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Enchanted Forest

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Aragorn: Of course the woods are enchanted. They all are.
Gimli: Nature Boy is right. When was the last time anyone saw a regular, non-enchanted forest? You can't grow two trees next to each other without some wizard or demon coming along and enchanting them.

The Enchanted Forest is no ordinary forest. It is a vast old-growth forest, shrouded in fog and shadows, where the trees reach into the heavens. Their canopies cover the sky, leaving only shafts of sunlight streaming between the moss-hung branches, while dense tangles of brambles, thorns and vines crowd among the undergrowth. The trees themselves seem to leer and scowl and even normally tiny mushrooms are huge and imposing. (Whatever size they are, it's probably not a good idea to eat them. Probably. Especially if there are people living in them.) Nature has run wild, and man is not welcome here. If you are forced to enter, it's best to lower your axe or else risk the attention of the Ents.

Besides your usual forest creatures, all manner of strange things lurk in the shadows. The Fair Folk, the Wicked Witch and the Solitary Sorceress often make their havens among the ancient trees, while Savage Wolves, The Marvelous Deer (which might lead you astray), and the Unicorn are common members of the local wildlife. Lighter and more welcoming forests may be home to fairies, pixies, and Woodland Creatures; darker woodlands are likely to be haunted by ghosts and spirits and to teem with Giant Spiders.

Oftentimes, the very center of the forest may hold something particularly rare and wondrous. This is a common location for the World Tree, or else for a magical grove of lesser but still huge and ancient trees. Other common features of such a place include circles of standing stones, overgrown temples to nature deities, and Places of Power where many Ley Lines converge.

Note that the Enchanted Forest is not inherently hostile or dangerous, but it's always shadowy, wild and untamed. People can and do live in this place, but they're always some sort of Crazy Survivalist, In Harmony with Nature, or Hermit Guru who usually live in isolation — a tower or cottage may be found among the eaves, and sometimes a Treetop Town or two, but don't expect to be finding any outposts of civilization in here. If any large, organized group exists in the forest, it will typically be a band of outlaws or a Barbarian Tribe of some sort, who live within the wilderness without trying to control or disrupt it. In some cases, an Enchanted Forest may be a last remnant of primordial wildernesses that once spread across the world but which have since been cut back to a few embattled holdfasts. In these instances, the forest is likelier to be presented as a hostile force, and for characters who enter it to feel a palpable sense of malice from from the age-old trees around them.

This trope frequently goes hand in hand with The Maze; fairly often, portrayals of the Enchanted Forest will emphasize the difficulty of finding one's path through it and the ease of getting lost in its depths. Some cases will go beyond the regular difficulty of pathfinding in thick forest and will depict this as a supernatural effect, with paths and landmarks shifting and moving around and sometimes bordering on Alien Geometries, where specific paths must be followed to avoid becoming hopelessly lost or being taken straight back to the heart of the woods.

Historically, this trope originates from the often contentious relationship between humanity and woodlands. Agricultural civilizations tend to prefer their land to be clear, open, and carefully managed, often leading to the clearing of all but the wildest, thickest and most impenetrable woodlands. Additionally, old-growth forests often serve as refuges for large animals pushed out from farmlands and urban areas and for the undesirables of society — bandits, fugitives and runaway slaves all often sought forests and wooded swamps as refuges. Forests thus often come to represent holdouts of non-controlled landscape, the metaphorical "other" that doesn't belong to humanity, where forces of chaos and untamed nature remain dominant and strong. Combined with the difficulty of seeing very far in thick tree growth, which easily suggests the idea that who knows what peril or wonder could be hidden right under your nose, and with the tendency of many cultures to view nature and the unknown as magical and spirit-haunted, it's easy to see how the trope of the deep, magical and primordial forest originated.

Appearece-wise, these forests are typically temperate deciduous or mixed woodlands based on the ones typically found in Europe, as part of fantasy's general medieval European slant. Exceptions are typically based on haunted, mysterious boreal taigas, which can overlap with depictions of the Grim Up North. Tropical forests are rare. On occasion, the otherworldly nature of an Enchanted Forest may be emphasized by depicting it as a somewhat alien environment, such as a patchwork mixture of forest types that would not otherwise ever exist together.

This may also be a Shadowland for Arcadia, but is more likely to be one for a brilliant and happy city. Enchanted Forests are very common in the Standard Fantasy Setting. See also Don't Go in the Woods, for when forests are portayed as Darker and Edgier, which may or may not overlap with this trope.

See also The Lost Woods, which are video game levels themed around forests; these two tropes often overlap, but don't necessarily do so. Compare The Hedge of Thorns and Forest of Perpetual Autumn.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon Fusion: The Forest Zone is a forest of tall trees that stretches from horizon to horizon that is home to insect and plant Digimon. Although it's not tropical, there are vines everywhere. The forest floor is dominated pools of water that perpetually give off streams of bubbles. At its center is a gate that leads into a much more colorful woodland home to the Code Crown's guardian, Deckerdramon. The Green Zone and Lake Zone also have patches of forest, but there's nothing terribly unusual about them. Perhaps fittingly, the Bagra Army invades it with a swarm of beetle Digimon.
  • Made in Abyss: The second layer of the Abyss is the Forest of Temptation. Its upper regions consist of a forest of trees topped with giant, lilypad-like leaves that point toward the center of the abyss. The lower part is known as the Inverted Forest because it grows upside-down on the underside of the layer. Here, the trees' crowns form solid surfaces that cave raiders can hop between to get to either the Seeker Camp for shelter or the sides of the Abyss where the wildlife is less aggressive, though the extreme updrafts in the area make this more dangerous than it looks. The Forest of Temptation is the first part of the Abyss where encounters with deadly and deceptively intelligent wildlife are common.
  • Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story: Although it only appears briefly in a flashback, the anime has a Canon Foreigner Witch named Raspberry whose labyrinth looks like a gradient-tinted forest of mostly dead trees and living undergrowth growing out of sand dunes. Being a labyrinth, the forest is only home to the many-armed Witch herself and the murderous, jumping, person-sized bees that are her familiars.
  • One Piece: The Seducing Woods in Whole Cake Island combine this with Level Ate and Crapsaccharine World. It has edible surroundings to lure people in, and is home to and/or can conjure up lots of weird and dangerous phenomena, like talking and clothed animals, living trees and flowers that regularly move around to confuse and trap visitors in a game of death, and even mirror versions of people who copy their every move and action. How do the Straw Hat Pirates get out of the Seducing Woods? By wrecking enough of the place that the moving trees have problems re-aligning themselves, then wrecking even more of the place so the remaining vegetation submits to the Straw Hat Pirates out of self-preservation (particularly Nami, who exploits and abuses a loophole in their leader's rules.)
  • Windaria: The Haunted Woods are home to evil spirits that prey on fear and can lead travelers to death and confusion.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: The basic Green land is forests. Coupled with Green's love of giant monsters and the untamed wilderness, most planes' woodlands end up being ancient, magical places haunted by spirits, wild monsters, and reclusive hermits and druids.
    • Dominaria has had a long list of such forests, most of them ancient, vast, possibly sapient in their own right and home to elves, druids and treefolk. As a rule, their inhabitants are very reclusive and rarely welcoming of outsiders.
      • Argoth was the earliest one to appear in the lore, located on an isolated island and home to treefolk, fairies, an order of druids, and Titania, a demigod who watched over them all. Argoth was ravaged during the Brothers' War when Urza and Mishra clear-cut most of it for resources and then destroyed when Urza detonated a Fantastic Nuke there, destroying the island entirely. The survivors fled to the elf-ruled Fyndhorn on the nearby continent, which remained an important forest haven throughout the Ice Age until it was flooded by the rising waters of the Thaw. The surviving elves and druids then migrated to Yavimaya, another forest that was already home to talking apes, more treefolk, and another forest demigod, but which always remained wild even beyond the humanoids' own comfort.
      • Other major forests include Llanowar, so thick that the elves that live there can spend their whole lives in its canopy without seeing either the sun or the soil, and Krosa, a forest notable for not being home to any elves and instead housing a reclusive order of human druids, centaur tribes, and a lot of wild monsters.
    • Lorwyn and Shadowmoor took place in the same woodsy fairytale land, the first being enchanted and the second being cursed.
    • In Innistrad, there are the forests of the Kessig province, especially the vast and trackless Ulvenwald, home to vast packs of Savage Wolves and werewolves alike and primordial forest spirits. There is also the Somberwald in the mountains of Stensia, home to an enormous variety of wild beasts driven out of Kessig by hunters and werewolves.

    Comic Books 
  • Punisher (2022): The woods around the Hand's citadel are cursed so that anyone who ventures into them without being invited or having visited the citadel before will become hopelessly lost and never be seen or heard from again.
  • Robin (1993): Stephan's woods are something of a pocket dimension, filled with plants and animals that no longer exist on Earth and which never existed together or in such large sizes. Anyone who enters without Stephan's protection will be lost in them forever.
  • Thieves & Kings: The Sleeping Wood is an Intelligent Forest that doesn't like humans very much. Or roads. Oh, and if you follow the path through it, you get to the Fairy kingdom.

    Fan Works 
  • A Backwards Grin: Bewilder Forest, the location where Mawile wakes up, is home to a population of Stantler who use their illusions to keep people or Pokémon from finding the way out.
  • Equestria at War: Despite its normal exterior, the taiga of Watertowns is a truly alien place. The almost dreamlike maze of ancient trees, streams and rivers break apart into tiny, narrow waterways. Giant mushrooms appear from every new corner that weaves into the seemingly endless forest canopy. Noises from typical woodland critters give way to unfamilar crackles and hisses.
  • Hearts of Ice: The mountain where the Ancient One — a divine dragon — dwells is surrounded by an old, vast and impenetrable woodland. Nabiki remarks how creepy it is: they are three days away from the nearest human settlement, and she can feel the tall, thick, dark trees glaring down on her and whispering silently that humans are not welcome in their forest.
  • Lost Cities: In the far north, beyond the mountains of the griffon tribes, there is a vast boreal forest covered in snow and haunted by spirits. Many are little more than floating, bobbing lights dancing in the shadows of the trees, but others are much vaster and more dangerous.
  • My Little Balladeer: The Everfree Forest, much like in the original show. It says something that, between the usual monsters and the Sunny Town undead, it's not a place even John cares to wander through — especially at night.
  • Souls Art Online: The forest, where Everything Is Trying to Kill You and does so in a way to lead to a Cruel and Unusual Death. And may the Sun help you if you light a fire, because then the forest gets mean.
  • The Sun Soul: Viridian Forest. At a certain point, the canopy covers the sky completely, not letting any light in. The air becomes completely still. The temperature drops sharply in certain areas. The trail gets ever narrower, making it easy to get lost. And God help you if you stumble upon a silky white pod... even Indigo Plateau Rangers, some of the toughest survivalists Kanto has to offer, aren't safe, as Ash and Misty eventually find out.
  • Through The Well Of Pirene: The Everfree is this to an even greater degree than in canon: besides the regular monsters and its treacherous, swampy terrain, it’s home to a hidden goblin fortress and is riddled with interdimensional Ways, leading it to teem with Misplaced Wildlife that gives a downright surreal air, and if you know how, its paths can be followed to other universes entirely.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: Viridian Forest is a lot more dangerous than in canon, even leaving a warning sign that has a day count about the last known casualty. In the Agatha & Sam Gaiden sidestory, the young Agatha and Samuel Oak traverse it as they try to find Agatha's younger brother when he runs off into it, facing numerous evil Ghost-type Pokémon who see them as little more than playthings.
  • The World is Filled with Monsters: The Creeping Gloom, a vast forest outside the borders of Equestria. Its trees are thick enough to block all light and make the one path through it seem more like a tunnel than anything, it's shrouded in constant fog, and at the start of the story it's become home to a colony of Giant Spiders.
  • The Weaving Force: As in Star Wars canon, Kashyyyk is portrayed as one of the darker variants of this. Vicky initially assumes she's been shrunk by some parahuman power, and only realizes the truth after Skitter summons some very alien bugs.

    Films — Animation 
  • Barbie as Rapunzel: When Rapunzel leaves her tower in the woods for the kingdom outside of it, the prince and his knights are surprised to learn about her talking dragon friend and Gothel's sorcery.
  • Barbie of Swan Lake: The woods where Odette follows the unicorn Lila to is this.
  • Brave: The woods outside the town are home to a witch and spirits and an old abandoned castle.
  • Frozen II has an enchanted forest that was magically cut off from the rest of the world when Elsa and Anna's father was very young, and to which the heroes journey in this film.
  • Princess Mononoke: The forest is a place of magic home to giant wolves, giant boars, and a deer-god of life, death and rebirth, and is thematically opposed to the forces of civilization represented by the gun foundries of Iron Town.
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish: The Dark Forest is a magical woodland formed by the impact of the mystical Wishing Star, covered by a pitch-black portal in the entrance, but teeming with colorful life in the inside. The forest's landscape completely changes according to whoever last looked upon the map that leads to the Star in its interior, giving different obstacles and difficulties based on the map holder's heart and wishes.
  • Quest for Camelot: The Forbidden Forest, which is home to many various plants and trees that are alive and serve as obstacles to Kayley and her group.
  • Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure: The Deep, Deep Woods, which the dolls are warned to stay away from by Marcella. While at first it seems to be a normal forest, made spooky by the darkness of night, it ends up being the gateway to the Greedy and Loony Land.
  • Strange Magic: The Dark Forest, home of the goblins, is like this. The trees are only big in comparison the characters though, as they're fairies and even smaller elves. They avoid going into the forest because the Bog King imprisons those who dare enter. He reveals the subtle and understated beauty of the Dark Forest to Marianne during their Final Love Duet.
  • Turning Red: The astral realm is shown to be an ethereal forest filled with nothing but bamboo constantly shedding leaves and what appears to be a small frozen lake in a clearing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avatar: The entire forest, besides being home to countless alien monsters and the hostile Na'vi, is also one massive planetary ecological hivemind of sorts.
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017): The forest beyond Villeneuve has a reputation for being haunted, according to the Novelization — likely the result of the Enchantress' curse, which caused the villagers to forget abou the enchanted castle in its depths. At the absolute least, it is packed with aggressive wolves.
  • Beyond Sherwood Forest: A mystical portal in Sherwood Forest leads to a realm known as the Dark Woods: a magical, darker version of Sherwood Forest, filled with all manner of fantastic and deadly beasts.
  • Evil Dead: The Appalachian woods in the first two movies. An ordinary forest under normal circumstances, once the Book of the Dead's been read aloud, it transforms into a twisted, fog-shrouded Genius Loci of living trees, shifting paths, and roaming, unseen spirits. The spell might have the same effect anywhere: the evil it awakens is said to lie dormant in "the forests and dark bowers of man's domain".
  • The Field Guide to Evil: In keeping with the fairytale nature of the story, Tivald is required to travel trek through the deepest, darkest forest in the kingdom in order to locate the loosestrife pool and complete his Engagement Challenge in "The Cobbler's Lot".
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: The forest concealing the portal to Ta Lo is a Mobile Maze of bamboo trees that only opens a direct path to the portal once a year. It is possible to make the trip at any time, but only if you know the correct path and timing, and if you fail the forest eats you.
  • Sleepy Hollow (1999): The headless horseman's burial site is located in a creepy forest completely devoid of animal life, which is probably a consequence of the level of black magic practicing that took place in there to the point that the infamous Tree of the Dead is a gateway to Hell.
  • Snow White & the Huntsman plays with this trope with the Dark Forest and the Sanctuary. One is an evil forest and one is full of fairies, but they're both undoubtedly ancient forests filled with strange creatures. However, the Huntsman, being one of the only people to have survived entering the Dark Forest before, has learned that, while it is treacherous and filled with dangerous creatures, the real danger is that it is full of hallucinogenic spores. Combined with the superstitions of the average person of the time, a person wandering the Dark Forest perceives it as much more hellish.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Forest Moon of Endor is covered in thick redwood forests and home to the tribal, indiscriminatingly carnivorous Ewoks and the savage Gorax.
    • There's also Kashyyyk, home of the Wookiees, covered in gigantic trees and so lush with vegetation that it manages to be this and Jungle Japes. And that's just on the coast where the trees are thinly spaced and stunted; on most of the planet the trees are so tall that the arboreal Wookiees almost never climb within a kilometer of the ground.
  • Willow Creek: The forest that Jim and Kelly travel to is a focal point of the Bigfoot legend, and is where the only purported Bigfoot sighting was captured on film. Locals warn of a curse that allegedly causes relationships to sour and spoil, and explorers to become obsessed and permanently lost in the forest of Willow Creek.

    Folklore & Legends 
  • Aokigahara, sometimes called the Sea of Trees, is a dense and hard-to-navigate forest near Mount Fuji known for the large number of suicides that occur there. As a result, local folklore often describes it as haunted by the restless spirits of those who died under its eaves.
  • "Brother and Sister": The title characters run off into the forest to escape their Wicked Stepmother. Because she is also a Wicked Witch, she enchants the streams they come to and finally turns Brother into a deer. They live in the forest until the king finds them there and falls in Love at First Sight with Sister.
  • "Hansel and Gretel": The siblings become lost in a dark forest, where they met and are captured by a cannibalistic witch.
  • The Hercynian Forest was a Roman-era wilderness in ancient Germany, which stretched east from the Rhine until... somewhere in Eastern Europe, forming the edge of the then-known world. Roman historians and geographers described it as being home to wild Germanic tribes, aurochs, forest bison, bears, wolves, Unicorns, elk whose knees did not bend, and birds with feathers that shone like fire.
  • "Morozko": The snowy, densely forested area near from the old couple's hut is home to Father Frost, the benevolent but short-tempered spirit of the Winter. No sane person dares to walk into those woods when night falls.
  • "The One-Handed Girl" hides from her brother in the forest; a prince finds her there and marries her. When her brother tracks her down and convinces the king and queen that she is a witch, she goes back; there she rescues a snake, gets back her hand, and receives a magical ring, with which she wins back her husband.
  • "Our Lady's Child" was abandoned in the forest for refusing to confess to having looked through the forbidden door; the king finds her there and falls in Love at First Sight.
  • The Pine Barrens of New Jersey, a large stretch of pine forest that has managed to remain such due to growing over sandy soil completely unfit for cultivation, have a rather fearsome reputation in local urban legends and rumor. The Barrens are the supposed haunt of The Jersey Devil, and there's an impressive collection of other urban legends and ghost stories that's grown around the Pines, including a white stag that supposedly helps lost travelers, the restless ghost of an unjustly murdered black doctor, and the Blue Hole, a (real) lake of clear blue water (despite all nearby lakes being muddy brown) supposed to both be bottomless and a favorite haunt of the Jersey Devil.
  • "The Six Swans": The king meets the Wicked Stepmother to be in the forest. Later, her stepdaughter runs away to find her brothers in the forest; another king finds her there and falls in Love at First Sight.
  • "The Three Flowers": Most of the action happens in a remote and endless wood, devoid of people but inhabited by witches, sprites and other dangerous creatures.
    Three hunters went hunting in a faraway forest. They found themselves in a wilderness without end, where they lived on wild game and slept beneath the trees.
  • "The Three Little Men in the Wood": It is, of course, in the woods where the stepdaughter meets the three little men.
  • "The Two Brothers": One of the brothers goes hunting in a deep, dark forest with a sinister reputation, and encounters The Marvelous Deer and a Wicked Witch who turns him into stone. After the witch is killed by the other brother, the forest magically becomes open and clear, and the way out becomes obvious and easily followed.

  • A Batalha do Apocalipse: The Red Forest was a mystical grove in 13th century England that served as a vertex, a place where the Fabric of Reality did not exist and both the Physical and Spiritual Worlds connected. Among the oak trunks lived fairies, goblins and a dragon. After Ablon was trapped for 200 years in Hell, the Forest was cut down by humans to build a road.
  • Beast Tamer: The Lost Forest's supernatural growth is such that it can quickly change its own internal geography to the point that even a map made the day before is utterly useless.
  • Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast: To find the Beast's castle, you only need to become lost in the woods; once you lose your way, all paths lead to the castle gates. It's because of the rumors of enchantment that Gervain makes the family promise not to go in there.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of...:
    • Bruce Coville's Book of Nightmares II: The Shadow Wood revolves around a particularly malevolent example, which is cursed and destroys anyone who tries to cut it down.
    • Bruce Coville's Book of Spine Tinglers II: This trope is the subject of the poem The Toadstool Wood.
  • Chronicles of the Emerged World: The Forest is a thick and trackless wood that dominates the Land of the Wind's southern border. As most of the Land of the Wind is open prairie stretching out to the horizon, the Forest's thick vegetation and restricted sightlines are alien, claustrophobic and frightening to the Land's inhabitants, leading to the rise of numerous legends about the Forest being a dangerous place with vicious monsters lurking in its depths. In truth there's little in the way of danger in the Forest, and no actual monsters — but it is home to a large community of pixies, as well as a Father of the Forest.
  • Chronicles of the Kencyrath: The forests of Rathillien are generally charged with magic. It's not uncommon for the plants to be animate, consuming fruits and mushrooms might lead to you being turned into the structure in question, and it's not unusual for bands of bandits, hunting parties, and even armies to just disappear within them. Said disappearances might also stem from the mists that can transport a person from one side of Rathillien to the other.
  • Deltora Quest: The Forests of Silence, which appear in the eponymous first book of the series, are a series of three forests with a bad enough reputation to be considered unusually terrifying even in a land heavily infested with monsters and horrors. The first forest is home to a vicious monster called the Wennbar and to a tribe of creatures called the Wenn that worship it and bring it captives to eat, while the second contains a hidden grove where there grow flowers whose nectar gives eternal life.
  • "The Dead Valley": The titular valley exists somewhere in the Swedish wilderness and, although surrounded by woodland, the valley itself is entirely empty, except for a great skeletal tree, a layer of animal bones, and something that wakes up when the sun goes down...
  • Discworld:
    • A recurring location throughout the novels is the Forest of Skund, an extensive stretch of wilderness known for having some of the highest levels of wild magic in the Disc. It is home to things such as gnomes who live in toadstools, reclusive shamans and talking trees, as well as the feared Five-Headed Vampire Goat (at least before a passing Barbarian Hero happened to it). It was also the birthplace of the legendary witch Black Aliss, whose gingerbread cottage is still standing in the forest.
    • There's also Cutshade Forest in "Troll Bridge", which Cohen the Barbarian calls "proper darksome" and full of giant spiders... at least before it was sold to a lumber mill, chopped down and replanted with spruce.
  • The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath: The Enchanted Wood is a large forest in the Dreamlands, and the location where Dreamers typically enter this world. The text describes it in somewhat vague terms as a place of titan trees and carpeted by fungi, and it is home to tribes of diminutive zoogs that war against the Dreamlands' cats and to a cursed gateway that leads into the underworld where the gugs and ghouls live.
  • Earthsea: The setting is made up of many islands, but the most magical place in the world is Roke, the Isle of the Wise. One of this island's wonders is the Immanent Grove. At a glance the Grove seems like a modestly-sized forest that can be found on the island. However it can't always be found in the same place, and a hike into it reveals it's Bigger on the Inside. It is implied to be a major font of magic to the whole world.
  • The Edge Chronicles:
    • The Twilight Woods are shrouded in eternal twilight and slowly erase the memories and sense of self of those who cross them. Anyone who loses their path will wander in the forest forever.
    • The Deepwoods are an enormous coniferous forest (later books show that they take up far more territory than all other lands in the Edge combined) and are teeming with dangerous peoples, monstrous predators and carnivorous plants.
    • The Nightwoods are a forest beyond even the Deepwoods, dark and deadly and full of vicious waifs, found on the other side of the Thorn Forests. An extremely dangerous crossing of the Nightwoods is also the only way to reach the legendary land of Riverrise.
  • Enchanted Forest Chronicles: The series takes place in an unpredictable, but usually benign, enchanted forest, home to a variety of fairytale beings. (At least, the later three do; Dealing with Dragons takes place in the Mountains of Morning, where the dragons live.)
  • The Farthest-Away Mountain: The Wicked Wood, a forbidden forest beyond the river at the end of her village, is Dakin's first obstacle. Mostly it's so dense that it's extremely easy to get lost in, but, when her cap gets stuck on a branch that is somehow far above her, there are implications that the forest might have a bit of a mind of its own. The only other implication is retroactive at the end since, after Dakin cleanses the evil on the mountain and the forest is said to no longer be unnerving at all and even let more sunlight through its canopy.
  • The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England: Settlements in the setting are huddled on a narrow strip of land between the sea and the forest — which is the domain of spirits. Most locals try to avoid it, just in case.
  • Gaunt's Ghosts:
    • Tanith used to be like this, with mobile trees, before it was destroyed the day the regiment Tanith First & Only, Gaunt's Ghosts, was founded. The Ghosts themselves are marvelous at stealth, and Gaunt attributes it to their learning how to get around on their homeworld.
    • Straight Silver: The forests of Aexe Cardinal remind the Ghosts of Tanith. They also contain a mysterious woman who makes predictions to Gaunt and lends him a car that just vanishes (along with its keys) when it gets them where they are going.
  • "The Ghoul (1873)": The forest the huntsman gets lost in is inhabited by elves, gnomes, hell-kites, and a ghoul. There are also four ancient giant oak trees that or may not be sapient.
  • The Gray House has the Forest, a bizarre parallel world that some of the school's students can visit. It is inhabited by mysterious creatures like dogheads and whistlers, giant blackcap mushrooms and bloodsucking flowers, and a lot of other weird things.
  • Green-Sky Trilogy is set in a benevolent version. The forest covers the entire world and is a friendly, nurturing place to the tree-dwelling Kindar people. The Erdlings, who have spent many generations trapped underground, eulogize the forest as a lost paradise, but the first Erdling to escape from the caverns experiences the forest as both lonely and threatening at first.
  • Harry Potter: The Forbidden Forest is home to centaurs, unicorns, a colony of giant spiders, and other magical beasts, to the point that students are punished by having to go in it at night. Over the series, the Hogwarts staff also uses it as a way of disposing of dangerous magical creatures they no longer have a use for, which are typically just released within the forest.
  • Hexwood: The eponymous wood — either it's a small piece of wooded land near a housing estate where the local kids go to play (littered with crisp packets, and you can see through to the other side in places) or it's a vast forest containing a rushing river with waterfalls, caves, an Arthurian-style castle and dragons. Or both.
  • Inheritance Cycle: Du Weldenvarden, where the Elves have been living in hiding since the rise of Galbatorix. The forest's magic makes it one of the "safer" places in the books, but the magic of the elves is fading due to Galbatorix's use of Black Magic, and in order for the Elves to ensure their safety, Galbatorix must fall. Eragon also goes there for training in being a Dragon Rider.
  • Into the Heartless Wood: The Gwydden's Wood is an ever-reaching kingdom of ash, birch and oak. The Gwydden and her daughters harvest the souls of their victims to expand the wood across the land.
  • The Iron Teeth: The setting's forests are haunted by many different types of dangerous monsters. They are incredibly dangerous and a lot of people perish within them.
  • Journey to Chaos: The Rose Forest is made of trees that are constantly watching its inhabitants. Carnivorous Venus fly-traps can mimick the effects of sirens. Every animal living here can wield magic and they don't take kindly to strangers. This is aside from the Always Chaotic Evil monsters roaming the area. When Eric first arrives in A Mage's Power, he would have died on three occasions if not for a local escort. The best part? This is not a "special magical forest". This is a "normal forest".
  • Kings of the Wyld: The Heartwyld is a massive forest filled with monsters, magic, and wild creatures. The forest itself is cursed on some level, as prolongued exposure causes humans to catch the Rot, a slow and terminal disease that causes parts of the body to char black and crumble away.
  • In The Last Unicorn, most unicorns take up solitary residence in a forest, which becomes enchanted due to their presence. The titular unicorn lives in a "lilac wood" where It's Always Spring, and where locals never bother to hunt because her magic protects the resident animals.
  • The Marvellous Land of Snergs: The Black Woods is a vast, gloomy, swampy forest where tall, thick, dark trees grow among the pools of black, muddy water until blotting out the sun. There are no living beings there but sinister plants, giant bats and a wicked witch.
  • Mythago Wood: The cycle makes heavy use of this trope. Ryhope Wood, the focus of the books, is a remnant of very ancient forest that brings to life figures from the collective unconscious. From the outside, it's a small wood that's nearly impossible to penetrate. From the inside, it's an enormous stretch of primordial wilderness, where time runs differently and ancient heroes, monsters and spirits brood.
  • Phantastes: This is what Fairy Land is like. There are some exceptions — a desert, a rocky underworld, a sea and an area of farmland all appear — but most of Fairy Land is covered in a deep, enchanted forest, teeming with fairies, spirits, and animated trees.
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: In the second episode, "fey-wood(s)" are mentioned, where "Time runs faster here", a.k.a Year Inside, Hour Outside.
  • The Raven Cycle: Cabeswater is a living, intelligent forest that can alter the flow of time within itself, making it flow faster or slower than on the outside.
  • The Raven Tower: The Silent Forest is inhabited like a Genius Loci by the goddess who shares its name. She eventually allowed for one road to be built through it and for humans to collect some lumber; anything more, and people walk into the trees and never return.
  • The Reynard Cycle: The forest of Maleperduys has this reputation, and for good reason. It's a literal maze inhabited by Wargs.
  • Rules For Vanishing: Every year, a mysterious road appears in the Briar Glen woods. On it are various supernatural dangers.
  • Saga of Recluce: The Accursed Forest (later Naclos), a sort-of-sentient being whose massive Order and Chaos flows tie all of its animals and plants together into a single entity. While no more dangerous to simply pass through than any other forest, it fights back with deadly force against anyone attempting to tame, cultivate or cut it.
  • Septimus Heap:
    • The Forest is a lawless wilderness well beyond the Castle's authority (despite being literally across the river from it) and home to carnivorous trees, packs of vicious wolverines, and the witches.
    • The woods surrounding the House of Foryx are full of... well, Foryx, whatever those are. You don't want to be on the ground when they run past.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The forests of the North are usually large, ancient, and all but trackless, and often retain the lingering influence of the Children of the Forest and the Old Gods. The most notable example would be the Wolfswood, which takes up almost a fifth of the North, as is home to a lot of... well, guess.
    • The Haunted Forest beyond the Wall is an ancient, untamed wilderness home to barbarians, giants, prehistoric creatures, and the Others, as well as the last Children of the Forest.
    • Further south there is the Kingswood, which is home to great boars and white deer. A legendary band of outlaws laired there in the setting's backstory, and, later in the series, a Barbarian Tribe moves in.
    • Seen briefly in the first book is the Forest of Qohor, which takes two weeks to cross on horseback and houses numerous strange animals, such as lemurs and spotted tigers.
  • The Sorcerer's Receptionist: The kingdom of Doran is quite idyllic, but it is surrounded by deep forests where demons live. Flight magic is common, so the forests can be crossed safely, but the necessity of agriculture means that people still die.
  • Stardust: In the "serewood", the trees will eat you if you leave the path.
  • Sweet & Bitter Magic: The Witchwood is one, surrounding Within, the land where witches live. It's been enchanted with many spells to scare away muggles from entering. However, witches or sources (people who are living magical fuel) see and hear illusions of their dead loved ones which seem real, which makes it hard to get past its environs too.
  • Tasakeru: The main characters live in the titular forest: an ancient, abandoned, mostly unexplored wilderness that is home to not a few strange things...
  • Tailchaser's Song has the Ratleaf forest, a vast and mostly unexplored forest north of the cats' lands. It's old, foreboding, distressingly close to the Big Bad's fortress and even home to a Barbarian Tribe of squirrels.
  • Tales of the Fox has the forest around Ikos, where strange things live, which has a mind (or minds) of its own, which doesn't necessarily care for people, and where roads only exist at the forest's sufferance. It can also make unwanted travelers vanish in unexplained but silently ominous ways. It's implied that the forest exists to protect the Oracle of Ikos, placed by the all-seeing god Biton.
  • There's Magic Between Us: The forest used to have faeries that would lure humans to their deaths. The forest that Lydia visits is safe and beautiful and not at all threatening, but it is a lot bigger than it appears from outside. That's because this forest was actually created by a good faerie, Florence, to protect humans from the rest of her kind. The actual faerie world, which the main cast eventually finds themselves in, is a lot creepier and far more dangerous.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: Tolkien liked this trope, and ancient, enchanted forests show up at numerous points in his works.
    • The Lord of the Rings has the Old Forest, whose trees are intelligent enough to hate intruders and will actively shift to attempt to cause visitors to become hopelessly lost, and Fangorn Forest, home to the Ents and viewed with superstitious fear by the neighboring Rohirrim.
    • The Hobbit has Mirkwood, with trees so thick they block out all light and home to Giant Spiders and Silvan Elves alike. Spontaneous magical phenomena also occur within the forest, including things such as rivers whose waters cause drinkers to fall into enchanted sleep.
    • The Silmarillion has Nan Elmoth, where the trees grow thick enough to block out the light. The elven kingdom of Doriath also counts for anyone who doesn't have permission to enter.
    • Beren and Lúthien: Taur-nu-Fuin (Forest of Nightshade), as well known as Deldúwath (Deadly Nightshade), was a forest lying to the south of Dorthonion. The place became a highly dangerous and completely dark haunted wood after being corrupted by Morgoth's sorcery and overran by Sauron's orcs, werewolves and vampires. Beren was the only Human who managed to survive in the wood during years, and eventually he had to flee, too. After being defeated by Lúthien and Huan, Sauron "took the form of a vampire, great as a dark cloud across the moon, and he fled, dripping blood from his throat upon the trees, and came to Tar-nu-Fuin, and dwelt there, filling it with horror."
      "To North there lay the Land of Dread
      whence only evil pathways led
      o'er hills of shadow bleak and cold
      or Taur-na-Fuin's haunted hold
      where Deadly Nightshade lurked and lay
      and never came or moon or day."
    • The Old Forest, Fangorn and Mirkwood are some of the few surviving remnants of a primeval forest that once covered most of Middle-Earth, and their trees are often old enough to remember having ruled the land before humans, dwarves and elves came to clear the woodlands for lumber and land — and at least in the Old Forest's case, to actively resent this.
  • In the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series, most forests are this due to the will of the Tradition. Those who know enough magic can use the woods as a kind of fast-travel system, via the "all forests are one" spell.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland:
    • The Forest Of Doom, which has moving, prehensile trees that can attack people, giant spiders, and reclusive tribes that will sacrifice outsiders to their gods.
    • Woods come in two basic kinds. The first is basically a normal forest, but home to reclusive and hostile forest tribes, usually either humans or elves who live in the trees or nymphs or satyrs that stay on the ground. In the second, basically the entire thing is a sentient being very often hostile to outsiders and that must be appeased by them. Incautious meditation here is liable to turn a person into a tree.
  • Trash of the Count's Family has "The Path of No Return", a route through a forest which is filled with Ominous Fog. No one who enters ever leaves... until On, who can navigate it with her fog manipulation.
  • The Treachery of Beautiful Things: Jenny's brother Tom is swallowed up by the forest while walking through the woods. When Jenny returns seven years later, it swallows her as well.
  • Uprooted: The Wood is a particularly malevolent version of the dark woods of legend and fairytales. It's dark, twisted and saturated with magic, actively hates humanity, and is home to dark and terrible creatures that it sends out against the outside world. At the end, after the Wood-Queen's influence is mostly removed, it returns to being a more peaceful and natural forest, although one still home to supernatural beings and pockets of dark magic.
  • In Xanth, the whole country is one of these, outside of the rare settled areas. The roads are enchanted to be safe, but venturing off of them leaves one vulnerable to many deadly foes, both animal and vegetable.
  • "Young Goodman Brown": The eponymous protagonist is a colonial Puritan who ventures into these and learns some disturbing things about everyone he knows and respectsor does he?

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "In the Forest of the Night", apart from having sprung up overnight instead of being older than memory, the forest takes on many aspects of the Lost Woods. At the end of the episode, the Doctor theorizes that the forest that features in myths and fairy tales is a remnant of a cultural memory of an earlier occasion when something like this happened.
  • Kingdom Adventure: The area under Zordock's influence is called the Dark Wood and is pretty sinister-looking, and is said to be full of dangerous beasts and next to impossible to escape alone. The protagonists also live in a forest, but it's a friendlier-looking one.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: After an accident involving a falling tree branch in episode 7, Sadoc Burrows suggests sending The Stranger away toward the "Greenwood the Great", which is yet to become the Mirkwood. In episode 8, the fight between the three witches from Rhun and The Stranger happens in Greenwood.
  • MythQuest: The Blood Trees from episode 5 . Yuki-Onna, a snow demon, lives there.
  • The Sopranos use a real-life one in "Pine Barrens", in which Chris and Paulie go to the New Jersey Pine Barrens to dispose of a body. Things go horribly wrong. For a realistic show with a setting in an honest-to-God real place, they managed to make it really creepy.

  • Agapeland: "Nathaniel the Grublet" has Direwood, a spooky forest that causes any Grublet caught there after sunrise to disappear (whether it effects anyone else this way isn't clear). It even has its own song, sung by Thurl Ravenscroft.
  • The Cure: "A Forest", from the album Seventeen Seconds (Album), if the lyrics are to be understood literally, is about the protagonist looking for a girl lost in the woods, until he finally gets lost himself and realizes "the girl was never there" and "I'm running towards nothing."
    The sound is deep
    In the dark
    I hear her voice and start to run
    Into the trees, into the trees
    Suddenly I stop, but I know it's too late
    I'm lost in the forest, all alone.
  • The Decemberists' rock opera, "The Hazards of Love", is set in woods such as this, ruled over by the dread Forest Queen.
  • Lord Huron's "Meet Me in the Woods" is sung by someone who went into the woods and came back changed. They can only describe it as an endless night where they met something that they could not perceive, and when they finally got out, less time than they thought had passed.
    I took a little journey to the unknown
    And I come back changed, I can feel it in my bones
    How long, baby, have I been away?
    Oh, it feels like ages, though you say it's only days
    There ain't language for the things I've seen, yeah
    And the truth is stranger than in my own worst dreams

    Myths & Religion 
  • Arthurian Legend: The Forest of Brocéliande in Brittany, the location of many adventures of the Arthurian knights. Brocéliande was known for being inhabited by fairies and home to the Lady of the Lake. Other notable locations in Brocéliande are the Val sans Retour (Valley of No Return) where Morgan Le Fay imprisoned her lovers, the Fountain of Youth, and either the tree where Merlin was imprisoned or Merlin's tomb.
  • Classical Mythology: Forests (and mountains, valleys, or anywhere else where nature dominated the landscape) were considered to be "numinous": haunted by spirits and immortals. It also helped that there was a god, goddess, demigod, nymph, spirit or other supernatural creature in charge of every natural feature from rivers to trees to small hills.
  • In the legend of Genevieve of Brabant, she lived in the forest after escaping Malicious Slander. Fortunately, a magical deer helped her there.
  • Norse Mythology: Járnviðr (Jarnvidr), which means "Iron-wood", is a forest inhabited by giantesses and giant wolves. Norse heroic legend also has "Myrkviðr inn ókunna", "the unknown Mirkwood", a vast and little explored wood located somewhere in Eastern or Central Europe.

  • Ome Henk: The Oelie-Oelie forest is home to faeries, a witch, several sapient animals including a big bad wolf and the village of the Smurfs.

  • The Gamer's Alliance: The Land of the Living has had its share of ancient magical woods over the past ages. In the Third Age, the Survivor's Woods in Libaterra turn into a dark, magical forest when two rival Faerfolc settle into it and change it to suit their needs while enthralling giant spiders, nymphs, treants and wisps to do their bidding. Another mysterious magical forest is Kitsune Mori in Yamato where the secretive shapeshifting foxes known as the kitsune dwell.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Lost plays on the idea of the Lost Woods with the Hedge, another dimension that makes up the gap between Earth and Faerie. There are wonders in it, yeah, but it's also a predatory dimension full of hobgoblins and soul-rending thorns. And it's remarkably easy for ordinary humans to get lost in...
  • The Chronicles of Aeres: The setting is home to two notable enchanted forests. Unwanted visitors to either forest might find themselves wandering them aimlessly, looking for a way out.
    • Thuldruun has close ties to the Dream Land and is the home of the Twilight Elves, who specialize in the art of the Dream Weaver as a result.
    • Gruncrist is a favored stomping ground of the Gods of beasts and trickery, and is thus the birthplace of the gnomes and Wilderkind.
  • City of 7 Seraphs:
    • The Orchard District, specifically the Verge and Glarewood, is politically and physically unstable, with supernatural dangers and twisting landscapes that prevent anyone from feeling entirely safe.
    • Eventide Mire is a tangle of dark plants that seem to absorb light. The level of illumination is never above normal light, and at night it is always dark. There are many paths through the Eventide Mire, but none are reliable, due to the fey lords and ladies who wish to claim interesting wayfarers as prizes.
  • Exalted has the far East, surrounding the Elemental Pole of Wood. This serves as the source for the very concept of plantishness in Creation. The Eastern wilderness begins as simply normal — for the highly magical nature of the setting, at least — forests, but this eventually gives way to a vast sea of plant life stretching across Creation's eastern rim, where trees a mile in height tower over toadstools taller than grown men, strange forest tribes live in deep isolation, and bizarre creatures — ranging from exotic animals to forgotten experiments of the Primordials to unworldly things that wandered in from the Wyld — lurk in the shadows. Eventually, the trees grow so thick that the branches and leaves fill up what would be the sky, and the roots crowd out the earth itself, leaving nothing but an endless procession of trunks, roots, and branches.
  • Into the Woods: The titular woods function as this for the ensemble, where lecherous wolves, dwarves, princesses in towers, and talking, wish-granting trees powered by the spirit of your long-deceased mother reside. Of course, witches and giants are known to run amok outside the woods as well on occasion.
  • Legend of the Five Rings has the Shinomen Forest, which is almost completely unexplored and seemingly full of mysterious ruins that predate humanity. Legend holds that these were built by a race of snake-people who sleep within the forest. This turns out to be true, but is actually a good thing, as the snake-people are quite heroic.
  • Numenera:
    • The Westwood is a large forest of redwood trees taking up nearly the entirety of the kingdom of Navarene's western coast. It has a reputation for being infested with dangerous spirits and monstrous beasts, and as such has been completely uninhabited for most of its history. Recently, Navarene has begun settling it and building towns and roads within it, which has brought it in conflict with the spider-like culovas that live within it and viciously ward off trespassers.
    • The Ba-Adenu Forest is an enormous wilderness in the Beyond, large enough to be divided in three distinct biomes — dry forest, jungle and muddy swampland. It is inhabited by jiraskars (ferocious, predatory theropod dinosaurs) and a mysterious vampiric humanoid.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Golarion's forests tend to be vast, primal wildernesses beyond the control of the nations that claim the land they cover, and are often home to dangerous and unpredictable fey, green dragons and an assortment of predators such as owlbears and Savage Wolves. The full list of forests and the dangers each hides runs quite long, but highlights include the goblin-infested Chitterwood; the Grungir Forest, home of powerful fey courts and a legendary linnorm; the Fangwood, where the geography has a tendency to shift with the seasons and murderous redcaps and an ancient green dragon make the local orcs a secondary worry; the Shudderwood, already infamous for its werewolves before demonic incursions filled it with corrupted fey, mutated animals and rogue demons; the Lurkwood, where time doesn't flow right; and the enormous Verduran Forest, which straddles three nations and is home to druids, carnivorous plants and centaurs, in addition to all the usual forest denizens.
    • Among blights, evil and intelligent Blob Monsters that hate civilization and sapient thought, forest blights inhabit deep woodlands and specialize in actively turning their forest homes into weapons and deathtraps. In particular, plants with their domain will act like living things and attempt to clutch and grab at intruders, and the blights can control the wildlife of their home forests and set them against trespassers.
  • Planebreaker:
    • The Grove of Crows is formed by the accumulated power and malice of an aberration birthed from the Shadowfell. A chaotic, twisted glee suffuses the Grove of Crows, extending outward from the core. This quality is most obvious in a region called the Forest of Lost Faces, a dark forest of twisted trees where visitors risk losing memories, their eyesight or face.
    • Sorrowbloom Forest is home to a small population of fey who have agreed to put aside their differences to protect the oldest and most magical trees in the forest. They divert and confuse villagers who might attempt to cut down these trees for Count Alonzo. They don't dare harm the villagers for fear of direct reprisals by the count, but their actions have been successful enough for the past few years that Alonzo believes there are no unusual trees left in the forest.
  • Planegea:
    • Howlgrove is a wild wood, thick with wolves, said to be haunted by accursed wolf-men, whose bite spells death and whose hunger is immortal. Its offputting reputation makes it a favourite meeting place of scavengers and murderers.
    • The Slumbering Forest, an ancient woodland that long ago exiled its treants and dryads, has more than its share of monsters, enchantments and secrets. They say that lost hunters in the forest fall asleep, dream of taking root — and when they wake, they stretch their branches towards the heavens in search of the winter sun.
    • The Daggerwood is famous for its twisted treants and alluring spirits that haunt and tease the weak-willed into sinking deaths in oozing mud. It is home to outcasts, exiles, murderers and traitors.
    • The trees in the Nodhold are shrouded in constant fog, which hides the caves and subterranean passageways into Nod. This nexus of travel is a death sentence for the unprepared, with countless ways into the terrifying Nightmare World.
  • Raiders of the Serpent Sea: On only the clearest of days, along the northern coast of Turnfjall, a great forest of iron-leafed trees, called the Ironwood Forest, can be seen many miles inland, rising along the steep rock walls of the near-impenetrable mountain ranges. This forest has long been avoided by raiders, stories tell of strange creatures moving through its deep, dark woods, and it is home to the Witchking and his red-robed cohort of witches.
  • Ravenloft has Lost Woods in spades. Much of the southeastern Core (the main landmass) is covered in thick, primeval forests. Notable areas include Verbrek (full of savage werewolves), Kartakass (full of intelligent wolves that hunt humans by shapeshifting into seductive human forms), and Tepest (where the goblins are the least of your worries compared to The Fair Folk and the hags).
  • Scion: The Dark Forest is the manifestation of the very idea of the Lost Woods, filled with secrets and monsters. Creatures of myth, such as the titular Scions, can visit it through one of the many mortal forests it connects to by becoming completely lost but keeping their destination in mind.
  • The Strange:
    • The Forest of Perfidy which grew in the World Below of Starship Heinlein is inhabited by sinroots, sentient, mobile, aggressive tree-like creatures that use barbed roots to feed on blood.
    • The Gloomwood, part of the Sword Realms, is foreboding and shadowed, even when the sun is high. A bloodborne corruption burrowed up out of a hellish realm under the earth, filling a portion of the wood with gloom, evil, and vampires.
  • Summerland has this as a central motif — the world has been spontaneously covered by a supernatural forest called the Sea of Leaves, inhabited by sentient beasts, ghosts and spirits, eccentric hermits called the Lost, and savage Wild tribes, who have forgotten that they were once human. Those last two were normal people, but had their personalities overwritten by the Charm Person effect the Sea has on normal people (the Lost are treatable, the Wild are not). You play as a Drifter, a person immune to the call... which is probably worse than being normal, since it requires having such overwhelming trauma in one's past that you can't deal with normal people. The forest is noted to have a distinctly uncanny, unnaturally fecund, and often hostile air, with twisted and contorted trees casting perpetual gloom over dense tangles of undergrowth and vines that humans struggle to push through.
  • Warhammer: Much of the Old World is covered by dark, vast forests full of mutants, Beastmen, Minotaurs, giant wolves, giant spiders and worse. The citizens of the Empire and Bretonnia are advised to stay well out of the woods, and with good reason — wander into a forest, even one just outside town, and eventually you're bound to run into Beastmen or a nest of goblins or a troll or worse. Not that only evil things dwell there, mind — many forests are also home to unicorns.
    • In general, the Empire consists almost entirely of unbroken primeval forest with incidental tracts of towns and farmlands here and there, connected by a spread-out network of roads winding through the wilderness, some entirely roofed by old-growth canopy for considerable stretches. Much of the Empire's land is consequently only nominally under its control, and the many Beastmen warherds and forest goblin tribes thriving in its depths are a serious problem. This is less an issue for Bretonnia, where most woodland is farmed and coppiced and true forests only exist in a few concentrated spots, but those are still dangerous, primal places — the Forest of Arden is home to dragons, orc and goblin tribes, various monsters and a legendary Beastman warlord; however, while the Forest of Châlons's eastern reaches are ruled by more greenskins, it's also home to the enchanted pool where the Lady of the Lake dwells.
    • The Wood Elves reside in Athel Loren, a magical forest filled with forest spirits, from cruel dryads and vicious fairies to mighty treemen and forest dragons. Magic is thick in Athel Loren, and time flows oddly — if the Wood Elves don't kill trespassers, then they'll likely end up getting lost in the forest for days and come out like it's been years. The forest is divided in several realms, many with their own temporal peculiarities and takes on the trope: Modryn’s forests are shrouded in eternal night, the woods of Atylwyth are always locked in winter, and it is always summer daytime in the glades of Arranoc. The forest itself is implied to be a Genius Loci, granted sapience by the extreme levels of magic that permeate it and aware of what goes on beneath its eaves.
    • Laurelorn Forest, within the Empire, is home to a secondary population of wood elves known as the Eonir. It's not an otherworldly Genius Loci like Athel Loren is, but it's nonetheless a vast primordial forest cut through by few roads or towns — the Eonir make sure of that — and travelers permitted to go through it will find a twilit wilderness where the canopy blocks out most of the sun's light, animals seem far more intelligent and aware than they should, strange noises issue from the forest's depths and arm-like branches beckon to follow them away from the path.
    • One of the realms of the High Elven homeland, Avelorn, is thickly covered in ancient forests and home to a variety of magical creatures such as unicorns, spirits and treemen much like those found in Athel Loren. It's also noted to be the most innately magical of the High Elves' kingdoms. While the presence of High Elven civilization and it being the homeland of the Evergueen make it a much more benevolent take on this trope than the setting's other examples, Avelorn's forests are not without their dangers — the magic saturating them is more than capable of making incautious travelers lose their way, and likewise serves as a magnet for the monsters of the mountains looming over it; Avelorn is more prone to monster attacks than any other elven realm.
    • The 8th Edition rulebook includes rules for randomly determing what sort of unnatural woodland any given thicket of trees is, including copses where trees slumber fitfully and just at the edge of wakefulness or which are covered in colorful fungi with mind-clouding spores.
  • We Are All Mad Here: The Enchanted Forest is a large, verdant forest that typically shows up on maps under a variety of names, but few seem to be able to remember its name and just refer to it as the lost wood or the forgotten forest. If you ask people if they have been there, most will take a long moment to try to remember, and then forget the very question. While a few do remember being there, most aren't able to recall much of anything about their experiences inside it. This is probably for the better, as most things that happen inside the Enchanted Forest are not, in fact, good things to recall. Designed to be the proverbial and ultimate deep, dark woods of every fairy tale, characters can encounter their deepest fears and strongest foes, as well as magical allies, incredible treasures, big bad wolves, and anything and everything else they might expect along the path through the woods.
  • World War Cthulhu: The Colville National Forest was once home to many Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath and the results of their unnatural unions with humans — usually witches making pacts with these creatures in return for secrets of lore and transformation. The native Kalispel tribe spoke fearfully of the strange and monstrous Before People, who inhabited the woods before they came. Today, the area is barely populated, home to artist retreats and communes, with a number of private cabins whose inhabitants inevitably flee or become "inspired" and vanish, delving into the dark, foggy depths of the woods.

    Video Games 
  • Anbennar: While not all deep forests are magical (more so than anywhere else, at least), there are certainly some. The most prominent are the Deepwoods and the Domandrod (the arguably third most prominent, the Oldwoods, is actually a small remnant of the Deepwoods left over from a time when the Deepwoods extended far beyond its current borders), two forests that partly overlap with the Feyrealm and are or were (the Deepwoods' were severely weakened a few years before the game starts) protected by magical wards, and have special terrain associated with them.
  • Book Of Travels: The gloomy Charwood Forest and the eerie Jade Urn are two of the most western and thus the most mystical locations in the Braided Shore.
  • Darkwood takes place in a forest somewhere in Poland during 1987 that grows abnormally large trees, ones that blocked off the outside world from entering it. Many beings of eldritch nature wander the forest, but most of them are dangerous. Also, due to a mysterious plague, the wildlife has become increasingly mutated and even affects humans, turning them into savage beings. The Protagonist is just one amongst many people trying to survive, and the situation gets worse at nighttime when the creatures become more active.
  • Dragon: Marked for Death: Cadena Forest is a monster-infested coastal forest with plenty of half-flooded littoral caves, poisonous flora, and a two-headed dragon-like monster lurking in its depths.
  • Dragon Quest V has the Neverglade, a dense, thick, labyrinthine forest surrounded by natural barriers and inhabited by fairies which hides the gate to Faerie Lea.
  • The Elder Scrolls: Valenwood is the sacred homeland of the Bosmer (Wood Elves). Massive dense forests stretch as far as the eye can see and most Bosmeri settlements are connected only by narrow footpaths. Some of the trees there are even migratory, traveling to different regions of Valenwood depending on the season.
  • The Endless Forest: The entire game world is a boundless, enchanted forest dotted with ancient ruins, and home to magical deer.
  • Eternity: The Last Unicorn: The first area, Fensallyr Forest, is home to a powerful Nature Spirit called the Lord of the Forest, who blesses you with upgrades. However, it's also crawling with assorted monsters.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy V:
      • The Great Forest of Moore is a magical forest that was sealed off to outsiders to protect the crystals of Galuf's world and imprison Exdeath. It's home to forest sprites and a small variety of magical monsters, as well as a population of moogles that live underground. While the party is there, Exdeath returns to destroy the crystals and burn the forest down. Even after this, its magic allows Galuf's spirit to talk to Krile one last time and transfer his skills to her. After the worlds merge, the forest is reduced to a single grove around the Guardian Tree by the Desert of Shifting Sands, though the merge does restore the grove's plant life and the forest is said to be slowly recovering.
      • The forest section of the Interdimensional Rift is the forest around the Phantom Village in the single frozen moment when it was pulled into the rift. Nothing about this stopped time prevents the local magical nasties from attacking you as you traverse the woods and it's every bit the maze that the Great Forest of Moore was.
    • Final Fantasy X: The Macalania Woods are a mazelike forest whose trees shine with crystals that grow among their roots and branches. At the far end of the forest is a magical spring where Spheres can be created while the canopy has a giant crystal orb that can be used to restore the Celestial Weapons. All of this is somehow caused by Shiva's Fayth and in Final Fantasy X-2, the forest is slowly dying due to the loss of the Fayth.
    • Final Fantasy XII: Of the three forest regions, the Golmore Jungle and the Feywood are the most overtly magical:
      • Golmore Jungle is a dark forest home to the isolationist and xenophobic Viera, who weave barriers and illusions to drive intruders away. The Viera believe the forest to be a Genius Loci in its own right and worship it as such. Golmore is also guarded by a dragon restored to life by the local flora, lending some credence to this belief.
      • The Feywood is an ancient, high-altitude woodland heavily saturated with Mist. This trait has allowed many species of magical plant and monster that are extinct elsewhere to thrive while also keeping the area cold year-round. The densest areas of Mist conceal the way to Giruvegan, whose denizens allow only those they allow to meet them to pass through. It's also home to the Behemoth King, which is said to be a guardian of life in the Feywood.
    • Final Fantasy XIV: The Black Shroud is a forest ruled by elementals. These elementals only allow mortals to live in the forest if they avoid damaging the forest and attack anyone who runs afoul of them, though their influence doesn't extend far underground. After the Sixth Umbral Calamity, the elementals drove everyone out of the forest until a conjurer manage to communicate with them, leading to the founding of the city-state of Gridania.
  • Kingdom Hearts III: Kairi and Lea spend most of the time during the events of III training in the Secret Forest, a perpetually-sunset woodland where time flows differently than it does in the other worlds.
  • The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night: The Ancient Grove is a deep, unexplored forest untouched by civilization, shrouded in constant gloom by the canopies of its towering trees and by an ever-present shroud of fog. It has no intelligent natives, although plenty of aggressive animals and animated plants roam its shadows. Spyro travels through it in search of a tree he saw in his dreams, although, once he finds it, the tree pulls itself from the ground and attacks.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Lost Woods, the series' go-to forest area since the first game, are invariably some form of mazelike, foreboding wilderness of twisted, grinning trees at the edge of the map, haunted by wandering undead and shrouded in eternal fog. Sometimes they're simply mazelike; sometimes they will deposit Link back at their edge if a wrong turn is taken. Often, is Link can get past these barriers, he will find that the Woods' heart hide a secret, peaceful sanctuary — usually either the resting place of the Master Sword, the home of the Kokiri/Korok forest spirits and the Great Deku Tree, or both.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The Faron Woods are very peaceful and serene until the dark forces of the Twilight Realm corrupt them and fill them with goblins and monsters. There's also the Sacred Grove, where you follow a Skull Kid from Ocarina of Time to find the Master Sword in a clearing.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
      • The Lost Woods and Korok Forest return. As usual, attempting to just run through them will result in getting teleported back to the entrance while fog closes around Link and a mysterious voice murmurs "turn back!". Interestingly, the Woods aren't depicted as malevolent for once: very creepy, yes, but there isn't much actual danger in them and the Koroks can navigate them just fine (though they don't like to, on account of the aforementioned creepiness).
      • The Thyphlo Ruins, a forested area just north of the Lost Woods, are shrouded in eternal darkness that does not let in even a single ray of sun- or moonlight. Broken monuments, tree trunks and arching roots emerge only dimly from the gloom, and giant bats, skeletons and hungry wolves roam the shadows.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom:
      • The Lost Woods and Korok Forest return, but this time they have been corrupted by Gloom and can't be navigated at all; Link has to bypass it by traveling through the Depths from a nearby chasm until he can ascend through the roots of the great Deku Tree. Even then, both the tree and the resident koroks won't even acknowledge his presence until he defeats Phantom Ganon inside the Deku Tree.
      • The darkness over the Typhlo Ruins has now been lifted, but the forest has been overrun with mechanical monsters and hides several relics of the past behind puzzles for which Link needs the help of four of the Sages.
  • NOISZ: The Tacet Forest is infinite, with the only escape being through a set path. Karin leads you through the forest after you walk in circles for too long.
  • Ōkami: Agata Forest is a misty forest with a murky lake where, according to legend, the moonlight cannot be reflected because it was literally eaten by a big fish known as the Whopper.
  • Paper Mario:
    • Paper Mario 64: Forever Forest is haunted and home to a strange hermit, and its paths will twist to deposit travelers back outside unless followed very carefully.
    • Paper Mario: The Origami King: The Whispering Woods, the first area in the game, are filled with living trees and home to Grandsappy, an extremely old tree with the power to trap people forever in the forest if he so wishes — if he does, then all paths you take will lead you back to the center of the forest. There's also a magical spring there that will revitalize and renew whatever is dipped into it.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokemon Heart Gold And Soul Silver: The Forest area in the Safari Zone is, by default, populated primarily by Ghost-types, which count tree distinct varieties in the form of Ghastly, Haunter and Misdreavous to the single Grass- and Normal-types. The bizarre Psychic-type Mr. Mime is also encountered here.
    • Pokémon Black and White: Lostlorn Forest is shrouded in constant fog, and human intruders within it are constantly turned around and confused by the illusions of a Zoroark living there.
    • Pokémon X and Y: In the Winding Woods, the trees so thick little light reaches the ground, paths twist and turn in very strange ways and on occasion lead to different places depending on what direction you follow them down, and animated trees make their home.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield: The Glimwood Tangle is a dark wood where the only light is from giant glowing mushrooms. It's home to Fairy- and Psychic-types such as Impidimp and Hattenna and the unicorn-like Ponyta.
  • Sunless Skies: Traitor's Wood is a vast, dark and unsettling forest of giant Bronzewood trees. At its center lie the eerily silent Regent's Grave, which is the tomb of an important king, although scholars disagree on which is the one buried here. You might help them out by taking mutiple and dangerous expeditions in the woods to enter the Regent's Grave and solve the mystery.
  • The Tenth Line: The Indigo Tines are a dense, tangled evergreen forest home to multiple large packs of Savage Wolves, while the Hollow River Valley is also densely forested and the deciduous trees there survived Syx's poison seeping into everything with no environmental damage whatsoever.
  • Warden: Melody of the Undergrowth: The setting of the game is a forest that's full of magical creatures. With Nyona bound in chains in the dream world and unable to fulfill her duties as guardian spirit, the denizens have become hostile to outsiders.

    Web Animation 
  • Brackenwood: The Baby Planet of Brackenwood is covered pole-to-pole by a deep, trackless forest, home to many strange, magical beings.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: The forest next to Dr. McNinja's office is haunted and filled with various undead horrors. He hates the place.
    Alt Text: Doctor McNinja was not informed about the ghosts when he bought the property.
  • Charby the Vampirate: Kellwood Forest is home to all sorts of magical creatures, a large number of whom eat humans.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Gillitie Wood is home to a great variety of nature spirits, fairies and talking animals, as well as the Glass-Eyed Men, and is ruled (so to speak) by Coyote the Trickster. It used to exist in harmony with the Court, but after the two societies parted ways on bad terms and Coyote created a deep ravine to separate them, the people of Gillitie Wood made a point of destroying every building and trace of civilization on their side of the divide.
  • The Order of the Stick has the aptly named Wooden Forest, complete with witches, bandits and a dragon lair.
  • The Queen and the Woodborn: The Shimmerwood is an enchanted forest inhabited by creatures from Slavic folklore, and crossing the boundary demarcated by the stones bordering the Godsroad puts unwary mortals at the mercy — or lack thereof — of the titular Woodborn.

    Web Original 
  • Codex Inversus:
    • The Elsewhere Woods are filled with portals and spatial anomalies that periodically connect them to other parts of the world, and as a result their fauna and flora are surreal amalgams of different biomes where patches of jungle and conifer forest alternate with desert brambles fading into wet fields of reeds, all dotted with incongruous objects and structures from other lands and worlds. They have gained a cultural reputation as the place where lost or forgotten things end up.
    • The Ghost Forest is overlaid by a shard of the Ethereal Plane in the form of dense fog that functions as a distinct spatial dimension. Its native plants and animals have developed the ability to phase between regular and ethereal space, giving the impression of a forest inhabited by phantoms.
    • The Infinite Forest was once a paradisical wilderness in Heaven, which became overlaid with the material world and spatially folded in on itself during the Collapse. It has a discrete perimeter, but is either spatially infinite or just absurdly huge on the inside. It is extremely easy to become lost in it, and the center has never and perhaps can never be reached. Its outer edges are mostly just a normal forest, but as one heads deeper in spatial anomalies become more severe — straight paths loop back on themselves, gaps between branches and arching trees give views into different parts of the forest than what is visible around them, and animals vanish behind trees and reappear from behind others meters away. Mutation is also common in local flora, usually in the form of body parts repeating in fractal patterns and in the birth of many-headed hydras. People who spend too long inside it become increasingly obsessed with it and eventually allow themselves to become permanently lost among the trees.
  • Kingmaker has the Seltsamwald, a forest on Earth that has been overrun by species from other dimensions.
  • Neopets has the Haunted Woods, a forest of mostly dead trees that mostly serves as the website's Halloweentown setting, being full of ghosts, vampires, werecreatures, and other classic halloween stuff. Post-Colony Drop, Faerieland has become a more naturalistic example of this, becoming a more ordinary forest aside from the presence of the Faeries and their city.
  • Noka: The Tensian Forest north of Sterling is teeming with gates that periodically allow anything from simple steam to outright Eldritch Abominations into the normal world. Located in the forest is the guild HQ of Dire, who devote an entire division to patrolling the forest 24/7 for anything... terrifying. The only reason the guild seems to stay in the forest is for its beautiful scenery (along with the fact that the officers of guild possess the skill and strength to handle anything within the forest).
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-416, the "Infinite Woods": An intersection of six-dimensional space in our three-dimensional environment, any foot travel inside of it renders the traveler unable to leave by foot. The only way of safely extracting a person in it is via air-lift. GPS trackers on personnel who enter the woods show their objective rate of traversal falling off to zero the further they go into them, even if their subjective experience is that of maintaining a constant speed. The forest itself is rendered particularly surreal by the total absence of animal life and the fact that its flora is made up of plants with no business growing together, such as joshua treesnote , baobabsnote , wollemi pinesnote  and manchineelsnote .
    • SCP-860 is a key that causes doors to open into a foggy and heavily forested Pocket Dimension. It's haunted by at least one Animalistic Abomination that does not like visitors and likes attempts to destroy the doors to and from the place even less. There also seem to be other anomalies about the place.
    • SCP-1660 is a decorative lamp that creates a portal to a forested Pocket Dimension containing several unique plant and animal species and surrounded by an impenetrable wall. One of the animal species is sapient and its members view the Foundation as guardian spirits for saving them from safarigoers brought there by Marshall, Carter, and Dark.
    • SCP-4000 is a Pocket Dimension forest inhabited by The Fair Folk, neither of which can be referred to by the same name more than once, as giving the place or its inhabitants a name gives them power over the visitor.
  • The Wanderer's Library: The Ravelwoods, described in detail in The Journal of Aframos Longjourney, are technically a universe in their own right consisting of a seemingly endless enchanted forest containing every type of woodland imaginable, from the traditional temperate wood to frozen taiga to rainforest. Their depths are home to an endless variety of strange creatures and full of magical sights and phenomena, from streams that run uphill to a mirage city always on the horizon to the appropriately named Swampsea.
  • Whateley Universe: The Grove near Whateley Academy. The spirits there will happily do favors for Fey, who's the reincarnation of an ancient Sidhe queen, and respect at least some of her friends, but the average human is still very much not welcome. Campus security has an eye on that forest and makes an effort to intercept people (including students) heading there without authorization for generally good reasons.
  • The Other Wiki has its own article on the subject of enchanted forests, discussing their use in folklore, chivalric romance and recent literature, as well as the sorts of things you are likely to find living in such forests.

    Web Videos 
  • Brocéliande is set in the mystical forest of Brocéliande, home to elves, korrigans and other feys, and refuge of druids, witches and others opposing the new order of King Arthur and the Grail Quest.
  • Empires SMP Season 2: The Evermoore is a thick, swampy woodland filled with mangrove trees that are said to be good for containing and amplifying magic. It's also said to have cursed fog that claims the souls of travellers who don't make it out of it alive.
  • Marble Hornets: Rosswood Park fits the bill, complete with Alien Geometries, trees as far as the eye can see and an Eldritch Abomination from The Slender Man Mythos seemingly residing within.

    Western Animation 
  • The Dragon Prince: The Moonshadow Forest is a vast woodland in the magical lands of Xadia. Magic permeates everything there, and as a result the forest is filled with exotic plant life such as musical lilies and gigantic mushrooms. Even its soil is charged with enough magical energy to set off Callum's magic sensor.
  • Gravity Falls: There's the forest around the eponymous town, thick with towering, pillar-like trees and home to many strange creatures.
  • Harvey Beaks takes place in a magical forest populated by animal townsfolk and mysterious creatures.
  • Hilda: Hilda's cottage and the city of Trolberg border a mystical forest filled with enormous trees and forest giants.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The Everfree Forest is a stretch of twisting trees covered in moss and vines and home to a menagerie of dangerous, magical plants and animals —kaiju-sized bears, cockatrices, manticores, parasprites, a dragon, poison joke, literal timber wolves, Roc Birds and the like all live in the forest. To the ponies, however, the very scariest thing about the Everfree Forest is that the laws of nature work differently there than they do outside of its boundaries; the plants grow, animals take care of themselves, and the clouds move — all on their own! — as ponies take care of those things everywhere else.
  • Over the Garden Wall: The Unknown is largely covered in this. The Beast lurks in the shadows of these woods, and his Edelwood trees grow in them.
  • The Saga of Noggin the Nog: The Great Black Forest of Troldeskow is a brief obstacle in "The Ice Dragon". The trees move around, allowing no paths and confounding any who enter.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: The Whispering Woods, which stand between the badlands of the Fright Zone and Bright Moon. It's a mysterious place which interferes with any scanners that brought within it, and the landscape seems to shift and change, getting visitors lost and turned around, which is why the Horde have never managed to get through it.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM): The Great Forest, where Knothole itself is located. Although not magical, the foliage is so thick that Robotnik cannot move his machines through it to find the Freedom Fighters. The show's somewhat green message means that the plots of a few episodes have him trying to remove this problem through various nasty methods.
  • Sonic Prime has The Boscage Maze which is a jungle that’s home to the scavengers, Thorn and her giant flicky, and, well, who knows what else.
  • Trollz has the Haunted Woodz, a repository of magic and mysterious creatures where the ruins of the old trolls' world is located. Simon and Snarf tend to hang around in the Woodz to concoct their schemes, and the main characters visit infrequently to practice magic or make discoveries.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mystical Forest


Athel Loren

Athel Loren is an ancient magical wilderness, inhabited and guarded by spirits and elven hunters.

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Example of:

Main / EnchantedForest

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