Wistman’s Wood lies on the Eastern slopes of the river Dart in the Dartmoor National Park, Devon. Although covering only 170 hectares (1.7 square kilometres) this amazing woodland is important for the mosses and lichens that cover the trees and huge granite boulders scattered on the forest floor.
The wood is thought to be left-over from the ancient forest that covered much of Dartmoor around 7000 BC, before being cleared by the Mesolithic hunter/gatherers around 5000 BC. The ‘modern’ wood is made up of stunted and semi-prostrate oak trees, the oldest of which are 400–500 years old. The wood also supports approximately 120 species of lichen and is home to a large population of adders.
During my visit last month the lichen was on abundant display but there was no sign of any adders, hardly surprising given the number of people tramping through the wood and climbing over the boulders. Luckily it had been relatively dry for the few days preceding my visit otherwise I imagine rain and damp would make traversing the wood (you cannot really ‘walk’ through it) quite difficult.
The wood has, not surprisingly, been a source of inspiration for artists, poets and photographers over the years so here are a few of the images I made whilst spending some time there. Click on one for a larger view or to start a slide show.