Drawing of a heavily-marked tree at Newbattle Abbey, Midlothian by artist Tansy Lee Moir
Overlooked and oft-forgotten, carvings on trees and tree bark are a fascinating part of human cultural history. They go back in time to prehistoric times and were of significance to people such as aboriginals who lived in harmony with land and landscape. As herding and pastoral cultures developed, tree markings were important in navigating through landscapes and for recording times, places, people and incidents. A marked tree in northern Sweden in the 1800s and recorded by Rikard Andersson, states in a local dialect ‘We have lost three cows – have you seen them?’. However, tree carvings occur widely in woods and parks today, from inner city Victorian parks to great parkland landscapes in our British countryside.
Marked tree at Miry Greaves Shrogg Wood, West Yorks (Ian Rotherham, 2013)