Return to the sylvan kingdom

Blog - Phil-osophy on Landscape Photography > Return to the sylvan kingdom
08/10/2014 - 15:06

 

The last visit I had made to the ancient sylvan kingdom of Dendle's Wood was back in the spring this year, when I took my partnerr and our young children a my first visitors... my children found this 100 acre wood somewhat "spooky". There is something eerie about the place, for my children to say that it is a bold statement as they are very fond of woodlands and wild places. I can understand their feelings though, having written about that sentiment earlier.

 

 

 

A 'sketch photo' of one of many gnarled trees in these woods.

Nikon COOLPIX S1000pjcompact camera

 

 

This autumn I took my Mum along for a walk there as she was very keen to explore the place, having seen my photographic studies made over the last 18 months since I was given a permit by the custodians. She was quick to be beguiled by these woods and could see why it had been protected as a National Nature Reserve & Site of Special Scientific Interest.

 

 

My Mum was rather fond of the 'gurning' tree!

Nikon COOLPIX S1000pjcompact camera

 

 

 

Graceful waterfalls on a un-named tributory of the River Yealm.

 

Pentax K-X
Pentax 18-55mm SMC/ DAL lens
Manfrotto 190XProB tripod
Manfrotto 498RC2 panoramic ball-head
Cromatek circular polarizer

 

 

In the Victorian era, it had been a place for the wealthy to visit at weekends, but now it has been largely left to it's own devices to protect the flora and fuana, including many rare and endangered species. The few signs of human intervention are the perimeter fence to stop the local livestock wandering in and munching; some wooden bridges over the brooks & river; bird & bat boxes and a deep water extraction point for South West Water.

 

 

Nikon COOLPIX S1000pjcompact camera

 

 

Beyond that the occasional tree has been chain-sawed where it has at some point fallen on the track, though these are then left in-situ pretty much - set to become home to mosses, fern, lichens, fungi and insects.

 

A 'sketch photo' of one of some of the fallen trees in these woods, sawn then left to become new habitats.

Nikon COOLPIX S1000pjcompact camera

 

 

 

Nikon COOLPIX S1000pjcompact camera

 

 

 

Spalded patterns of fungal growth marks- in one of the sawn beech trees that had been felled in the woods

 

Pentax K-X
Pentax 18-55mm SMC/ DAL lens
Manfrotto 190XProB tripod
Manfrotto 498RC2 panoramic ball-head
Cromatek circular polarizer

 

 

Such human artefacts are however quickly dismissed by the overwhelming grandeur of the sylvan kingdom.

 

 

The sound of the rustling trees mix with the hum of  the raging rapids & moss festooned granite waterfalls in the steep valleys and gorges all around to create a lilting soundscape. It is an immersion into what much of Dartmoor Forest would have looked like after the last ice age and it is a privilege to be allowed to wander in such a timeless place.

 

 

 

Pentax K-X
Pentax 18-55mm SMC/ DAL lens
Manfrotto 190XProB tripod
Manfrotto 498RC2 panoramic ball-head
Cromatek circular polarizer

 

 

 

“The deepwood is vanished in these islands -- much, indeed, had vanished before history began -- but we are still haunted by the idea of it. The deepwood flourishes in our architecture, art and above all in our literature. Unnumbered quests and voyages have taken place through and over the deepwood, and fairy tales and dream-plays have been staged in its glades and copses. Woods have been a place of inbetweenness, somewhere one might slip from one world to another, or one time to a former”

 

Robert Macfarlane, The Wild Places

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Malcolm
09/10/2014 - 20:03
Hi Phil, this looks and sound a truly enchanting location. You must be very humbled and privilaged to be granted access. Your photos are a wonderful source of inspiration
Phil
10/10/2014 - 11:20
Many Thanks indeed for your very generous comments Malcolm :) I do feel very honored to be allowed to wander freely through these magnificent woods, to explore it's details and changes. It is wonderful to know that such grandeur can be protected for the benefit of the wildlife within it. I dream of the day when all ancient woodland has such protection. If we can 'List' buildings, then why not remarkable trees, woods and meadows if they fall outside of the NNR or SSSI statuses?

I am sure to return soon to this enchanting place, there is still much yet for me to explore in these woods....

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