In the heart of the wonderful Forest of Dean is a very special forest called Puzzlewood. This is a natural ancient woodland with safe trails for exploring. It’s so magical it’s featured as a backdrop for a whole host of movies and TV shows, including Doctor Who and Star Wars, and once you get there it’s easy to see why – it’s very otherworldly.
We visited Puzzlewood as a socially distanced day out whilst having a weekend at the camping and glamping site of Whitemead Forest Park (read my review if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in the Forest of Dean!), which is about 10 minutes drive away, so very convenient. With covid restrictions we were looking for an outside attraction with plenty of space and Puzzlewood ticked every box. We visited with a three and a half year old.
The trails at Puzzlewood are not suitable for pushchairs, but you can leave them at the entrance. The trails are uneven and there are quite a few steps and rocky pathways, so I’d say it’s not really suitable for those with serious mobility problems, but if you have a newborn you could definitely do it with them in a sling. The total trail is about a mile and a half, but there are several shortcuts if you decide not to go all the way around – or want to go around more than once but not the whole way.
In addition to the beautiful forest, there are a few animals such as ponies and donkeys, goats, cattle, ducks, chickens and rabbits. It adds half hour to the day.
There’s plenty of picnic tables, a shop and a cafe which was only open for takeaway. The toilets were clean and well managed. You could stretch out the time spent here if you had lunch, but I’d allow half a day at most.
Car parking on site is plentiful and we went first thing at opening and there were only a few cars in the car parks. We spent about 2 and a half hours here and the car park was filling up and there was a queue for entry when we left. During covid you need to pre-book tickets in advance and everything is well managed to ensure you’re socially distant. It’s still important to keep a good stock of disposable masks in the car when you’re heading on a day out, you never know when you may need to stop for food or toilets, or even go through a crowded space to get to where you want to go. I find buying them online from shops like Facemasks UK in advance the easiest way to make sure you’re covered.
We had a fantastic day and can’t wait for more days out post lockdown.