12 Fascinating Crooked Forest Facts

Did you know that one of the most fascinating forests in the world is located in Poland?

In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of Crooked Forest facts, one of the most peculiar forests on the planet!

1. It’s located in the northwest of Poland

The crooked forest is located in the West Pomerania region, also called voivodeship, of Poland in the northwest of the country. This area is considered to be one of the greenest regions of Poland which has many woodlands and also many beaches near the Baltic Sea.

The nearest town is Gryfino, which is located just a few kilometers north of the forest and has a population of just over 20,000. It’s located on the eastern branch of the Oder river and about 20 kilometers south of the largest city of West Pomerania, Szczecin.

Crooked forest nearby bridge over the Oder
Oder Bridge in Gryfino / StasiÓ Stachów / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en

2. It’s located in a very small Polish village

The forest is located just outside of the borders of the town of Gryfino in a village called Nowe Czarnowo. This is a very small village with a population of just over 600 inhabitants.

In the vicinity of the forest, there’s also the Dolna Odra Power Station. The Oder forms the natural border of Poland and Germany as well.

Crooked forest aerial view
Aerial of Crooked Forest / Zenon Korzeb / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

3. It’s not really a forest

As you can see from the aerial view of the forest, it’s not that big. What we refer to as being the “Crooked Forest” is really only a grove of trees inside this forest.

This grove of trees consists of about 400 pine trees that all have a similar peculiar J-shape, with a much larger number of “normal” trees surrounding them.

crooked forest view
The tree grove / Artur Strzelczyk / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

4. The trees were planted in the 1930s

Nobody knows exactly who planted these trees, but these trees have been studied and it was confirmed that they were planted in the 1930s.

It was also discovered that they took their peculiar shape, for whatever reason, after growing normally for about 7 to 10 years.

5. The trees are world-famous for their peculiar shape

One of the most interesting Crooked Forest facts is that these trees grow normally just above the ground and then suddenly take a 90-degree turn. Just about all of these trees are bending towards the north as well.

After growing sideways for about 1 to 3 meters (3 to 9 feet), they grow back upward just as a normal pine tree would.

What could have caused this weird curvature?

crooked forest shaped trees

6. Nobody really knows what happens

Because there are no witnesses and nobody knows exactly who planted the trees, nobody knows what happened. This means that the Crooked Forest remains a mystery.

This doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t any theories as to what could have happened. One is more unlikely than the other, and only one of them really makes sense.

7. Did heavy snow make the trees bend?

The first theory revolves around a snowstorm passing by and covering part of the forest with snow.

This could have resulted in a serious strain on the saplings which might have caused them to bend. This doesn’t really explain why the trees surrounding the grove are perfectly normal though.

After all, how likely is it that only part of the forest would be affected by a snowstorm?

crooked forest facts

8. Did tanks run over the forest during World War II?

Another theory is equally unlikely to have happened but is still proposed as a reason as to why the trees are bent the way they are.

Some people claim that the forest was run over by German tanks as they started their invasion of Poland in 1939. The only thing that makes sense is that the time frame as to when the trees started behaving oddly perfectly matches with scientific research.

But what are the odds that these trees all have this particular shape because of heavy tanks? And why didn’t all trees that suffered this trauma grow back the same way but only the ones in this small grove?

9. This is the most likely theory

The most likely thing that happened to the trees in the Crooked Forest is simply human intervention. People planted these trees and somehow managed to bend them in a particular way.

The reason they did this was most probably to use the wood for building a special type of furniture or perhaps even ships, something that’s even supported by a description related to wooden vessel building which mentions:

English “Hedgerow” Oak was the best for the naturally curved timbers used to strengthen the ship internally. Trees were even deliberately bent in certain ways so as to ‘grow’ a needed set of curved timbers. These curved timbers were known as ‘compass’ timbers.”

Excerpt from Wooden Vessel Ship Construction.

Nobody really knows how they managed to do this, or what tools they used.

fun crooked forest facts

10. Hitler might have had a stake in the outcome of the Crooked Forest

So why didn’t the people who bent these trees cut them? After all, that would have been the purpose, right?

Here we come back to the time period that these trees were planted, which was somewhere in the early 1930s. This means that a few years before Hitler invaded Poland and started World War II, the trees were manipulated, only for the people doing it to abandon the project the moment that the war started.

11. North America is full of similar types of trees

One of the most remarkable Crooked Forest facts is that these trees aren’t the only trees that have been manipulated to be bent a certain way. North America is full of these types of trees and is referred to as “trail trees.”

These trees were bent intentionally a certain way by Native Americans to serve as signs to mark directions. This basically means that these trees served as road signs.

Pretty cool, right!?

Trail tree in North America
Trail tree in North America.

12. A forest in Russia has even more peculiarly shaped trees

An even more fascinating forest can be found in Russia which contains trees that are even more strangely bent. This forest is called the “Dancing Forest” and is located in Kaliningrad Oblast.

The forest is named this way because of its unusually twisted trees which are twisted in multiple shapes and patterns, including rings and spirals.

While it’s not 100% certain how these trees got this shape, it’s generally assumed that a specific type of moth called the “pine shoot moth” causes the trees to take these types of shapes.

Trees in the Dancing Forest in Russia
Dancing Forest trees / Man77 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en