My wife and I spent a few days in Devon recently, visiting my Mother – in – Law. We had superb weather – unusual on the edge of Dartmoor – so were able to get out and about to see some beautiful places. I’ll feature a few of the great gardens we saw over the next few weeks, but almost our first outing was to a famous Dartmoor nature reserve and ancient copse, called ‘Wistman’s Wood’. Some of the trees are at least 400 years old – gnarled and almost dwarf oaks – and I managed to get some photographs to capture our afternoon visit in the sun. It’s such a mysterious and peaceful place I was moved (not been that for a while) to try my hand at some ‘poetry’ to accompany the pictures, so here goes….

‘In Wistman’s Wood

In Wistman’s Wood
A tumbled dwarf in valley ‘scape,
Rising with a greying ghostly hue.
Ancient Oaks clinging to life, entombed in rocks.
All engulfed in mossy fernery and silver beards,
Branch and trunk home to more lowly life,
In Wistman’s Wood.

In Wistman’s Wood
Strong sun casts a net of shade
Not yet filled by new young leaves.
And what of night or winter time?
Moonlight, mist and chattering cold-
Apt setting for moorland fairy tales,
In Wistman’s Wood.

In Wistman’s Wood
Sounds gentle on a spring day;
Rushing of the young Dart and
Bathed by the soft breeze,
Cut with children’s shout and ‘copter whirr.
Lone sheep a munching on meagre growth,
In Wistman’s Wood.

In Wistman’s Wood
Hear still and little life;
See nature stretched;
Smell moorland peaty damp;
Touch stone and twisted, mossy wood.
Taste sweet water
In Wistman’s Wood’

And here is a series of photos just in case that was all a bit too vague…


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Old School Gardener