Wistman's Wood has been mentioned in writing for hundreds of years. It is likely a left-over from the ancient forest that covered much of Dartmoor c. 7000 BC, before Mesolithic hunter/gatherers cleared it after around 5000 BC. At an altitude of 380–410 metres in the valley of the West Dart River it is one of the highest oakwoods in Britain and is an outstanding example of native upland oak woodland.
The name of Wistman's Wood may derive from the dialect word 'wisht' meaning eerie or uncanny. The legendary Wild Hunt in Devon is particularly associated with Wistman's Wood – the hellhounds of which are known as Yeth or Wisht Hounds in the Devonshire dialect.
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