Hidden Valley, The Puzzle Park
Fun and mystery surround the Hidden Valley
Peter Jones, owner of Hidden Valley, The Puzzle Park near Launceston, always knew that fun and puzzles rather than farming and produce would be his future. Having lived and worked on the family farm, Peter’s venture into tourism started in 1994 when he created a scavenger hunt. This was run from a small garden shed in one of the farm’s fields, but as word spread more people visited and soon a small tearoom was created to provide refreshments for clue hunters.
From a shed to a mansion to unique village
Over the next few years, visitor numbers steadily grew, and ideas for expanding the theme park were rapidly taking shape. Following on from the tearoom, a small gift shop was added. However, the main expansion of Hidden Valley took place in 2012 when they invested in the construction of a new reception building, a larger tearoom and the ‘Forbidden Mansion’. The central theme of the park always being puzzle trails, brainteasers and having fun.
Further developments took place in 2021 when Peter rebranded the park. Tremuddlewick Village was created, together with Professor Puzzlewit, the creator of all the park’s puzzles, riddles and quizzes and his unique ensemble of mysterious employees and villagers.
The park also boasts a mile long miniature railway, a hedge maze which is made out of over 4,000 beech trees, and peaceful gardens if you want to get away from it all.
As with many businesses, the Covid pandemic brought new challenges to the park, not only from having to close for several months, but also how they had to run the park once they could open. However, some of the changes they had to implement have contributed greatly to the success of the puzzle park since.
In order to avoid overcrowding in the park during times of social distancing, they introduced an online booking system. This system is now key to their ongoing engagement with their visitors, enabling them to send news and information about the park, along with details of forthcoming events and special offers. They can also track the demographics of their visitors which helps with future developments, as well as marketing.
Where next for Cornwall’s hidden treasure?
Peter is keen to make Hidden Valley, The Puzzle Park an all year round attraction and to double the number of visitors from the current 30,000 a year. 2022 has seen the creation of a new play area complete with impressive tower, zipwires and swings. There will also be an expansion into more adult themed events including an escape room and themed steam punk festivals. Plus, plans are underway to hold themed Halloween and Christmas events, helping to attract visitors to the park throughout the year. Peter’s aim is to be ‘the Disney of Cornwall’, providing a quality, high-end theme park which is liked for its friendliness and cleanliness, as well as the amazing and fun experience people encounter when they visit.
Professional, trusted, personal support
Peter has been working with Vince and Sally from Haines Watts for over 20 years. He says, “They do everything for me, from bookkeeping to tax planning and the necessary compliance work. Not only does this free me up, physically and mentally, it also means I have total peace of mind that they have our best interests at heart. This was experienced a few years ago when Haines Watts advised we incorporated the business and as a result we have made some significant savings to our tax bills.”