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The Beautiful Puzzlewoods

Almost all writers have some sort of muse. To some it is a special person in their lives, to others an experience they've gone through. To J.R.R Tolkien and countless others - it is a certain place, and that place, in this case, is the beautiful Puzzlewood forest.

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J.R.R Tolkien looked at these woods and saw much more than just trees and earth. In his mind, he saw fanstical shapes and great stories of adventure.

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Puzzlewood is an ancient forest in the woods of Dean, Gloucestershire, England. Sometime in the early 19th century, a local and crafy landowner laid down over a mile of twisting pathways through the ancient tress, around moss covered rock formations and passing by secret caves. 100 years later the forest was opened to the public, who enjoy the visit.

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Tolkien made many visits to puzzlewood, taking inspiring walks through the woods. We can only imagine what tales he spun as he walked among the ancient trees.

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“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can! J.R.R Tolkien

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“The Hobbits are just rustic English people, made small in size because it reflects the generally small reach of their imagination,” J.R.R. Tolkien

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“Not all those who wander are lost.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

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“A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

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“Little by little, one travels far” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

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Open-air caves at Puzzlewood forest.

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“The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater,” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Puzzlewood has also been the enchanted forest backdrop for filming the fantasy adventures in Merlin and Dr. Who TV series.

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 “Courage is found in unlikely places.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien 

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Part of the special path at Puzzlewood forest.

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A tranquil scene.

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This sign marks the entrance to the forest. It used to be a pre-Roman, ancient iron mine, but treasures found indicate the Romans did indeed occupy this area.

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In 1848, visitors moved a block of stone in the woods, and uncovered small hidden cavity in which there were three earth-ware jars containing over 3,000 3rd century coins, probably someone's savings or treasure.

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Many suggest that puzzlewood was the inspiration for the Shire, the place Tolkien invented as a home for the hobbits. “The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out,” - J.R.R. Tolkien 

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A hobbit's home in the shire. 

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A scene as if taken straight out of a fantasy land.

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J.R.R Tolkien, born in 1892 and died at 81 in 1973. Photo on the left shows him in 1911 (at 19), in the army uniform in 1916 (24) and as a baby in 1892, with his family.

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