THE New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) is calling for sightings of historic “tree graffiti” – some of which dates back hundreds of years.

This will help to map and record the lost and forgotten stories of the New Forest woodlands in a new database which the public can access. It will allow researchers and landowners to schools and community groups see how people have interacted with trees over the centuries.

Initials, dates, pictures, poems and royal marks can all be found throughout the New Forest. These marks have been left by many different people, including foresters, Second World War soldiers, Kingsmen and even those wanting protection from witches. Among the most common tree graffiti in the New Forest is the King’s Mark.

Lawrence Shaw, archaeologist at the New Forest NPA said: “To date, there’s no central record of the known tree graffiti found across the New Forest. We want to be able to refer back to these glimpses into the New Forest’s past, even when the trees themselves are lost.”

Lucy Saunders, assistant tree officer at the New Forest NPA added: "The New Forest is lucky to have the densest population of ancient and veteran trees in Western Europe. These come with a lot of stories, as well as old graffiti you might not find anywhere else in the country."

The New Forest NPA is only looking to record the tree graffiti found across public woodlands in the New Forest, and asks people not to enter private land.

When out for a stroll, take a photograph of any marks that you find and share them via along with their location.