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Wistman's Wood, Dartmoor National Park

4.8
#8 of 37 in Outdoors in Dartmoor National Park
Outdoor Activity
Wistman's Wood is one of only three remote high-altitude oakwoods on Dartmoor, Devon, England. (The other two are Black Tor Beare on the River West Okement at SX565892 and Piles Copse on the River Erme at SX644620.)GeographyIt lies at an altitude of 380–410 metres in the valley of the West Dart River near Two Bridges, at grid reference SX612774.The source of the Devonport Leat, at a weir on the West Dart River, is just north of the wood.Preservation statusThis is one of the highest oakwoods in Britain and, as an outstanding example of native upland oak woodland, was selected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1964. It is also an NCR site and forms part of the Wistman’s Wood National Nature Reserve. The wood was also one of the primary reasons for selection of the Dartmoor Special Area of Conservation.DescriptionThe wood is split into three main blocks, which in total cover about 3.5 ha . These occupy sheltered, south-west facing slopes, where a bank of large granite boulders is exposed, and pockets of acid, free-draining, brown earth soils have accumulated. It is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall and has been managed since 1961 under a nature reserve agreement with the Nature Conservancy Council, English Nature and Natural England. There is no active management, but many people visit the site on foot, and cattle and sheep have free access where the terrain permits, outside of a small fenced exclosure in South Wood.
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72 reviews
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  • Always love this ancient and magical place - It's breathtakingly beautiful. The ancient oaks grow small due to the conditions on Dartmoor - with amazing mossy banks and boulders. You need to sit quiet...  more »
  • Easy walk on the moor to an ancient grove of trees. Lots of sheep grazing along the sunny footpath. Beneath the trees there are noss covered boulders. This is one of the last remaining places to find ...  more »
  • During our visit to Dartmoor we were recomended to go to Wistman's Wood, what a hidden gem. We are lucky in Britain to have some wonderful places, tucked away from main roads surrounded by field Wistm...  more »

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