Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Wednesday 9th January

Well I have been reading Susan Cooper, a first time experience, as her The Dark is Rising is aimed at children, but by now you will have noticed that I love all literature.  She takes us from Cornwall to Wales and in her storytelling wends all the threads of ancient myths in the forces of good and evil.  Even as I write this I remember C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia, the children taking on adult roles.  Lewis took religion as his motif, Cooper uses stone circles, mountains and water in Wales.  Perhaps evoking the tale of the magic lake of Lynn Cerrig Bach in which Iron Age votive offerings were found.
The presence of lakes at the foot of mountains is a strong dynamic force, the mountain can be male and evil, the water female and good.
So to go with the mystical, Neill Burnell beautiful photographs of Wistman Woods on Dartmoor.  He has caught the mossy verdant nature of these stunted trees, the mist arising through the trees and rocks.  Perhaps Britain hundreds of years ago would have looked like this when you rode through forest or wood, now Wistman Wood is solitary in its splendour. Old oak trees twisted and gnarled, this photo from Wiki does not do it full justice you must look at Burnell's photographs to grasp the 'evilness' of twisted branches to understand how the mind works when confronted with such natural splendour.

"The name of Wistman's Wood may derive from the dialect word 'wisht' meaning 'eerie/uncanny', or ‘pixie-led/haunted’.The legendary Wild Hunt in Devon is particularly associated with Wistman's Wood – the hellhounds of which are known as Yeth (Heath) or Wisht Hounds in the Devonshire dialect."

The Green Man


  1. I love that photograph of the oak tree Thelma - and the moss on the stones. It certainly has a mysterious quality and it all looks so ancient. You are up bright and early this morning as befits such a lovely day.

    1. Try the link. It is my birthday today, so Paul brought up the tea and presents. Had an unexpected phone call from my son, he has never ever sent me a birthday card. And of course hadn't remembered this time around, just phoned up! Serendipitous.....

  2. Thanks for your comment about village layout yesterday Thelma. Many of our villages deep in the Dale have names which are Viking in origin (Gunnerside, Keld) and I always think the cottages in them, which are also very old, look as though some force has thrown them up in the air and they have stayed where they have landed. You can imagine how difficult this makes parking now in the age of cars - often several per family.

  3. Appleton follows the old pattern of toft and croft, cottage in front, long gardens behind. Some of the cottages are substantial, probably refurbished in later years.

  4. Happy birthday Thelma! I loved Wistman's Wood. There's another one except much less accessible nearby I do believe.

  5. Thamk you Aril. Wistman is extraordinary, very fairylike.