The storytellers that gave us classic fairy tales had plenty of possible inspirations for their dreamy settings. Medieval castles were the place where princes and princesses lived. Forest folk really lived in woodlands. And with some effort, those places look as beautiful as they did hundreds of years ago. For example, Wistman’s Wood in Devon, England, still looks like someone dreamed it up.
The moss-covered boulders and twisted, ancient brambles of this English wood are associated with tales of druids, ghosts, and supernatural spooks. While that is all myth, it’s not hard to see why Wistman’s is a magnet for such fables. The ancient forest has largely been left to grow wild, free of destruction or shaping by humans or large animals. With unfettered growth, the trees have grown old and gnarled, yet the rocks have stunted their height so the crooked branches hang down in an oppressive canopy. Mystical beasts and wizards only exist in stories, yet Wistman’s Wood makes it seem so very possible that they could be real.