Four years ago I visited Whippendell Wood in Watford which was used in ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace‘ to portray the forest of Naboo. Back then I was fairly satisfied with my visit but heavy snow in the area meant that it looked more like the remote ice planet of Hoth! As a result, I was keen to return one day and see it in its more normal setting. However, there was still a light frost on the ground but with a bit of Winter sunshine there was actually some greenery to be seen.
This time I walked to and from the wood with the former journey being the most difficult but thankfully there were a few people along the way to point me in the right direction. My aim was the Grove Mill Lane Car Park as I wasn’t going to bother with the actual forest scenes this time which really are like looking for a needle in a haystack. The two pictures below include a screenshot and my photo from 2010. There is a marking on the tree on the left indicating its the same place.
My mind was focussed on the golf course just across the road where a few scenes were filmed. These are far easier to locate by exiting the car park, turning right and walking for about 50 metres where there is an entrance on the left which then takes you on to the outskirts of the course.
Enter and walk back towards the car park and you’ll soon come to the trees which were used in the first prequel in 1999. They are all in one place but just shot from slightly different angles.
This is where Amidala and the rebels make plans to attack the city of Theed (the capital of Naboo) towards the end of the film.
‘Star Wars episode VII‘ is released at the end of this year and we will have to wait till then to see if Naboo features and if it does then it will be interesting to see how similar Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean (Gloucestershire) is to that of Whippendell Wood.
How to get there: Be aware that if you’re using public transport this place is not the easiest to get to. From Baker Street Underground station (zone 1) take the Metropolitan line to Watford in zone 7. Once there, the easiest option is probably to take a taxi to the Grove Mill Lane Car Park but of course that’s more money spent! Walking is an option but please note that you probably do need to allow nearly an hour each way! A good map (traditonal or mobile phone style) and a good sense of direction is needed. Trains are not quite so regular in these parts of Greater London so if you do decide to walk and need to return to central London then you should probably allow for around five hours. Good luck and may the force be with you!
You can see other Star Wars Traveller entries by clicking on the following: