NAmes And leg­ends

Landscape (UK) - - In The Home -

The deriva­tion of the name is a mat­ter for spec­u­la­tion. Wisht, a di­alect word mean­ing haunted or eerie, could be the stem. An­other name is The Wood of the Welsh­man, from the word wealas. Or it could also arise from wiss­man or wise men, re­flect­ing the be­lief it may have had links to the Druids. It sup­pos­edly pro­vided a sanc­tum for pa­gan ri­tu­als. One par­tic­u­larly im­mense boul­der in the wood­land is of­ten re­ferred to as The Druid’s Stone. It is said that acorns from this par­tic­u­lar grove may pro­tect against rheuma­tism. It is also the re­puted home of the Wisht Hounds, a di­a­bol­i­cal pack that hunts lost souls on the moor af­ter dark. These hounds are of great size, fiery sparks leap­ing from their eyes and nos­trils. Old Crock­ern, the leg­endary spirit of Dart­moor, is said to live nearby on Crock­ern Tor with the farm be­side the foot­path to the wood bear­ing his name. This primal spirit is said to ride with the Wisht Hounds, mounted on a skele­ton horse. He pro­tects the moor against any who seek to harm it, bring­ing ill luck to any who see him.

Sit­ting in the tree­less land­scape of Dart­moor, Wist­man’s Wood is a fas­ci­nat­ing anom­aly.

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