For centuries Wistman’s Wood has been the inspiration for numerous artists and poets and a whole plethora of paintings, etchings and poems have been produced.The noted poet Carrington went into full flow when he penned the following drear lines: It is interesting to see what the early topographical writers had to say about Wistman’s Wood, one of the earlier descriptions comes from the Reverend J. It appears that he was not too impressed with the place:“It is hardly possible to conceive any thing of the sort so grotesque as this Wood appears, with their branches just spreading themselves over the enormous blocks of granite among which they are intermingled; and their upper lateral roots twisted around their bases, and in the most fantastic wreathings insinuated, whereon a recess, or interstice offered themselves – from the visible decay of their branches, their having long ceased to produce acorns, and the encroachments of the Moss, their destiny seems to be near, and in the 4th part of a Century, they may be conceived to say “Actum est Nobis” – indeed this Moss, (in the common way so injurious to trees) must in the voluminous mass in which it is here found, have hastened on the ruin of the trees…

The wood is also said to be home to ‘hosts’ of adders who writhe and slither amongst the velvet moss covered boulders, their bites are apparently more venomous that any other adder on Dartmoor.

Sometimes the small ghost of a dog called ‘Jumbo’ can be seen scurrying around the rocks and boulders in search of rabbits.

So be afraid, very afraid, as the wagging finger of fate warns you to stay clear and risk not your mortal soul in the ‘Wood of the Wisemen’.

Legend has it that Wistman’s Wood was a sacred grove of the Druid’s and it was here that they held there pagan rituals.

It depends on what part of the moor you meet them but they are either led by the Devil or occasionally by the ancient spirit of Dartmoor known as ‘Old Crockern‘ who lives nearby on Crockern tor.

There have been reports from travellers that on dark, misty nights the hounds can be heard howling and baying for blood.

Some people say that the small oak trees never produce acorns but on the other hand people also say that if you carry an acorn from the Druid’s Grove it will protect from rheumatism.

Near to the northern edge of the wood is the ancient Lych Way or ‘Way of the Dead’.

Their whole appearance conveys to you the idea of hoary age in the vegetable world; and on visiting Wistman’s Wood it is impossible to do other than think of those ‘groves in stony places,’ so often mentioned in Scripture as being dedicated to Baa I and Ashtaroth…