Nestling among the barren wilderness of Dartmoor is one of three rare wild woods. Piles Copse is a woodland mainly comprising pedunculate oak Quercus robur. The trees, festooned with mosses and lichens, are rich in biodiversity. It is an English rainforest, and a relic of woodland which once covered much of the hilly region. The trees have only survived due to the protection afforded by large granite boulders against browsing sheep and cattle.
Piles Copse is one of my long-term projects which I return to as often as I can. I’ve been following the status of two trees first described in 1922. I’ll post an update of my photomonitoring there soon [UPDATE: here it is]. Meanwhile, here’s a short film I made during my visit earlier this week.
As the visitor approaches Piles Copse, following the River Erme upstream, the woodland is invisible until the last quarter mile. The film shows the views on approach along a trackway, the beautiful peaty waters of the River Erme, and some of the beautiful trees and nature inside the woodland. Listen with headphones to enjoy the skylark and deep roar of the river.