CROP circles in Wiltshire have been mystifying researchers for the past 25 years and a new exhibition has been created to shed light on the unexplained phenomenon.

While some are believed to be manmade using ropes and planks of wood, others are unexplained and Monique Klinkenbergh and Andreas Müller have meticulously researched the history behind them for their exhibition at St Peter’s Church in Marlborough.

One of the first and most famous examples appeared in East Field, Alton Barnes, owned by Tim and Polly Carson in July 1990. The 600ft pictogram sparked a global frenzy into whether it was the work of paranormal activity and appeared on one of Led Zeppelin’s album covers.

Many others have been reported in the county at Avebury, Beckhampton and Fyfield, with the most recent being recorded at Winterbourne Stoke Down near the Stonehenge Visitor Centre yesterday.

The intricate formations appear overnight and while spectacular to some, can leave farmers between £500-£1,000 out of pocket because of the damage it causes to crops, not just from the design but from visitors treading on the rest of the crops eager to get a glimpse.

Mr Carson said: “You get a bit fed up of it. We’ve had over 120 in the last 25 years. It’s not dissimilar to what Banksy does. Some people call it graffiti, he calls it artwork and I suppose the people that do this call this artwork but I call it damage.”

Police treat the formations as vandalism and officers often station themselves in spots they are likely to appear.

“For farmers they are a curse but for researchers and visitors they are a gift,” said Ms Klinkenbergh, who runs a crop access scheme, providing compensation to farmers who open their land to visitors to see the crop circles in return for a donation.

She added: “Our inspiration to organise this exhibition is to present more of the unknown facts to the general public to make clear that we are dealing, in some cases, with an authentic, mysterious and misunderstood phenomenon.

“Another major aim is to bring the concerns of the farming community to the attention of the general public and an attempt to find a workable solution to help those farmers who are willing to allow access to visitors who often travelled long distances to Wiltshire to experience the phenomenon.”

The multimedia exhibition, which was unveiled tonight, will run until August 28 and includes pictures, recordings and explores theories such as the crops having healing powers as well as orbs of light being seen and buzzing sounds being heard before the formations appear.

Entry to the exhibition at St Peter’s Church in Marlborough High Street is free. It is open Monday-Saturday 10am to 4.30pm and from 10am to 3pm on Sundays.