I decided to take a short trip to Dartmoor to visit Wistmans Woods and Nuns Cross Farm. Both these sites are near to Princetown and offer great opportunities for the Photographer
Nestled on the eastern slopes of the West Dart river stands a wood of dwarf oak trees. Once you walk into the tangled web of trees you are transported into a mystical world of moss carpeted boulders, lichens of all descript, finger like oak branches, all engulfed in a wonderful smell of earth and age. Tales of Druids, ghosts and supernatural creatures abound, some dating back to the long lost ages before man could write. Locals will never venture near to the woods once the sun begins it slow descent over the nearby granite outcrops.
My visit was early morning before the sunlight started to cast shadows in the woods. It is certainly an incredible place and I guess I wouldn't want to stay the night there.
Nuns Cross Farm
Later that morning I then dropped into Princetown and got some rather poor directions to find the abandoned Nuns Cross Farm. On my route to the farm I did come across a beautifully clear stream running through the boggy moors which prompted me to use a 6 stop ND filter to add some atmospheric motion blur to the water. I am pleased to say I managed to jump this stream with my backpack and tripod.
The Nuns cross dates from at least 1240 when it was recorded in the 'Perambulation' of Dartmoor Forest by a small number of King Henry III's knights. Dartmoor Forest was a royal forest and hunting ground and the 'Perambulation' confirmed its boundaries. There is not a great deal of history about it or the farm but it seems to offer a unique thought provoking experience when you visit for the first time.
As I parked up and made my way to the site (about a mile) a thick fog swept across the moors and it was soon very difficult to see anything. Fortunately I had a good phone signal and was able to use google maps to pinpoint the location of the cross and farm. As I had done my research I had a good idea of what the area looked like. The fog did add a certain atmosphere when photographing the farm and I was able to get the shots I wanted.
As the fog lifted the sun broke through and I was actually able to see across the moors. The scene did sort of remind me of "The Little House on the Prairie"