Back to topics Back to trees The Druids

The Yew

The Fortingall Yew

Robert the Bruce's Yew

Stevenson's Yew

The Original Irish Yew

The Borrowdale Yew

The Umbrella Yew at Levens Hall

The Ankerwycke Yew at Runnymede

The Crowhurst Yew

The Selborne Yew

The Ashbrittle Yew

The Buttington Yew

The Gresford Yew

The Pulpit Yew

The Llangernyw Yew

Pennant Melangel Yews

Dafydd ap Gwilym's Yew

The Bleeding Yew of Nevern

Aberglasney Yew Tunnel

The Bettws Newydd Yew

The Wallace Yew

The Great Yews at Crom

The Bowthorpe Yew


Yew Leaves

Yew (Taxus) is a small genus of eight species which are all very similar. The height rarely exceeds fifty feet and for solitary trees, the width often exceeds the height. They are distributed throughout he Northern temperate region and as far south as Sumatra and Central America. Taxus Baccata, the common Yew, is a dense, dark evergreen with bright green spring growth. Male and female flowers open in early spring and are usually borne on separate trees. The seed is partly enclosed by a bright, scarlet, fleshy cup, the aril and are mostly distributed by birds. In the autumn, it bears red fruits loved by birds but poisonous to humans, pets and livestock.

It is quite slow growing (about a foot a year) so it makes an ideal conifer hedge. Once it reaches the required height it is easy to maintain. Yew is very easy to grow, it is shade tolerant and very hardy. The Yew, however, is not a true conifer owing to the lack of resin and its red fruits. It likes all soils, particularly alkaline ones. It needs plenty of water in the first couple of seasons (ideally a leaky pipe system) but it should not sit in waterlogged soil.

Yews often send down so-called aerial roots which help to support the crown, and these can even occur inside the hollowed-out trunks of old Yew trees. In time these can form full-sized trunks which stand inside the old one. The old, hollow trunks are not necessarily weaker - in fact they are often stronger and more flexible than a solid trunk. However, this hollowing process which Yews are prone to, destroys the rings, making it difficult to assess the age of the tree.

Practical Uses

Yew wood is often known as "iron wood" because poles made from the wood of this slow-growing and therefore close gained tree often outlast metal ones. The wood is flexible and water-resistant. A Yew longbow about 5,300 years old was found with The so-called "iceman" while Yew longbows were crucial in victories by the English over the Scots and French in the 15th and 16th centuries. The oldest Yew artefact so far found is a spear dating from around 150,000 years ago. When the Yew foundations of some buildings in Venice were taken out they were refurbished and sold to the building trade. There are Yew trees still living near Neolithic tumuli (burial mounds) in Europe which have been dated to between 1000 and 3000 years old and the oldest Yew fossils are around 200 million years old. The genetic structure of the Yew has not changed in the last 15 million years. It is not surprising, then, that the Yew is the "World Tree" in many religions.

The Yew in Natural Healing

The Yew simply does not figure in natural healing. Virtually every part of the Yew is poisonous owing to the presence of toxicantin and consuming as little as 50 to 100 grams of chopped leaves would be fatal to an adult. Culpeper simply cautions against the tree's use under any circumstances. Even in the few instances where the plant could be useful medicinally, he points out that there are safer alternatives.

However in the early 1980s it was discovered that a substance derived from the tree, paclitaxel, is a powerful anti-cancer drug. This is now partly synthetically produced. A homoeopathic tincture is also made from young shoots and the berry flesh to treat a variety of ailments including cystitis, headache and neuralgia.

Once again, I would remind you that personally I have no medical training whatsoever and would not recommend following any of the treatments mentioned in these articles without consulting a qualified pratitioner. These comments are presented for their intrinsic interest only.

The Yew in Myth and Folklore

According to Tree Yoga (see acknowledgements below) the key words related to the energy of the Yew are rebirth, destiny, timelessness and eternity

the 13th rune A number of ancient Celtic tribes and communities were named after the Yew, including the Eurobones and the Eurobovices, and also the Iberians from "ibe" meaning "yew". The ancient name for Ireland is "Lerne", meaning "Yew Island", "yew" is also the name of the 13th rune in the old Norse rune alphabet "Futhark". The 13 rune is called "ihwaz" or "eiwaz" meaning "Yew". It represents death and rebirth.

The Nordic Tree of Life, Yggdrasil, was also probably a Yew rather than an ash. In Norse mythology, Odin and his brothers thrust Ymir into the Yawning Void and made the world from his body. They set the sea around the world and planted the Ash Yggdrasil to hold it in place. Although the tree in question has come to be recognised as an Ash, it is described in their Icelandic scriptures, the Eddas, as a "winter-green needle ash". The trouble with that is, the ash is not evergreen and does not have needles. It seems that Ash was a later mis-interpretation and that Yggdrasil was actually a Yew tree. The Norse word ask can either mean an Ash tree or "pointed". so the correct interpretation is probably "a pointed evergreen tree with needles" - in other words, a Yew. Further confirmation of this is that in a younger Scandinavian rune set, yr there is a rune directly identified with the Yew which is identical with the stone-age symbol for the roots of the tree of life.

In Japan, the yew is called Ichii, the "Tree of God" and is connected with the creator gods and their mountain-top abodes.

While Yggdrasil indicates the "seed of Odin" and therefore relates to creation, it can also mean "I-carrier", supporter of the self while The oldest European names for the tree derive from the Germanic Iwe or Iwa, otherwise Ihhe or Ihha, the first person singular, the self. Odin climbing the universal tree is the shaman in search of himself.


The Yew at Fortingall

The Fortingall Yew

The Fortingall Yew

Believed to be the most ancient tree in the United Kingdom and possibly in the world, the Fortingall Yew has been estimated at between 3,000 and 5,000 years old. It stands in the geographical centre of Scotland. Fortingall is a small village in the heart of Perthshire, at the entrance to Glen Lyon, not far from Loch Tay. and about 8 miles west of Aberfeldy, Perthshire. Free public access to the tree is available all year round. Described by Loudon in 1854 as being "a mere shell, through which funeral processions were accustomed to pass", its trunk is now in several sections and without knowing the history, it is not obvious that it is a single tree. In the last few hundred years, as its fame grew, souvenir hunters began to take large sections of the tree and eventually a wall was built around it to create a quiet space where its growth can continue undisturbed. Some of its branches only survive because they are propped up. The church now standing beside it is relatively modern but close by Fortingall is a Neolithic cairn, a standing stone and the site of a medieval homestead.

There is a local tradition that Pontius Pilate was born near the yew and spent part of his childhood there before he got blamed for the death of Jesus. However, this has to be disputed. The tree is old enough have been growing at the time but the Roman invasion of Britain did not begin until 43AD. Julius Caesar landed in southern Britain in 55BC but he did not advance into Scotland.

Robert the Bruce's Yew

On private land near Tarbet, Argyll and perched on a rocky outcrop on the Western shore of Loch Lomond, this ancient Yew has associations with Robert the Bruce.

In 1306 King Robert the Bruce met with two defeats in a row: the first was Methven Wood by the Earl of Pembroke; the second was at Dalrigh by McDougall of Lorne trying to avenge the death of Red Comyn at Bruce's hand. According to legend The Bruce took shelter here while being pursued by his enemies after he had escaped from the battle with McDougall.

The Bruce and two hundred of his followers had spent the day ferrying themselves across the loch in a leaky rowing boat supplied by Sir James Douglas, one of Bruce's closest friends. The boat could only hold three of them at a time. Bruce, one of his supporters and an oarsman, made the first crossing with the rest of the army ferried across throughout the night and next day. According to legend, Bruce entertained his troops by the yew tree until all the army was across.

There is good news for the future of the tree, which was old in Bruce's time and is close to its two thousandth year. Tree expert Roddy McGregor gently drove small sensor pins into the old tree that relayed information to a laptop computer. Fifty-eight percent was diagnosed as decayed, while normal growth was gauged at 21%. The rest of the tree was considered to be restorable. He concluded that the main problem was the lack of light getting to the tree but some of the nearby foliage and neighbouring trees are cut back to allow more sunlight to reach the tree, things should remarkably improve and it should be around for centuries to come.

Also, DNA from the tree is to be used along with others to help form part of a unique hedge at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens. So clones of the tree should be around for at least a millennium.

Stevenson's Yew

Robert Louis Stevenson was born in a house at 8 Howard Place, Edinburgh, a section of Inverleith Row but he lived for part of his childhood with his maternal grandmother at Colinton Manse in Dell Road, Edinburgh. He played in the branches of a Yew at Colinton Manse, which is at least several centuries old and is recorded in 1630 in the Kirk Sessions minutes. The remains of his swing still hang from one of the branches.

He describes the tree in These words:

"A Yew, which is one of the glories of the vilage.
Under the circuit of its wide, black branches, it was always dark and cool,
and there was a green scurf over all the trunk,
among which glistened the round, bright drops of resin."

Although the tree stands in the private grounds of Colinton Manse, it can be viewed by the public from the adjacent churchyard. Trees connected to Stevenson, including this one, have been added to a list of heritage trees compiled by the city council to highlight important specimens

The Original Irish Yew

The Irish Yew, Taxus Baccata 'Fastigiata' is a compact, upright tree which now occurs throughout the United Kingdom, often in churchyards and gardens. The first Irish Yew was a random genetic mutation which occurred around 1770. A sharp-eyed farmer, George Willis, tenant of the Earl of Eniskillin, came across two of them while hunting in the Cuileagh Mountains in Fermanagh. He removed the seedlings, grew one on his farm which eventually died and gave the other to the Earl, which flourished. Propagated cuttings came onto the market in 1820 and were widely planted throughout the nineteenth century under the name "Florence Court Yew".

The Earl's original tree still survives and is in the care of the Northern Ireland Forest Service. It stands in the Florence Court Forest Park off the A32, roughly seven miles south of Eniskillen. There is free public access throughout the year via a well-signposted network of footpaths.

the Borrowdale Yew The Borrowdale Yew

Three of the four trees survive, nestling in the Cumbrian Fells, of Wordsworth's poem of 1803, "yew Trees". The fourth was lost in a storm in 1883. The three survivors and the remains of the fourth are now in the care of the National Trust.

'But worthier still of note
Are those fraternal Four of Borrowdale
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove;
Huge trunks! and each particular trunk a growth
Of intertwisted fibres serpentine
Up-coiling, and inveterately convolved'

To visit the trees take the B5289 from Keswick towards Buttermere. At Seatoller turn left onto a minor road to Seathwaite and park at Seathwaite farm. Cross the field to the west of the car park and turn right. The tree is 200 yards further on.

The Umbrella Yew at Levens Hall

Another Lake District tree, this Yew can be found at Levens Hall 5 mile south of Kendal off the A6. It is only 5 minutes drive north west off junction 36 of the M6. The gardens are open Sundays to Thursdays from 10am to 5pm (last entry 4.30pm) between mid-April and mid-October.

This is the largest Yew in a garden which is world famous as the finest and earliest example of topiary in Britain and it contains over 100 topiary shapes and a Beech hedge.

The gardens were begun in 1694 and the owner, Colonel Grahme, engaged a Monsieur Guillaume Beaumont to design it. The Yew itself may predate the gardens and is thought to be about 400 years old.

It is interesting to note that in the 300-odd years that the gardens have existed for, there have only been ten head gardeners.

The Ankerwycke Yew at Runnymede

the Ankerwycke Yew at Runnymede Having stood for around 2,000 years by the river Thames within sight of Runnymede, where it was a silent witness to the signing and oathing of Magna Carta by King John in 1215, This tree is within the grounds of the now ruined priory of Ankerwycke. Henry VIII is said to have met Anne Boleyn beneath the tree in the 1530s.

From the M25 Junction 13 take the Staines Road (B376) North Westerly towards Wraysbury. Turn left into, appropriately, Magna Carta Lane. Park at the Ankerwycke farm buildings. An information board and green waymarkers lead you through a kissing gate to Poplar Avenue. Cross a brick bridge and follow the path on the left for another 33 yards.

The Yew came into the protection of the National Trust in 198 as a result of action by the Ankerwycke Action Group, when the site was threatened by development work close by.

The Crowhurst Yew

There is a door into the hollow trunk of this ancient Yew in Crowhurst's 12th. century St. George's churchyard, near Lingfield in Surrey. (Note that this is Crowhurst in Surrey not Crowhurst in East Sussex

Although the first note about the Yew dates from a parish record of 1630, it is nevertheless reckoned to be about 4,000 years old. Churchyard Yews often pre-date the existing church, marking sites previously held to be sacred and over which the church was built. In 2002, the Tree. Council named the Crowhurst Yew one of its “Fifty Great British trees". Both John Evelyn and John Aubrey measured the giant yew and records show that it grew just 18 inches in girth in 354 years.

A letter in an old copy of the Times claimed that a cannonball found within the trunk had been there since the civil war. Despite its age the Yew at Crowhurst is in very good health.

The Selborne Yew

On 25th January, 1990, this ancient Yew tree standing in St. Mary's churchyard, in Selborne, Hampshire, was blown over in a gale, bringing both medieval and human remains to the surface. After that, an unsuccessful attempt was made to replant the tree while at the same time reducing the crown to decrease the loading on the trunk. As it was re-erected a water pipe burst helping to water the roots and the tree carried on for a few years but is now dead. However, the stump remains, now covered in honeysuckle and ivy and making an ideal wildlife habitat, while a Silver Birch has taken root at the to of the stump. In the words of the current vicar, the Reverend John Preston: "With new life sprouting from its heart, the famous Yew of Selbourne lives on."

With a trunk girth of 26 feet, the tree is reckoned to be 1400 years old. However, a slice of the biggest intact branch preserved in the church dates back to the 1500s. The trunk was very much bigger than this 2 foot diameter branch, but like many old Yews it has hollowed out making ring-counting to establish the age impossible. It may, therefore, be older than current estimates.

John Newland achieved local celebrity status in the village during his lifetime during the "swing riot" in Selborne, in 1830. The 'Trumpeter' of Selborne led the attack on the Selborne workhouse, blowing his horn, and then escaped capture by hiding up on the Hanger which overlooks the village. He was buried in a place of honour under the famous Selborne yew, where to this day a stone marks his grave.

The Ashbrittle Yew

Accessed through a series of country lanes winding through Somerset, the village of Ashbrittle is home to a 3000 year old English Yew, (Taxus baccata). A plaque near the tree proudly proclaims: "Generations of local people have cherished this tree, one of the oldest living things in Britain." In fact the tree was mature when Stonehenge was in use, though it now stands near to the 15th century church of St. John the Baptist. The tree has a hollow central trunk, with six smaller ones surrounding it. With a girth of 40 feet and a vast canopy that arches over you as you approach it and with lichen-covered branches which nearly touch the ground, the Ashbrittle Yew is also home to many stories. The mound beneath the tree is thought to be Bronze Age and a pre-Roman chief is said to be buried there. According to local legend, the church was built on a druidic circle near which battles between Celts and invading Roman soldiers took place, and the heads of fallen Roman soldiers were brought triumphantly back here to be buried.

The Buttington Yew

The Yew at Buttington The Buttington Yew

Within the churchyard of All Saints church, Bottington, Powys stands the Yew with the oldest known planting date in Britain. It was planted in 846 A.D. to commemorate the Battle of Buttington, where the English and the Welsh armies under King Alfred the Great and King Merfyn of Powys respectively, besieged and defeated the Viking invaders of Prince Hastein.

This male Yew is a healthy specimen with a trunk girth of just under 30 feet.

All Saints church is at the junction of the A458 Welshpool to Shrewsbury road and the B4388.

The Gresford Yew

Known as Gretford in the Domesday Book, Gresford is a former coal mining village near Wrexham, Wales. The county in which Wrexham is situated was Denbighshire, the name was changed to Clwyd and later, back to Denbighshire again. The actual village is around a mile away from the site of the colliery. the village is of particular significance to Alison as she was brought up in Gresford.

The bells of the parish church of All Saints are one of the traditional Seven Wonders of Wales. The earliest record of the peal of Gresford bells dates back only to 1714. The church's own website records that the earliest record of the six bells goes back to 1775 when the parish register noted that the two bells had been returned after being recast. An apparatus was installed in the belfry in 1877 so that all eight bells could be chimed by one person. The present church dates from 1492. The base of the church tower has remains of an earlier building and the roofline of an earlier transept can be seen in the tower. The sandy brown stone which forms the fabric of the church is called Millstone Grit and is locally referred to as "Cefn" stone.

Gresford Colliery was the site of one of Britain's worst coal mining disasters. 266 men died on 22 September 1934 in the Gresford Disaster, an underground explosion in the Dennis shaft. The miners' bodies were never recovered. The head gear wheel is preserved and forms part of the Gresford Disaster Memorial along with a plaque. Gresford had been an agricultural village before the coming of the mine and its workforce was drawn from a much larger area than just Gresford itself. Virtually every village for miles around lost someone. To the mine owners' eternal shame, the miners' wages were docked half a day's pay as the victims hadn't completed a full day's shift.

The Church is surrounded by a grove of Yews, some of which are equal in size and age to those of Overton listed in the Seven Wonders of Wales. Twenty-five of these were planted in 1726, but an older one grows near the south gate. Of the many old Yew trees in this churchyard, none match the grandeur of this old specimen; it was already an ancient tree at the time of Richard II's proclamation that ordered the general planting of yews to support the army.

The tree is thought to have been planted around 350 A.D. by the widow of a Roman officer who had been stationed nearby in Chester. One discovery which supports the probability of this is the Gresford Stone, found by workmen in 1907. It is a Roman altar which was hidden for centuries, because it had been used as a stone block in the rebuilding of the medieval church. It was probably part of a Romano-Celtic shrine dating back between 100 and 350 A.D. The altar has four carved sides and a decorative depression at the top, used for the placement of offerings to the goddess Nemesis depicted on one side.

the Pulpit Yew The Pulpit Yew

Also in Denbighshire, North Wales, in the churchyard of St. James parish church, Nantglyn, stands an ancient Yew tree which has been turned into an alfresco pulpit. According to legend sermons were preached from here including one by John Wesley, founder of Methodism. Rough steps made of local slate have been fashioned to lead up to the elevated pulpit within the hollow trunk of the tree, from which there is a panoramic view of the churchyard.

Nantglyn is roughly five miles south of Denbigh on the B5435.

s

The Llangernyw Yew

The Llangernyw Yew Midway between Abergele and Llanrwst is the village of langernyw. Within the churchyard is one of the oldest living things in Wales - a mighty yew tree believed to be up to 4,000 years old. It must, therefore, have been planted sometime in the Bronze Age. In common with many ancient Yews its trunk has split, in this case into four sections joined at ground level by a thin strip of bark.

Unnoticed by previous natural historians, the tree was "discovered" in 1995 by Jon Stokes and Kevin Hand on a training day for tree wardens. In June 2002 the Tree Council, in celebration of the golden jubilee of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II designated the Llangernyw Yew tree one of fifty Great British trees in recognition of its place in national heritage.

CPennant Melangel Yews

Pennant Melangel is a remote village two miles along a narrow, winding road westwards from the village of Llangynog, Powys. Llangynog itself is on the B4391. The broody, mysterious and atmospheric graveyard of the Shrine church of Saint Melangel is home to four trees, two male and two female, which predate the church and are thought to be 2000 years old. Although the trunks of the four trees are decayed and hollow, they support full, healthy canopies.

Both the village and the church take their name from Saint Melangel, from Ireland, who established a small church on the site in 607 A.D.

According to legend, a prince named Brochwell was hunting in a place called Pennant, and his hounds gave chase to a hare. After following the hare for a while they came upon a virgin kneeling in prayer, and the hare took refuge in the folds of her skirts. He urged his hounds on but they fled whimpering, and his horn stuck fast to his lips.

The virgin told him that she was seeking refuge and he was so overcome by her piety that he granted her the valley, where she founded a religious community. Animals, and hares in particular, took refuge with her and were known as "Melangel's lambs". Her church became a place of pilgrimage and refuge, a tradition whichcontinues to the present day.

The village, consisting only of the chapel of Pennant Melangell, a well and a few cottages can only be reached by travelling a long way up the valley from Llangynog. However, the effort is worth the journey and as well as the Yew trees, there is a magnificent waterfall cascading from the head of the valley two miles further on.

Dafydd ap Gwilym's Yew

Dafydd ap Gwilym founded the Cistercian abbey at Strata Florida in Cardiganshire in 1184. He was son of Gwilym Gam ap Gwilym ab Einion and thus a member of one of the most influential families in South Wales in the 14th century. The abbey was knownto have been surrounded by 39 great Yew trees in the 16th century; however, by the end of the 19th century only two remained. The larger is female and stands by a stone wall next to the chapel.

The yew tree growing over the grave of Dafydd was the subject of a cywydd by Gruffudd Gryg. There are innumerable references to the Yew trees in this churchyard because Dafydd ap Gwilym, the greatest poet of medieval Wales who died in about 1370, is reputed to have been buried here under a Yew. His contemporary, Gruffudd Gryg, wrote a poem addressing the Yew tree above Dafydd's grave.

The smaller (male) tree has developed from a fragment of a former tree which was probably of similar age to the female. No records exist to exactly date these trees but they are thought to pre-date the abbey and could be up to 1500 years old.

The abbeyis in the care of CADW and is open to the public all year round. The abbey is about a mile east of the village of Pontryhdjfendigaid, on the B4343.

The Bleeding Yew of Nevern

Eight old yews, thought to be about 600 years old, intertwine to form a dark and sombre tunnel leading from the church gate to the door of the church. The "bleeding tree" is the second tree on the right.

The Bleeding Yew tree at Nevern 'bleeds' an unidentifiable red liquid that has baffled scientists and arborists for years. The liquid trickles down the bole and as it does it congeals and blackens. According to legend, a monk was hung from the tree and it has bled ever since. The man declared his innocence and as he did so proclaimed that: "If you hang me guiltless as I am, the tree will bleed for me". The legend also states that the tree will continue to bleed until a Welshman sits on the throne in Nevern.

Also within the confines of the churchyard is a row of 26 Irish Yews (Taxus baccata 'fastigata') planted in 1926 to commemorate members of the parish who fell in the Great War.

Aberglasney Yew Tunnel

the Aberglasney Yew Tunnel

At Llangathen in Dyfed, Wales is a garden "lost in time", in the process of restoration. One of the interesting features is a yew tunnel planted in the 18th century. A cloister garden parapet allows you to walk along the top of the walls for views over the garden below. Llangathen is in Carmarthenshire and is reached on the A40 about 10 miles east of Carmarthen the gardens are then signposted off the A40. They are owned by the Aberglasney Restoration Fund, open to the public all year round and admission charges apply.

The Yew tunnel consists of a row of six Yew trees whose branches have been bent over to the ground, so as to form a tunnel. Regular clipping has maintained the shape of the tunnel which is a feature probably unique in the UK. The gardens declined dramatically after a change of ownership in the 1950s but were restored from 1990 onwards. The trees themselves are younger than previously thought; dendrochronology has put them at around 350 years old when the house was owned by the Dyer family.

The Bettws Newydd Yew

Bettws Newydd is a small village about 3½ miles north of Usk and a few miles south of Clytha near Raglan, Monmouthshire. The 15th century village church has a rare late medieval rood screen and rood loft carved from oak.

In the churchyard are three yew trees estimated to be 1,000 years old. They are amongst the oldest living things in Wales. The largest, next to the footpath, is the most interesting. Occasionally, when the trunk of a Yew is in an advanced state of decay, the tree will put new roots down the centre hollow of the old trunk where they can feed on the rich mulch left behind and the tree receives a new lease of life. A new trunk has formed in the centre of this tree, and the outer part is now sculpted by the elements. The 'tree within a tree' was already well established in 1876. It doesn't look much different today, as it has been found that in such situations when the 'new' trunk takes over, the old one doesn't change much in girth.

The Wallace Yew

The Wallace Yew

Still growing at Elderlsie, Renfrewshire, the birthplace of William Wallace, there is a local legend that he actually planted it. Certainly, Wallace's lifetime would easily have fallen within the life of a Yew such as this.

Many tree experts, such as Donald Rodger, agree that the yew was probably planted around the period of 1729 when the Wallace estate was sold to the Speirs family. Therefore it is clear that there was a reason for the Speirs themselves to commemorate what is believed to be Sir William's birthplace when the estate passed into their ownership and to conclude that this tree was planted then. However, there is some dispute over the age of the tree.

The Great Yews at Crom

The Great Yews at Crom

Actually two trees, one male, one female, growing together and thought to have been planted around 1610. Growing near the ruins of Crom Castle, they guard the narrowest part of Lough Erne. Forming what was described in the 19th century as "an enormous mushroom" they once spread over an area 75 feet across and parties of 200 often dined under them.

The branches were once supported by concrete pillars but these were replaced by oak posts covered with the bark of the two trees. Eventually the oak posts disintegrated so the trees now have a dishevelled look where the branches have descended to the ground.

The Bowthorpe Yew

This hollow tree at Bowthorpe Park Farm, near Witham on the Hill, is the largest English Oak.


Acknowledgements and further reading:

The Heritage Trees of Britain and Northern IrelandJon Stokes and Donald RodgerConstable
The Oxford Companion to English LiteratureSir Paul HarveyOUP
The Observer's Book of TreesFrederick Warne & Co. Ltd.
Tree Yoga - A WorkbookSatya Singh & Fred HagenederEarthdancer
Celtic Myths and LegendsGeddes and GrossetGeddes and Grosset
The Meaning of TreesFred HagenederChronicle Books
The Celtic Book of Seasonal MeditationsClaire HamiltonRed Wheel
A - Z of SuperstitionsCarole PotterChancellor Press
The Complete HerbalThomas CulpeperGreenwich Editions

Top of Page

© Ken James 2008