Wistman’s Wood

Wistman's Wood

Nowhere conjures up the spooky mood of Dartmoor more than Wistman’s Wood.

Legends abound about how this small remote wood of dwarf, stunted oak trees hanging with beards of lichen and moss have attracted ‘Wisht Hounds’ – a “pack of huge black dogs with blood red eyes, huge yellow fangs and an insatiable hunger for human flesh and souls” according to Legendary Dartmoor.

On a more down to earth level Wistman’s Wood is one of the highest oakwoods in Britain and is pretty difficult to walk through due to the clitter (granite boulders) that is scattered amongst the trees.

Although the wood is in a remote location it can be easily reached from Two Bridges via a well designated footpath which shouldn’t take any longer than half an hour.

On a summer’s day it’s a pleasant walk alongside the West Dart River, but even at this time of the year you need to keep your eyes open for adders (Britain’s only poisonous snake).

On the other hand, if you want to experience Dartmoor at it’s spookiest, venture out here on a damp, foggy November day. I really wouldn’t suggest you did it in the dark for any number of reasons.

Apart from the treacherous granite boulders that would make the wood impenetrable, the Druids will still be keeping a watchful eye over the ’Wood of the Wisemen’. You’re in ‘Hairy Hand’ country as they say around here, and you would be well advised to leave the hounds to bay for somebody else’s blood.

You’ve been warned. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


12 thoughts on “Wistman’s Wood

  1. Stuart Templeton

    Fascinating place Malc and yes I can fully understand why you wouldn’t want to go there at night or in the fog – spooky! (And snakes – shudder).

    It’s funny you mentioned the hounds, because before you’d even mentioned them I thought it looked like something out of Sherlock Holmes!

    1. Easymalc Post author

      Thanks for following me to Wistman’s Wood Stuart. If you ever get to go there, make sure that it’s not this Thursday

  2. Simone

    Oh wow!! Love that druid spooky forest with everything covered in moss! It looks gorgeous! It reminds me a bit of a hike I made in New Zealand, high up in the mountains, with sort of a similar look. I loved that place as well (I should write about that trip some day). Do you know I have been so very very close to here, but I didn’t know about this forest 🙁 Otherwise I would have gone here for sure! So thank you for this tip Malcolm! I won’t make that mistake again if I get at chance to visit the area once more. Although maybe I should keep in mind, as you suggest, not to visit it after dark 😉

    1. Easymalc Post author

      Thanks for visiting Simone, if only from your armchair. You wouldn’t want to get lost in Wistman’s Wood in the dark 🙂

  3. Alli Templeton

    Oh wow, Malc, this place looks amazing! What a setting – I’ve never seen a piece woodland quite like it. I can see it would be hard to walk around, but you can feel the atmosphere and hear the heavy breaths of those ‘wisht hounds’ just by looking at the photos. I’ll have to try and get there one day – definitely on a foggy November day. Haunting and beautiful. 🙂

    1. Easymalc Post author

      I can see you enjoying this walk, and it’s ok to do when the weather’s not too great, but I’m not sure if you know Dartmoor at all, but it’s not a great idea to wander over the high moor in foggy conditions.

  4. Fergy.

    Spooky is indeed the right word for that wood.

    I remember many years ago I went on a week long course to Dartmouth Naval College which was for young men (no girls then) who harboured (get it?) ambitions to be naval officers. In the event, I was far too stupid and didn’t go to Uni as required. One of the little jaunts they sent us on was a Night Navex (night navigational exercise) on Dartmoor which scared the you know what out of me. After looking at your images being out at night was maybe a good thing as we couldn’t see just how scary the place looked!

    1. Easymalc Post author

      If you were scared, what do you think anyone who bumped into you up there would have thought? 🙂


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