Sunday, 8 May 2016
A Magical Woodland - Puzzlewood
We had a day out in Gloucestershire last Thursday and visited the very magical Puzzlewood, near Coleford, in the Forest of Dean. There are 14 acres of ancient woodland with meandering paths and hundreds of steps which pass through deep ravines and gorges, over wooden bridges and past incredible trees covered in mosses and ferns and superb rock formations.
If the wood seems familiar it has been used as a film location for several films and tv series including Merlin (unicorns, dragons, chases and Morganna's hideaway), Doctor Who (the Weeping Angels), Atlantis, Hidden Kingdoms (the nature programme) and the latest Star Wars film.
The geological features occurring in the wood are called Scowles - over millions of years the natural caves in the wood have been eroded and eventually exposed at the surface. Hence there are many dips and hollows as you walk through the wood.
Veins of exposed iron ore were mined by Iron Age settlers and the Romans. 3000 roman coins hidden in 3 earthenware jars were found in the 1800's by workmen.
Species of tree in the wood include oak, beech, ash lime and yew. The roots of yew seek out the iron ore veins.
It would be a great place to take children and there are many "treasures" to seek such as Dinosaur feet, a magic doorway, balancing beams, hidden benches, spooky trees a crocodile and a secret cave.
Wild garlic is just coming into flower - it will look fantastic in a few weeks and we found Bluebells, Wood Anemones, Wood Sorrel and Violets.
The wooden crocodile.
I could see a face in this tree - D couldn't!
We were a little disappointed in the photos - I do find woodland hard to photograph and, in addition, my camera has started to "play up". When I zoom out the lens towards 42mm to take close-ups the picture in the view finder looks very dim and under-exposed with a very low shutter speed and the more you try to re-focus the more under exposed it looks. I think it is the lens that is the problem rather than the camera body as I tried my macro and 70-300mm zoom lenses today and they would zoom out without any problem. The camera has been discontinued so I won't be able to buy a new lens so it will be a matter of either sending it back to Olympus for repair or buying a second hand lens. I'm not very happy that I shall be without the camera for a while but at least it might make me get to grips with the controls and settings on the Canon Bridge!
Talking of which here are a few of D's photos with the Canon.
There is an area with some farm animals and donkeys including this Gloucester Old Spot pig.
Birds seen included Blackbirds, Wrens, Treecreepers, Nuthatch and several very friendly Robins.
Opposite -leaved Saxifrage
A cup of tea and a Star Wars cake before we left.