Deep within the forests of Dartmoor, England is Wistman’s Wood, an ancient woodland that looks like something from a fairytale. Featuring moss-covered boulders and tangled web of twisted trees, it’s no surprise that the eerie location is associated with a number of supernatural folklore tales—many writers have even described the woodland as “the most haunted place on Dartmoor.” However, this fearful reputation didn’t scare away fine art photographer Neil Burnell, who braved the foggy forest to capture its enchanting charm.
Aptly titled Mystical, Burnell’s ongoing series transports the viewer to an extraordinary world that’s largely been left to grow wild. His images show how the ancient trees have spread their branches and twisted their roots around giant granite boulders, while a thick carpet of moss covers the entire forest floor.
“I love to try and produce an atmosphere in my images and Wistman’s is one of the most atmospheric places I've visited,” Burnell told My Modern Met. “The woodland is also notoriously difficult to photograph and I love a challenge.” To capture his images, Burnell visited the area around 20 times over the last year, trying to capture the perfect image. The photographer reveals that the best time to visit is at “blue hour,” the hour just before sunrise. At this time, Burnell was able to capture the forest when enveloped in a layer of hazy, magical mist.