I happened on an interesting website recently, www.ukeconet.org showcases the social history of woodlands through projects such as Tree Stories and Industrial Woodlands. This prompted me to have another ramble through the Lasgarn Wood, near Abersychan. Perched on a ridge of carboniferous limestone this woodland is full of industrial archaeology along with tree cravings of a more contemporary nature. Shallow mine workings sit close to a remnant dram line that was once used to transport limestone across the valley to The British Ironworks. Associated with these workings are other features such as drystone walling and a curious circular stone pit.
I've documented tree carvings in the woodlands around my home before. Some of the inscriptions are found way off the beaten track in unexpected locations. Few are beyond that of peoples initials but some have attempted to be a little more creative. The one above carved into a tree close to an abandoned mine working appears to depict a small hat wearing character with the associated word, lost.! Close by was another inscription that clearly marks the year as 1963. Not an earth shattering discovery I would grant, but for me this illustrates the role woodlands once played as a venue for recreation in the south Wales former mining communities. The disappointing aspect of all is that no one seems very bothered about cataloging these tree markings for posterity.