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The letters CRVE can be clearly seen among the trees of the Brechfa Forest, Wales

Letters in the forest

Our Ordnance Survey vertical aerial photography collections comprises 9 inch x 9 inch prints, and 20 inch x 20 inch enlargements. They reveal an amazing level of detail, and show features in the landscape that are not visible at ground level. In addition to archaeological and architectural sites, there may be topographical reasons for an unusual shape, as seen from above.

The letters CRVE can be clearly seen among the trees of the Brechfa Forest, Wales

The letters CRVE can be clearly seen among the trees of the Brechfa Forest.


However, during a recent trawl through the collection, an obvious man-made shape, deep in the Brechfa Forest was spotted.

The photograph was taken by the Ordnance Survey during a east-west flight at 8,100 feet on 28 April 1976. At OS NGR SN559315 within the regimented rows of trees, there are clearings making up the shape of four letters CRVE. We estimate that each letter is about 55 metres in length. A great deal of effort was used to create this feature over forty years ago, yet its origins and purpose are shrouded in mystery.

By Medwyn Parry


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Medwyn Parry
7 years ago

Thank you for your replies and comments. After a bit of searching in the archive, I found a vertical aerial photograph of the same area, taken by the RAF in 1946, and clearly shows GR VI. Therefore, I assume it is a tribute to King George VI.

Chris Twigg
7 years ago

Theres one I’m Cleveland for a coronation, so perhaps something similar http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/677224

sally bere
sally bere
7 years ago

Hi Medwyn, Im from Wiltshire & there are symbols planted into forestry plantation there too, which are only visible on aerial photographs. Including (from memory ) GR celebrating a coronation. Thought to be a modern take/continuation of the chalk cut figures which includes modern military insignia. Good luck with your research & well spotted!

7 years ago

Could it be GRV1 for George 6th?


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