|Site of Special Scientific Interest|
|Area of Search||Devon|
|Location map||English Nature|
Wistman's Wood is one of three remote copses of stunted oaks on Dartmoor, Devon, England. It lies at an altitude of between 380–420 metres in the valley of the West Dart River near Two Bridges, at grid reference SX613770.
Wistman's Wood is a rare relict example of the ancient high-level woodlands of Dartmoor, and because of this it has been a Site of Special Scientific Interest since 1964, and is an NCR site. Its name probably derives from Wisht-man's wood, the vernacular word wisht meaning pixie-led or haunted.
The wood consists mainly of stunted pedunculate oak trees that grow from between moss-covered boulders and are festooned with epiphytic mosses, lichens and ferns. There are also some rowan, holly and willow trees.
Over the centuries the wood has changed considerably. In 1620 Tristram Risdon wrote that the trees were "no taller than a man may touch to top with his head". In 1912 a geological survey party tried to walk the wood but gave up due to the dense vegetation. In the early 1970s the trees were reported as being very distorted and on average 10 ft high, with occasional specimens over 25 ft.
In Devon, the Wild Hunt is said to be that of hellhounds chasing sinners or the unbaptised. The dogs in the Devonshire dialect are known as Yeth (Heath) or Wisht Hounds. This legendary hunt is particularly associated with Wistman's Wood, the name of which may derive from the dialect word 'wisht' meaning 'eerie' or 'uncanny'.
The source of the Devonport Leat, at a weir on the West Dart River, is just north of the wood.
- The other two copses are Black Tor Beare at SX565892 and Piles Copse at SX644620.
- "Natural England - SSSIs : SSSI information". www.naturalengland.org.uk. Retrieved 2008-10-13. Choose "View citation" to access the citation (pdf file).
- Eric Hemery (1983). High Dartmoor. London: Robert Hale. pp. 454–455. ISBN 0-7091-8859-5.
- Brunsden, Denys; Gerrard, John (1971). In Crispin Gill. Dartmoor - A New Study. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. p. 43. ISBN 0-7153-5041-2.
- Westwood, Jennifer (1985), Albion. A Guide to Legendary Britain. Pub. Grafton Books, London. ISBN 0-246-11789-3. P. 155 - 156.
- Westwood, Jennifer (1985), Albion. A Guide to Legendary Britain. Pub. Grafton Books, London. ISBN 0-246-11789-3. P. 32.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Wistman's Wood|
- Worth, R. Hansford (1967). Worth's Dartmoor, new edition. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. pp. 74–83.
- Mountford, Edward P.; Backmeroff, Christa E.; Peterken, George F (December 2001). "Long-Term Patterns of Growth, Mortality, Regeneration and Natural Disturbance in Wistman's Wood, a High Altitude Oakwood on Dartmoor". Report & Transactions of the Devonshire Association 133: 227–262.
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