Thursday, 7 April 2016

F is for Forrests

 On the A-Z Tour of Harry Potter Film Locations, F is for the many forests used throughout the films. We're going to be jumping around the country a bit, so hold on tight.

Several different forests stood in for the Forbidden Forest (depending on the film and how dramatic or imposing they wanted it to look), as well as train stations, camping grounds, and just general scenery.  The specific areas used are hard to locate, given that it’s a forest and trees grow, but I did my best based on the reference books, online news articles, and behind-the-scenes videos I had to hand.

Burnham Beeches
Burnham Beeches, Buckinhamshire
Burnahm Beeches National Nature Reserve has been described as one of the best examples of ancient woodland in Britain.  Some of the trees in this forest are more than 400 years old, and it is home to a variety of fungi, plants and animals.  Burnham Beeches first appeared in The Order of the Phoenix as the place where Luna introduces Harry to the thestrals.  It was later used as two different camp sites in The Deathly Hallows, part 1 - first when the trio narrowly excape from the Ministry of Magic and try to destroy the necklace, and later as the snow-covered Forest of Dean, when Ron rejoins Harry and Hermione and destroys the horcrux.  Burnham Beeches was also used in The Princess Bride (for those who are interested!)

Black Park
Black Park, Buckinghamshire
Black Park is located in Wexham, Buckinghamshir.  Running, walking, dog-walking, mountain bike riding, and fishing are all popular past-times for visitors to the park due to its wide open spaces and well-maintained pathways (I'm just repeating what their website says - I went and took some photos and left again).  

Black Park stood in for the Forbidden Forest in four of the films.  Harry sees Quirrell/Voldermort drinking unicorn blood here in The Philosopher’s Stone; and Ron and Harry are rescued from Aragog and his children by the flying car in The Chamber of Secrets.  It is here that Hagrid shows Harry the dragons in The Goblet of Fire. In The Order of the Phoenix the park was home to Hogsmede Station, with a platform and railway track built especially for the film. 

The clearing just past the visitor's centre was used in The Philosopher's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets as the setting for Hagrid's Hut

Swinley Forest
Swinley Forest, Surrey and Berkshire
Swinley Forest is located in Surrey and Berkshire, and was once part of Windsor Forest.  Swinley Forest is a popular area for walking and mountain-biking, has an interactive visitor centre, and an iron age fort.  For me, it was one of the nicer forests I visited in my hunt for Potter locations, and was the most recognisable.
Swinley Forest, on the bank of Loch Etive
Swinley Forest first appeared in The Half-Blood Prince when Harry chases Bellatrix, Draco, Snape and the other Death Eaters though the Forbidden Forest following Dumbledore’s death.  In The Deathly Hallows, part 1, Harry and Hermione disaparate from Swinley Forest after Ron walks out on them.  For this sequence, the forest was relocated to the banks of Loch Etive in Scotland.  Harry, Ron and Harry aparate back to the forest/loch before being chased by the Snatchers, a scene which ended with Hermione cursing Harry to make his face swell.  During this sequence, the directed had to pull the trio aside and remind the actors that they were filming a movie and not competing against each other! 
The Deathly Hallows, part 1 DVD menu
Ashridge Wood
Ashridge Wood, Hertfordshire
Located on the Ashridge Estate, Ashridge Wood has been managed by the National Trust since 1926.  The Ashridge Estate includes beech and oak woodlands, commons and chalk downlands.  Each of the different landscapes support a wide variety of wildlife,  includng bluebells in spring, butterflies in summer, and deer in the autumn.  The bluebells I saw were beautiful.

While on their way to the Quidditch World Cup, Harry and friends meet Cedric Diggory and his father in Ashridge Wood.  The tree Cedric swings down from is located in the Frithsden Beeches area of Ashridge Wood, however I only found this out after I visited, so I walked through a completely different section… no wonder I couldn’t find the tree!  Although the one I did find was pretty close.

And that finishes our tour of the forests from the Potter films!  Only one location for tomorrow - thank goodness!

Until then, happy travels,


Don't forget - I'm also working on two cross stitch patterns for the A-Z challenge over at my other blog, Fangirl Stitches.  F is for Farfetch'd (Pokemon) and the Four Horsemen (Supernatural)


  1. It sure looks like you had an awesome time finding and visiting all of these locations Ros.


  2. I love forests! These are so beautiful! Just a couple hours away from where I live, we have Muir Woods which is where the Ewoks lived in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. It's really amazing to visit them and think about the scenes being filmed there.

    Ink & Stitches -

  3. So much awesome in this post, wow! Great locales! The Princess Bride--also a fabulous film:)

    The AtoZ of EOS