Published: 19 September 2023
Welcome to the Ancient Yew Goup’s new website. We are grateful to David Alderman of TROBI who has overseen the project from start to finish, to Caring for God’s Acre who organised fund raising, and for generous individuals and organisations who have contributed to the cost.
While there remain elements that are not yet complete, launching now has become necessary because part of the original website had become corrupted and cannot be repaired.
Almost everything that could be accessed on the old website is available in this new one.
A major change is the vocabulary of tree classification. While the terms Ancient, Veteran and Notable are still in use, their meaning has altered to align with other tree organisations. The Woodland Trust describes woodland that has persisted since 1600 as ‘ancient’. It seems right that a 400+ year old yew both in or outside of churchyards should also be termed ancient.
The word veteran is applied by most tree organisations to trees that “bear the ‘scars’ of age such as decay in the trunk, branches or roots, fungal fruiting bodies, or dead wood”. Where a yew under 4m in girth displays any of these characteristics it will be classified as V-con, a tree that is Veteran because of its condition.
Most yews with a girth above 4m will now be classified as Ancient and fit into one of three categories, according to their girth size.
Ancient 7m+ will apply to trees above 7m in girth and will include those ‘Exceptional’ trees whose girth is above 9m. The age of most 7m+ yews is thought likely to be 800+.
Ancient 5m/7m will apply to trees with a girth between 5m and 7m. Most of these are thought likely to have an age above 500 years. These trees were recorded as veteran on the old website.
Ancient 4m/5m will apply to trees with a girth between 4m and 5m. Most of these are thought likely to have an age above 400 years. These trees were recorded as notable on the old website.
The term Notable is now applied to most yews below 4m in girth. While many notable yews will have a likely age above 300 years, younger trees of interest are also included in this category.
Another significant change is the quality of photographs we are now able to present. On the original website we were restricted to images of 24/36kb. We have had to seek out the original high resolution images of more than 16,000 photographs and this work is still to be completed. There will continue to be instances where a low resolution image has had to be used because it is the only pictorial record of a yew’s existence.