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REVIEW: Pumpkins and Leaves at Puzzlewood

REVIEW: Pumpkins and Leaves at Puzzlewood

Having never been to Puzzlewood before, and after getting clued up on their very comprehensive website, we really were excited to experience this magical place for the first time this Halloween and in the autumn season.

We headed straight to the woods; son (9), has recently discovered Star Wars films, and daughter (7) has always loved Tree Fu Tom. Having heard that they were both filmed in these woods meant a beeline was made immediately to find the secret Fairy caves and Wookiees’ wooden bridges. Balancing beams and crocodiles, dinosaur feet and wonderfully crafted steps steered us through the paths, through dead ends and onto lookouts. The kids ran ahead splashing in the mud, peering round the mossy trees and melting into the rock cracks and caves.

It felt so refreshing not to have any signs and directional arrows, allowing the children and us to have to choose the optional routes, getting lost, having to double back on ourselves and navigate using our sense of place and space, seeking the 10 Roman coins and hidden pumpkins.

Although this stunning place feels like another world, it offered us so many educational opportunities to talk about our beautiful world and history, from geology, erosion and scowles, to the Iron Age and Roman times.

Once we emerged, caked head to toe in mud, we found the indoor barn with Halloween craft activities and indoor maze. We painted leaf prints and made leaf rubbings, guessed the weight of pumpkins, and planted seeds to take away and pot out in our little garden back home.

As the late afternoon sun sunk low over the magical wood, we sat on the outdoor benches and sipped hot chocolates with marshmallows from the cafe. The children petted the Shetland ponies and then burnt off the last of their Halloween treats induced energy playing on the playground and running in the willow maze.

A lovely afternoon spent exploring amidst pumpkins and leaves, and mud (I cannot emphasise enough to not forget the wellies on your visit). Downloading Puzzlewood’s App ahead of the visit is also a good shout; a great knowledge hub for one, but also a fab interactive tool to scan the Roman coins once found, spurring the kids round every bend.

Enjoy your visit to Puzzlewood this Autumn Half Term; soak up the greens and yellows and feel the leaf litter underfoot and admire the the leaf canopy overhead.take time to admire what a beautifully magical world we actually live in. If nothing else, it will inspire your Halloween Wookiee pumpkin carving creativity when you get home.

Puzzlewood is situated just outside Coleford in the Forest of Dean and is open everyday during the Halloween October Half Term Holidays (until 3 Nov) from 10am - last admission is 3.30pm.
Then open weekends only and Wednesdays for the remainder of the year plus 23 & 24 December.

Explore Gloucestershire
27 October 2019

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