A little way up the narrow valley, before they reach the woods, the PCs notice the squat, tumbledown buildings by the riverside. They are hardly big enough for a human to stand in, and the complex cogs and shafts that occupy the central cavity of one of the buildings are perplexing. What were these buildings? And how safe are they to explore?
Alternatively a desolate place is the perfect setting for a derelict chapel or croft. There needn't be any actual physical encounter involved, but it adds atmosphere to a place to see its dead history. For instance, in the Outer Hebrides there are whole deserted villages which were razed to the ground by the English during the Clearances. Such stories give a setting authenticity and character.
The PCs have travelled long and far. As nightfall approaches a mighty storm is unleashed. Luckily there is a lush wood nearby the path.
A good shelter for the rage of the unnamed weather gods it seams at first. As the PCs enter under the roof of this dense wood, they are welcomed by only a few drops wich is allowed trough the thick forest crown. A fire is offcourse required to warm the weary bones of the travellers. As one of the party is set to the task of collecting firewood the others settle down at a suitable location. But alas, they did not know the perils of this forest. But it seems clear to the rest of the party that something ill is at work as the woodcutters scream echo from afar.