is said to have served as the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. A frequent visitor to the area, Tolkien may have considered Puzzlewood and the Forest of Dean when he created the Old Forest, Mirkwood, Lothlorien, and other places in his Middle Earth.

In addition to the forest, there are farm animals, outdoor picnic tables, a cafe, a gift shop, and a children’s playground in the area. Some of the animals kept in Puzzlewood include cattle, wild fowl, rabbits, donkeys, Soay sheep, goats, and Shetland ponies. The area around Puzzlewood is a working farm.

Over the years, evidence of Roman occupation of the area has been found in the form of over 3,000 coins from the third century. Over the hundreds of years since the Romans left the site, the trees and moss have grown unchecked to cover any man-made structures that may have been left behind for mining.

Know Before You Go

Puzzlewood is less than a mile south of Coleford in the Forest of Dean. The simplest way to get there is to head to Coleford and follow the brown tourist signs for Puzzlewood.

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