Did You See This?

The Wet Desert

When southwest England was a temperate rainforest.

When you think of the English moors, you probably think of vast expanses of grass, wind, and rain, the land of Brontë sisters characters and perpetual fog. But in this video from Max Smith,The Wet Desert,” an old southwestern England landscape comes into focus—when, before humans arrived, it was a temperate rainforest with coniferous or broadleaf foilage and heavy rainfall.

Ecologist Frank Fraser Darling coined the phrase “wet desert” to refer to Dartmoor, the region explored here, because it seemed to lack biodiversity. This video shows us scenes that seem to support Darling—a single leafless tree in a rocky landscape, for example—but when you look a little closer, moss-covered stones and colorful birds begin to emerge. The past still lives in the edges.