If you, like us, grew up watching fantasy films then you are in for a real treat. The New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) in England has released a new online database that tracks and curates symbols and writings on trees, including witch marks, that date back to hundreds of years. By Amitha Ameen

 

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Sprawling over 28,924.5 hectares (roughly 71,473 acres) and located in the south of England, the New Forest National Park is one of the largest and last remaining unenclosed pasture land and forest in the region. What was once a royal hunting ground for William the Conqueror, today, remains as a habitat for many rare species of mammals, birds and trees.

Recently, the New Forest NPA released an online database that lets users scour through more than hundreds of sightings of graffiti and markings etched on trees, including ones that seek protection from witches. From initials and dates to poems and royal hunting marks, a plethora of signage can be found throughout the park, which now warns people from carving on trees in present times.

 

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Apart from the witch marks, which are thought to have been inscribed to ward off evil spirits, the other most common sign is that of the King’s Mark, which is said to have been carved to identify trees that were then reserved for building Royal Navy ships.

The goal behind documenting these graffiti by the NPA was to maintain and preserve these historic records because the longevity of these trees is already threatened due to their age and climate change. The database will help present and future generations to always get glimpses of these trees long after they are gone as well.

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