I think hiking on Dartmoor is one of the greatest pleasures in life. There is no landscape like the moors, nowhere with folklore like that of the piskies and giants, the ghosts of the moors and the black dogs that roam on the wild hunt.

One of my favorite places is Wistman’s Wood, the last remnant of the oak forest that is said to have once covered all the moor. Now it’s imposssible to tell where the trees and rocks begin and end, so covered in moss and lichen are both the living oaks and the cold granite.

We walked to Wistman’s in the pouring rain, where we were met with tales of Kitty Jay, the suicide whose grave lies at the meeting place of three parishes, always decorated with flowers (and each time I have been there there are plants on the grass covered tomb) We heard the story of the witch of the tor who lured travelers to their deaths and was finally pushed from the top of the tor by a moor-man hero; the brothers who are doomed to roam the moors in search of their murdered brother; the black dogs of the devil’s hunt. My old friend Sandy runs a theatre company, so we had a performance made for our visit including song and Dartmoor folklore. 

No photos, the rain stopped that, but added so much to the event. What a place.



About pearce

Michael Pearce is an artist, writer, and professor of art. He is the author of "Art in the Age of Emergence."
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