Puzzlewood, Gloucestershire – August 2015

Tom at the entrance to Puzzlewood
Welcome to Puzzlewood!

Hello!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I hope you enjoyed The Husbands of River Song (2015) as well! It was an amazing Doctor Who story to watch at Christmas and I really enjoyed it, I’m just sad that we now have to wait a long while until the next new episode comes!

In the meantime we are going to hop in my TARDIS and travel back in time to the summer of 2015. Welcome to Puzzlewood near Coleford in The Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire – a forest for which there is no map! Puzzlewood is a filming location for many TV shows and films – including a little known film called Star Wars Episode VII- The Force Awakens. Have any of you seen it? I would be surprised if you have 😉

SPOILER ALERT – if you haven’t seen Star Wars Episode VII look away NOW!!! Kathleen Kennedy from Lucasfilm says that Puzzlewood is

“the most magical forest on the face of the earth”.

Highlight the following text to reveal the spoiler! When I saw Star Wars Episode VII I instantly recognised Puzzlewood in the scene on the planet Takodana, where Rey takes BB-8 to the woods for safety and bumps into Kylo Ren…..

DON’T BLINK! Do you remember in Flesh and Stone (2010) when the Doctor, River and Amy are being chased down by the Weeping Angels? Puzzlewood was the filming location for the cybernetic forest on board The Byzantium which provided the passengers with air. As they travelled through the forest, poor Amy had to keep her eyes shut as she had a Weeping Angel in her eye. Luckily for me I didn’t run into any Weeping Angels when I was there!

Aboard the Byzantium - Doctor Who filming location Puzzlewood
No sign of any Weeping Angels, phew!

Puzzlewood was also a filming location for The Time of the Doctor (Christmas Special 2013), Matt Smith’s final episode which saw the Eleventh Doctor regenerate. In this episode the Doctor and Clara were attacked by the Weeping Angels in a frosty land – rescued only by the old Key in the Quiff Routine!

The Puzzlewood Wall of Fame! Photos of the programmes and films that have been filmed at Puzzlewood
The Puzzlewood Wall of Fame!

Apart from Star Wars Episode VII and Doctor Who, other things filmed at Puzzlewood include Atlantis, Merlin, Wizards vs Aliens ( written by Russell T Davies) , Jack the Giant Slayer and Tree Fu Tom which stars Sophie Aldred aka Ace and the Tenth Doctor David Tennant! Puzzlewood is so popular because of its very special scenery and it looks amazing on screen.There is a wall of photos inside showing the many programmes and films that have used this location and you can spot many famous actors who have filmed here.

On show at Puzzlewood, Scowles are the geological feature. Scowles are found throughout the Forest of Dean  and are ancient caves formed millions of years ago in the carboniferous limestone that have come to the surface due to erosion. The rocks are covered in a feathery moss and there are bright green ferns that make the forest so green (and the trees are so green too!) that it is the greenest place I have ever been. It is said that Puzzlewood was the inspiration for the forests of Middle Earth in JRR Tolkein’s books, which sounds pretty reasonable to me!

I had a really nice time at Puzzlewood and enjoyed getting lost in the woods and trying to figure my way out -it was a real puzzle! I found many things including a magic doorway and dinosaur feet. The weather changed all the time and it got wetter and muddier as the weather changed from good to bad, good to bad. The mud got more slippery and more  slippery and I ended up with my first Project Indigo related injury – a banged collar bone and very muddy trousers! Top tip – if you visit Puzzlewood, wear old clothes and wellies :).

Puzzlewood is a must visit place for fans of Sci-Fi and Fantasy of all ages! Thank you for reading and I hope you will join me again for my next Doctor Who adventure – and I wish all Project Indigo readers a Happy New Year for 2016!

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