Wistman’s Wood

Wistman's wood
Wistman’s wood

Dartmoor’s Wistman’s Wood is “native upland oak woodland:” one of England’s highest and oldest. These are dwarf oaks—most only 400 years old—able to root and persist in the shelter of the granite boulders that have tumbled from the tors to rest just short of the Dart river. The trees are sculpted by constant wind from the open moor.

And, they are haunted, big time. Most of Dartmoor swirls with one legend or another, but the Whist Hounds of hell live right here and supposedly run in a pack at night.

Our visit was in full sun, so the only real danger would have been an adder, which is England’s single venomous snake species. (Nearly sat right down on one the other day. I backed away as fast as could, but it felt like slow-mo.)

Sun lights the different greens into a dappled current: fern, bracken, lichens, mosses that average six inches thick, and the small oak leaves themselves, flapping on the shortest of stalks.

Izzy galloped straight through from stone to stone, merely to get to the river on the other side. Water is his magnet.
Trees are mine.

 

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