Crooked Forest. Forest in Poland, Europe

Crooked Forest

Forest in Poland, Europe

Crooked Forest Photo © adam plucinski

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Crooked Forest

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In a tiny corner near Gryfino (Wikipedia Article) in the northwest of Poland, one can find a forest known as the Crooked Forest; consisting of 400 pine trees that have grown to a 90° bend before rising again vertically at the base of their trunks. The most interesting and unique thing about this forest is that, all of the trees are bent towards the northward direction. The curvature seems as if it’s man-made instead of being natural. It is also estimated that the trees were grown in seven to ten years before being held down for an unknown purpose.

According to an explanation, a group of farmers grew the trees after planting them in the year 1930. The farmers hoped to make furniture from the curved and bent trees when the trees were just ten years old. However, before any of this could happen, World War II broke out, and thus the plans of whoever was trying to grow and tend the grove were interrupted to leave it as a plain mystery for many to ponder until today.

Why Visit the Crooked Forest?

You can explore the mystery and experience the most uniquely shaped trees in the world by visiting this forest. The forest is one-of-a-kind in the entire world.

Interesting Theories About the Forest

There are a number of interesting theories and folklore that surround the mystery behind the ‘Crooked Forest.’ There are people who believe that the gravitational force fluctuations in the area were responsible, however there is no evidence for supporting this bizarre theory. We all know how gravity works; it pulls objects down instead of pulling them sideways.

Another theory is that the heavy snow flattened the trees while they were still saplings. This, together with the melting of a long spring, has permanently shaped the trees as there was still a thick layer of snow on the trunk-top while the trees experienced a growth spurt during spring. This theory is still unlikely as the forest is surrounded by pine trees which, unlike the forest trees, are not oddly shaped. Therefore, it’s very unusual for a snowstorm to affect only one particular forest’s area and not the rest of it.

Then there are, of course, theories about Poland's invasion during World War II. During the war, the tanks plowed through the young forest, flattening the trees to such an extent that they grew taller in a crooked shape. However, just like the snow theory, this theory is still just another theory and cannot be termed as the truth, as once again the same questions arise as to why just one small patch of area was affected in the entire region. Even though the dates match back to the time of World War II, it still seems illogical that the forest being run over by the heavy tanks resulted in uniform curvatures, even if the young trees survived the run in the first place.

The final theory, and perhaps the most boring of all the theories, is that the curves were man-made. This somewhat still makes sense as the trees have got a uniform shape. During the 1930s, the local farmers manipulated and planted the trees for the definitive use as a material of construction, for instance for furniture pieces and for ship building. Also an extract from an entitled wooden ship construction piece supports this idea, as the oaks from Northern Europe were considered fine for developing long, straight planking and the Hedgerow Oak was simply perfect for strengthening the naturally-curved timbers internally. For this very reason, the trees were deliberately bent in a certain way to make them grow as a ‘required set of grooved timbers.’ These timbers were also called as the ‘compass timbers.’
Still, to this day, there is no one who could testify one theory over another; however the last theory still seems the most logical explanation behind the crooked nature of the Crooked Forest trees.

Things to Do

If you are up for some adventure, you can go for a bicycle ride from Gryino to the German town of Mescherin (Wikipedia Article). Besides cycling, the curves and the grove also make for some of the most inspiring fashion photography.

Best Time to Travel

You can travel to the Crooked Forest at any time of the year; however summers make for the best time, as during the summers, the weather is at its best.

How to get there

Even though there is no sign that points the way to the Crooked Forest, it’s still easy to find for those that are interested in exploring it. You can also always ask the locals to point you in the right direction. Also, you can access it from the beautiful historical city of Szczecin by the main road, No. 31, headed to the South.

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Author: Khadija. Last updated: Sep 12, 2014

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