In ancient times, dense woodlands covered most of England and Wales. As populations grew, many of the trees were cut down for fuel or to clear the land for farming. Today, there's little left of these ancient woodlands. Wistmans Wood in Dartmoor (Devon) and Ty Canol in West Wales (Pembrokeshire) are two of the only examples left. These remote, primeval forests are located far from any main roads and don't see many visitors. The woods are crowded with hundreds of old, moss-covered oak trees, scattered amongst large round boulders. Frequent rains ensure the woods are always green and wet.
In the early 17th century, a visitor to Wistmans Wood wrote that the stunted oaks were "no taller than a man may touch to top with his head." Today, some trees reach over four metres (fifteen feet), but most are about three metres tall (ten feet). In 1964, the wood was listed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Wistmans derives its name from "Wisht-man's," meaning 'pixie-led', or haunted.
Most of the images (except the color image) were shot with an infrared camera, which tends to lighten foliage, and gives the photos an atmospheric and ethereal quality.