Wistman’s Wood is one of only three remote high-altitude oakwoods on Dartmoor, Devon, England. It lies at an altitude of 380–410 metres in the valley of the West Dart River near Two Bridges, at grid reference SX612774.
It forms 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. 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 cattle and sheep have free access, apart from a small fenced exclosure in South Wood.
The wood is split into three main long, narrow blocks (North, Middle and South Groves or Woods) that in total cover about 3.5 ha. These occupy sheltered, south-west facing slopes, where a bank of large granite boulders (clitter) is exposed and pockets of acid, free-draining, brown earth soils have accumulated. The vegetation conforms mostly to W17a Quercus petraea-Betula pubescens-Dicranum majus woodland, Isothecium myosuroides-Diplophyllum albicans sub-community in the British National Vegetation Classification. The trees are mainly pedunculate oak, with occasional rowan, and a very few holly, hawthorn, hazel, and eared-willow. Tree branches are characteristically festooned with a variety of epiphytic mosses and lichens and, sometimes, by grazing-sensitive species such as bilberry and polypody. On the ground, boulders are usually covered by lichens and mossy patches – frequent species include Dicranum scoparium, Parmelia laevigata, Rhytidiadelphus loreus and Sphaerophorus globosus – and, where soil has accumulated, patches of acid grassland grow with Heath bedstraw, Tormentil and Sorrel. In places protected against from livestock grazing, plants such as Wood sorrel, Bilberry, Wood rush and Bramble occur. A fringe of Bracken surrounds much of the wood.
Wistman’s Wood. (2014, January 28). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:27, April 24, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wistman%27s_Wood&oldid=592843079