An Eerie Tree at Wistman’s Wood

Dartmoor National Park

by David Gibbeson

After taking photos of the Merrivale Stones on Dartmoor I headed to Wistman’s Wood. After hiking to the wood it is quite odd to look around and see pretty much open space. The wood looks deceptively small and quite unimposing on the landscape of the moor as you approach it. Once you enter the threshold of the wood though it is as if you are setting foot into another world. The forest could be at home in a fantasy film with no effort whatsoever.

Everywhere you look there are odd shapes and shadows and a couple of times I could have sworn I saw movement among the trees, but this was likely an animal or trick of the light generated by the shadows. This place has the potential to set your imagination running wild and you could easily see figures everywhere. It is no wonder this place has a reputation for being eerie. I can’t wait to photograph it on a cold misty early morning. This is a location that is likely to be on many a landscape photographer’s list for multiple visits.

By the time I got to Wistman’s Wood the sun was high over the horizon. This meant that the lichen and moss covered forest was riddled with intricate shadows. I think the shadows add to the character in many ways.

In this photo I absolutely love the shape of this tree. It is quite near to the south end of the wood so I imagine it has featured in many a photo, but here is mine. I love the face like shadows between the outstretching arm-like limbs and I think the snow dappled across the moss covered rocks adds to the scene and the snow covered hill behind helps to emphasise the remote location.

I got quite a few great photos of the wood and definitely want to return a few times to photograph it in different lighting and weather.


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