Enchanted acorns fall on stony ground

Dartmoor rainforest: One of England's strangest woods is made a nature reserve
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The Independent Online
One of Britain's strangest woods, a kind of bonsai rainforest, has been designated a national nature reserve. Wistman's Wood on Dartmoor is made up of dwarf pedunculate oaks, stunted and gnarled by growing on boulders and poor, peaty soil at 1,300 feet.

It derives its rainforest look from the ferns, greyish lichens and lush, green mosses which grow on the trees, smothering the bark and festooning the branches. They like the clean air and the dampness which comes with about 80 inches of precipitation per year. It usually rains for more than 200 days a year at Wistman's - and when it doesn't, there are often mists.

Wistman's had been suffering from over-grazing by straying sheep and cattle. But the new farmer, who rents the wood and surrounding moor from the Duchy of Cornwall, has put up fencing and has undertaken not to use any agrochemicals.