Monday, 5 May 2014

Wistman's Wood

We headed up onto Dartmoor in the spring sunshine, followed the track north from Two Bridges – and came to Wistman’s Wood.

This is an eerie place of twisted trees and moss covered boulders - high altitude oaks that almost appear to be sprouting from the rocks themselves. Even in winter, when the trees are not in leaf, the woods are green, branches festooned with mosses and lichens, ferns sprouting from the boughs, as if to give them their own set of antlers.

Local legend claims that the devil inhabits these woods, his ferocious wisht hounds lurk among the rocks and the wild hunt rides out from here across the moor, baying for the blood of sinners. Most of the time this wood is dripping wet, shrouded in drifting mist and thin rain and you could well believe these legends to be true, the devil watching from between the trees, his hounds stalking you as you move among the rocks.

But this day of spring sunshine the woods seemed a friendly place, gnarled branches stark against the blue of the sky, mossy boulders forming a carpet of hummocks and a peaty stream bubbling over the rocks in the valley below.

It is a place of weird beauty.

A place of stories.

A place to come back to in moonlight…

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