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Puzzlewood: A Magical Star Wars Forest

Tiia and Satu (sort of) lost in the Star Wars forest Puzzlewood

Tiia and Satu (sort of) lost in the Star Wars forest

What is this magical forest that attracts all kinds of talented filmmakers? The makers of Star Wars, Doctor Who and many others, they’ve all been down to a forest called Puzzlewood to film some of their most attractive exterior scenes. The presence of green screens while filming will always be reality when shooting sci-fi, but one would think here in Puzzlewood the need for any more green isn’t so big.

When we first went to Puzzlewood, we honestly thought we were going to a place meant for kids. However, both our inner children and outer adults were absolutely amazed by the magic forest. The smell of earth, the old trees, the meandering little pathways zigzagging through all of it… Puzzlewood is truly a beautiful place to visit for the whole family.

In addition, it’s a pretty exhilarating location for film geeks such as ourselves!

Tiia and Satu (sort of) lost in the Star Wars forest Puzzlewood

Tiia and Satu (sort of) lost in the Star Wars forest

A place for inspiration

It is said that J. R. R. Tolkien found the inspiration for the fabled forests of Middle Earth here in Puzzlewood. When you walk through the gates and lose yourself in the forest (please don’t get lost though!) you can really understand why. There’s something absolutely mesmerizing about it. Something unreal, that makes you wonder if it really is just a movie set full of fake trees and plastic props. But at the same time you realise it’s not.

Apart from being a great inspiration to Mr. Tolkien, Puzzlewood has also been busy with welcoming all the filming crews for the past several years. Tv show productions such as Doctor Who, Merlin, Da Vinci’s Demons, Galavant and Atlantis have been here, and of course quite recently, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Wow. Just, wow. That’s quite a spectacular film posse.

Star Wars Force Awakens filming location: Puzzlewood

We stood where Rey & BB-8 once stood! So exciting!!

Kids and adults, we all fit in

The first time we visited Puzzlewood, there were only a handful of people around taking photos and exploring the nooks and corners of it. This time we had a bit more company around, so we all felt a bit less adventurous as we did the previous times.

The visitors were mostly families with smaller kids, while we also spotted a handful of young adults who were clearly there for the Star Wars-y reasons. (I mean, if carrying lightsabers in a hidden forest is a sign of anything, it’s a sign of just that.)

We spent at least 3 hours walking around, trying to find the exact locations of all the shows and films to sceneframe them, and mostly managed. But can you believe it? For the second time around, we completely forgot to check out the Doctor Who locations! The exact thing happened when we first came around.

Satu admiring the majestic forest, also familiar from the show Galavant

Satu admiring the majestic forest, also familiar from the show Galavant

(I’m quite certain it has to do with the Silence. I mean, they probably live here and make us forget all about th… no, hold on. Forget about what exactly?)

Huh. Where was I? Right. The forest.

Yes. So, umm. Apart from our beloved sceneframes which you will see right below this first gallery, we snapped a good bunch of photos to share with you guys. Just so you could get a feel of what it’s like to walk around in a living, breathing film set.

Our adventure

The Sceneframes: BBC’s Atlantis and Merlin, Da Vinci’s Demons, Galavant, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Puzzlewood has published a pretty cool video, too. Check it out below.

Useful info

What? Puzzlewood
What’s that? Puzzlewood is a 14 acre ancient woodland with beautiful tree and rock formations that you can admire pretty close-up after entering the forest. Furthermore, they have lots of animals (like Highland cows!!), picnic spots, a gift shop and lots of activities for the tiny ones.
How do I get to Puzzlewood? It’s located about 130 miles from London and 50 miles from Cardiff, and less than a mile south of Coleford in the Forest of Dean in England. See it on Google Maps here.
Awesome, tell me more! Well, we recommend checking out their lovely official website for all your questions and more information.

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Tiia / Fangirl Quest
Tiia / Fangirl Quest
Photographer, illustrator, graphic designer, copywriter, marketing assistant. I once traveled across North America in flipflops. I love dogs, ketchup and many inspiring people. Visit my photo portfolio here.

5 Comments

  1. Hande says:

    Oh, so stunning photos! And so beautiful forest – have to go there someday! :)

  2. Hayley says:

    I want to go and do some Sceneframing for Merlin here. I’m just looking for the Scene Caps. Did you stay in the area?? I’d like to I think. I love just walking around forests and it looks like you had a magical time there.

  3. […] visited a few of their locations: Castle Coch near Cardiff, Puzzlewood and seen above, Margam Country Park, which is a fantastic place to spend a beautiful sunny […]

  4. Louise says:

    We did see the BBC props department unscrewing some trees from inside last September. So not all is how you imagine. They had just finished filming Dr Who.

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