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Additions to the web site in December 2006

Yew sites in Northern France visited by Tim Hills in August 2000
In brackets are the number of images available for viewing.
Bourneville: Castillon (3): Courson (3): Estry (2): Foulbec (2): La Bloutière (4): La Haye de Routôt (5): La Lande-Patry (3): La Lucerne d'Outremer (2): Mesnil-Aubert (2): Mesnil-Rogues: Montcuit (2): Montgardon(1): Nicorps (2): Offranville (2): Pierres (2): Saint-Ursin (3): St.Pierre-la-Vieille (2): St.Rémy-sur-Orne (3): St.Sulpice de Granbouville
Of the yews recorded here, 5 have girths above 9m (30ft) while a further 13 have girths between 6m and 9m (20ft and 30ft).

Scottish Yew sites
Scotland continues to be under represented on this web site. A recent study of documents written in the 19th century has unearthed information about old yews in Scotland which may or may not still be growing. As a result 34 new sites have been added. Verification of the continued existence of the trees last reported in the 1800s will be gladly received.

The following sites are recorded in Old and Remarkable Trees of Scotland, published by Edinburgh, Blackwood and Sons in 1867:
Bantaskine: Cloncaird Castle: Neidpath Castle

In 1890 a paper by Robert Hutchison was published in the Transactions of Royal Scottish Arboricultural Society. It was entitled On the Old and Remarkable Yew Trees in Scotland. From this article the following sites have been recorded:
Arbuthnott: Barskeoch: Birkhill: Brechin Castle: Craignethan Castle: Crathes Castle: Drummond Castle: Dunkeld: Ellon Castle: Forgan: Glamis Castle: Inchbrakie: Inch-Lonaig: Loudoun Castle: Oldmeldrum: Otterstone: Parkhill: Pitmedden House: Roseneath: Tolquhan Castle

Other new Scottish sites which have been added also appear on the web site:
Balbirnie House Hotel: Broich House: Buchanan Castle: Colinton Manse - Stevenson's Yew: Elderslie - the Wallace Yew: Finlaystone House - John Knox's Yew: Kelburn Castle: Malleny Gardens: Wigtown

Also included are yews at Craigmillar Castle and Hawes Inn.

New sites have been added at Brockley Combe: Deerhurst: Doddington

Yews of known planting date have been recorded by Tom McManamon at both St Peter's and St George's churchyards in Tiverton.

New photos have been added at Lydney and Ston Easton

Lost yews have been recorded at Doddington and Redlynch. New infornmation about the lost Caerau Yew is included.

December 2006

Additions to the web site in November 2006

New sites visited and documented
Eglwysilan, Elvaston Castle Country Park, Freshford,Herefordshire – private locations 1 and 2, Little Somborne - Winter Down Copse, Llantwit near Neath,Trostrey – Tim Hills
Vinters Valley, Maidstone – Steve Songhurst
North Downs, near Boxley – Cliff Hansford

Lost yews recorded at:
Bridge Sollars, Hales Hall Pool, Salisbury, Swell, Wadhurst, Whitnash – Tim Hills
Cilwern – Janet Shelley
Coed-ladyr, Penrhyn-coch, Tregaron:Argoed Fawr – Arthur Chater
Shalford – Muriel Hawtin

Historic photos have been added for:
Aberbranddu – Janet Shelley
Ankerwyke, Darley Dale, Fountains Abbey, Porlock, Twyford – Christian Wolf

New photographs
Hurstbourne Priors, Much Birch, St Mary Bourne, Tangley – Tim Hills

New information
Stoodleigh – from 1743 church records
Gartheli, Llanafan, Llangoedmor, Silian – provided by Arthur Chater

November 2006

Additions to the web site in October 2006


In August members of the Ancient Yew Group hosted the 2006 “International Conference and Excursion” of Eibenfreunde (Friends of the Yew). In its annual publication, Der Eibenfreund, the society circulates the latest yew research carried out in many countries of mainland Europe. We hope to feature many of these articles on our new web page.

New photos of many of the places visited as part of this excursion have been added as follows:
Breamore (3), Breamore Park (4), Druid’s Grove (8), Itchen Abbas (3), Kingley Vale (10), Newland’s Corner (6), South Hayling (3), Tandridge (5), Warblington (4), Waverley Abbey (4), West Tisted (7)

Eibenfreunde member Christian Wolf has allowed us access to his collection of old photos and postcards featuring British yews. They can be seen at the following places. Unless stated otherwise, there is one image of each place.
Ankerwyke, Borrowdale (2), Aldworth, Brockenhurst (3), Crowhurst - Surrey, Crowhurst – Sussex, Darley Dale, Druid’s Grove, Fortingall (2), Gresford, Hayes, South Hayling, Helmdon, Iffley (2), Kingley Vale (2), Loose, Muckross, Portbury (2), Selborne (2), Stoke Gabriel (4), Tandridge, Taxal, Twyford (2), West Kingsdown

New sites and photographs have been added to the Gazetteer as follows:
Croxdale Hall,Co.Durham (1) – Den Gregson
Speke Hall (3)– Alexandra Muir
Abergwili (4), Cilrhedyn (4), Golden Grove (1), Llangoedmor (4), Schowle (4) – Tim Hills

Lost yews have been recorded and photographed at Abergwili, Bridell and Meidrim.

October 2006

Additions to the web site in September 2006

The main changes this month are in the Gazetteer, where more than 120 new photographs have been added.

The following are from Geoff Garlick:
Carno (3), Cascob (7), Castle Caereinion (3), Discoed (3), Garthbeibio (3), Heyop (9), Llanbadarn Fawr (3), Llanbadarn Fynydd (3), Llanerfyl (6), Llanfihangel Rhydithon (3), Llanymawddwy (4), Llanyre (9), Nantmel (9), Newtown/Dolfor Road (3), Trefeglwys (8), Whitton (4)

The following are from Tim Hills:
Aberyscir (5), Cantref (2), Capel-y-ffin (7), Llanfrynach (3), Llanspyddid (10), Llywel (8), Merthyr Cynog (8), Patrishow (4)

Di Collinson has sent information and photos of the yew at Ringmore in South Devon.

Churchyard plans At Capel-y-ffin, Llanspyddid and Merthyr Cynog, plans showing the approximate position of the yews in relation to the church have been incorporated in the Site Information. Many more such plans will be added as time permits.

Lost yews are reported at Llangathen and Llanspyddid. At Llangathen a yew with a girth of 9' was felled in June. The loss of a healthy yew in what I understand to be a Conservation Area, without the knowledge of the local authority, is alarming and I am told that the case has been passed to the local authority legal department for investigation.
Llanspyddid would be counted today as one of Wales's finest multiple yew sites were it not for the cutting down of three of its yews about 25 years ago. The stumps of two have been recently uncovered during work to make the churchyard more manageable. These were significant trees, with girths of 15' and 19'. A third stump nearby has resprouted and it is hoped that it will be left to grow again.

September 2006

Additions to the web site in August 2006

In August the Ancient Yew Group hosted a 9 day excursion in which 38 members of Eibenfreunde (Friends of the Yew) were taken to some of the finest yew sites in southern England. The yew enthusiasts had travelled from Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and included botanists, foresters and dendrologists.

A new search facility is a significant improvement to our Gazetteer page. It is now possible to search for trees under the following headings:
Site name
Site type: boundary, churchyard, cliff, earthworks, field, footpath/road, former religious site, garden, hedge, historic site, parkland, planted avenue, woodland
Access: public or private
Lost yew sites: yes or no
Our thanks to David Alderman for the hours spent planning this improvement.

August 2006

Additions to the web site in July 2006


3 new articles have been added this month, the first two appear on the Articles page, the third on the Looking After Ancient Yew page.

  • A study of the lichens on some yews in Eastern Devon by B.Benfield
    We hope that this might prove to be the first of several such studies carried out in different parts of the British Isles.
  • The Medieval Yews of John of Gaunt's Deer Park and the surrounding area by Peter Andrews
    This is Peter's second contribution and an indication of the important yew discoveries still to be made outside of churchyards.
  • FIGHTING FOR TREES by Sandra Saer
    This important article written in 1985 demonstrates all too clearly that in key areas very little has changed in 21 years. Tree Preservation Order legislation remains weak and finding money to preserve our oldest trees still depends largely on the local community. It is time for our oldest yews to be recognised as National Treasures.

    New photographs by Geoff Garlick have been added as follows:
    Battle(2), Bulley (2), Broadwell (3), Burghill (2), Caerwent, Cradley (2)

    and photographs have been added at Charing and Iwade - Cliff Hansford

    New sites

    A lost yew has been recorded at Upwey, Dorset.

July 2006

Yew vandalised at Houghton Hillside Cemetery

Yew trees thought to date from 1895 surround the grave of Rector Grey. A recent outbreak of vandalism has seen his grave damaged and set on fire using wood hacked from one of the old yews. There are concerns for the remaining trees on the site. For more information go to
See 2007 Archive for update.

June 2006


In a busy first year the following have been added to the web site:

  • 127 new site entries
  • 454 new photographs
  • 28 more lost yew sites identified
  • 24 new Articles on a wide range of topics. The can be found on the Articles web page and the Looking After Ancient Yew web page.
  • 35 new contributors – of articles, photographs and information

    List of contributors in the 1st year: David Alderman, Fiona Anderson, Peter Andrews, Ken Bailey, Martin Bailey, Russell Ball, Isabelle Borsus, Richard Bottle, John Burman, Stuart Carruthers, Russell Cleaver, Denise K.Das, Geoff Garlick, Paul Greenwood, Tony Hackett, Fred Hageneder, Cliff Hansford, Mark Haynes, Tim Hills, Toby Hindson, Colin Howes, Greg Howes, Doug Harwood, Dave Kenny, Mike King, Andrew Lapthorn, Andy McGeeney, Colin McLeod, Allen Meredith, Andy Moir, Percy Morgan, Rachel Palmer, Tim Partridge, Paul Phillips, Neil Rogers, Philip Sherwood, Steve Smith, Penelope Stanford, Ken Taylor, Steve Young

    Gazetteer upgraded
    We are now able to display multiple images of trees. Our thanks to David Alderman for the weeks of work involved in this, also to the Conservation Foundation for funding the initiative. For examples visit Castle Frome, Breinton and Much Marcle on the Gazetteer web page.

June 2006

Additions to the web site in June 2006

New photographs by Geoff Garlick have been added at the following sites:
Acton Beauchamp, Bettws Newydd, Breinton, Bridge Sollars, Broadwas, Castle Frome, Eaton Bishop, Hentland, Mathon, Much Birch, Much Dewchurch, Much Marcle, Pauntley, Peterchurch, Rowlestone, Waltham St Lawrence, Westhide, Weston Beggard, Whittington, Yarkhill

New photos have also been added for:
Allestree by Denise K. Das
Hope Bagot by Martin Bailey
Taps Combe by Tim Hills

New sites visited and documented – with photographs:
Devon: Berry Pomeroy, Broadhempston, Denbury and Torbryan – Tim Hills
South Wales: Coity, Llanddarog, Llangynwyd, Llanilid, Pendoylan, Penmark, Wenvoe – Tim Hills
Ballis Wood, Herefordshire – Geoff Garlick

June 2006

Additions to the web site in May 2006

The following sites have been added to the Gazetteer:

Harleston – Stuart Carruthers
Clanfield – Russell Cleaver
Abergwyngregyn, Acton Beauchamp (2nd tree), Ashton–under–Hill, Ashurst, Betws–y–Coed, Bramshaw, Cenmaes, Coed Beddick, Llan, Llangwyfan, Throwley, Titsey Place, Walton–on–the–Hill – Tim Hills
Watlington Hill – Dave Kenny
St Mary Hoo – Andrew Lapthorn

New photos have been added at:

Harleston – Stuart Carruthers
Llandegley – Russell Cleaver
Kington, Powick, Todenham, Whittington – Geoff Garlick
Titsey Place, Walton–on–the–hill – Tim Hills
Watlington Hill – Dave Kenny
St Mary Hoo – Andrew Lapthorn
Zeal Monachorum – Ken Taylor

Lost yews has been recorded at Corsley, Eglingham, llanllugan, Swansea High Street

1st Norfolk yew in Gazetteer

The yew at Harleston is the first significant yew to be recorded in this part of England. The site is all the more important because lines of yews all appear to converge at this point. A legal battle is under way to determine whether some of these trees should fall under the recent "high hedges" legislation and have their height considerably reduced.

May 2006

Additions to the web site in April 2006

  • The Ancient Yews of Britain - our Neglected Heritage by Fiona Anderson
  • Boundary and other Marker Yews on the Hampshire/Dorset border by Peter Andrews
  • Stunted Yew and Taxus baccata considerata: Poetry by John Burman
  • Beltingham, Northumberland: One of the most essential sites in the whole UK? by Paul Greenwood
  • YEW - a chapter from The Living Wisdom of Trees by Fred Hageneder
  • The Origin and Source of Taxol by Allen Meredith

    The following are found on the Looking After Ancient Yew page

  • Yews under threat by Fiona Anderson
  • A Dozen Golden Rules for Campaigning contributed by the International Tree Foundation

    The following sites/photographs have been added to the Gazetteer:

    Knowlton - Lumber Lane - Peter Andrews
    Bursledon - Russell Cleaver
    Ratby - Doug Harwood, with photos from Geoff Garlick
    Caversham Court - Dave Kenny
    Corfe Mullen: Durston: Hambledon Hill: Shaftesbury: Stoke Abbott - private site: Studland: West Milton: Winsham - Tim Hills

    New photos have been added at:
    All Hallows old graveyard, Stoke Abbott churchyard and Wimborne St Giles - Tim Hills

    A lost yew has been recorded at Shepton Montague

April 2006

Additions to the web site in March 2006


  • Ancient Yew trees in the Doncaster landscape - Colin Howes
  • The Marquis of Montrose's yew - a false legend - Colin McLeod
  • Tree-ring analysis of a branch from the Ankerwyke Yew - Andy Moir
  • Trees in mythology, legend, symbolism and religion - Tim Partridge
  • Rare Ganoderma carnosa found on yew at Mote Park, Maidstone - Steve Smith

    The following sites have been added to the Gazetteer:
    East Stratton-old church site, East Stratton Park, Upper Swanmore - Russell Cleaver
    Sherston - Cliff Hansford
    Buckland St Mary, Combe Raleigh, Kentisbeare, Llanwrthwl - Tim Hills

    New photographs have been added at:
    Droxford, East Stratton, Llanbadarn Fawr, Upper Swanmore, Yazor - Russell Cleaver
    Farway and Kentisbeare - Tim Hills

    Lost yews are recorded at Hampton Court and Old Colwyn, while at East Stratton a grove of yew trees has been chopped down.

    Peter Andrews, Russell Cleaver and Cliff Hansford have become Contributory Members and brief details are included on the Ancient Yew Group page.

March 2006

Additions to the web site in February 2006

An exceptional month for the discovery of previously undocumented large yews. Peter Andrews found no fewer than 7 previously unrecorded trees in a small area of Dorset, their girths ranging from 18 to 29 feet. Information and photographs can be found in the Gazetteer at All Hallows, Wimborne St Giles and Monkton Up Wimborne.

The list of significant yews in Somerset has been added to with the inclusion of Bickenhall, Dinnington, South Petherton and Stocklinch Ottersey - visited and photographed by Tim Hills.

A large yew on private land near Horndean, Hampshire has been recorded by Russell Cleaver.

New photographs have also been added at Hollybank woods, Emsworth (Russell Cleaver) Ystradffin and Cilycwm (Greg Howes) Long Sutton and Steep (Tim Partridge)

February 2006

What is happening at Mote House?

In the gazetteer you will find the following entry: "A cluster of 7 yews grow in a small secluded copse immediately adjacent to Mote house. A single yew stands in its own space behind the house. Several more yews grow in the wooded area close to the house. The largest girthed is found in this group."

Maidstone Council, present owners of the house, are believed to be in negotiation with a group of developers, who, in conjunction with English Heritage, have submitted a planning application for the redevelopment of Mote House. It is hoped that the land surrounding Mote House will remain in the ownership of the Council, since their intention is that the old (300+years)yews should not be touched. However, should the land pass into private ownership we will need to seek assurances that they also have no intention of harming the trees.

If anyone can supply further information please let us know.

January 2006

How you can support this web site

Contribute to the web site. Send us latest information or archive material about old yews you have visited.

If you have seen or written a yew related item that might be of interest we could consider publication on our Articles page. All work that appears on this web site is protected as far as possible from misuse, but contributors need to be aware that there is always a small risk of submitted work appearing elsewhere. Should this arise we would not be able to provide funds to seek legal redress but would of course give our written support.

Report yews that do not appear in the Gazetteer, whether in churchyard, woodland, hedgerow, parkland or private estate. There is always a chance that you have discovered a significant undocumented ancient yew.

Many of the yews documented in the gazetteer have not been seen for several years. If you visit a site and would like to send us brief details of the tree's appearance or state of health, your up to date observations can be added to our data base and would appear in the Gazetteer.

Please let us know if you discover inaccuracies in any part of the web site.

If you live near to a documented yew site you might consider nominating yourself to send us a brief report on a regular basis (every 6 months or so). We would like eventually to have a named person to report on every ancient, veteran and significant yew site.

You can also support this web site financially by joining The Tree Register or donating on-line in their shop. Quote specifically that your donation or Membership is for the Ancient Yew Group web site. Money raised will help cover the web site costs and be used to pursue ‘good practice’ projects. Donate Here

What is a Tree Preservation Order worth?

On Monday, July 28th 1986 the following item appeared in the Western Mail. The headline reads: Felling of yew brings protests.

Planners are upset over the felling of a magnificent 500-year-old yew, which was the subject of a Tree Preservation Order.

The tree was cut down by Clwyd County Council, and now Colwyn Borough Council planning committee are trying to find out what weight a preservation order holds in law

Residents at Old Colwyn claim their " Woodman, spare that tree" pleas were ignored during widening work in Dolwen Road.

The planning committee have been told by an official of the county council that, legally, the felling was permissable, despite the order. And they were warned by their solicitor that if they took the county to court the issues were so technical and involved, it could end up in a test case in the House of Lords - with the ratepayers picking up the bill, whoever won.

Now the committee have decided to seek the opinion of a barrister and the advice of the Association of District Councils.

Local councillor Miss Murial Howard, a former nurse, said yesterday, "the tree was 500 years old -some even put it at 700.

"Seventy local residents signed a protest petition immediately the tree came down. People were so furious that we could have got 400 signatures without trouble.

It seems wrong that no action can be taken against the county. What is the point of having Tree Preservation Orders if they are flouted?"

January 2006

Tree News

A 5 page article entitled THE ANCIENT YEWS OF BRITAIN - Our neglected heritage features in the Autumn/Winter 2005 edition of Tree News.
Fiona Anderson traces the history of our interest of yews and discovers that not all is well with our oldest and most mysterious trees.
Permission has been granted for us to publish the full article on this the web site.

The Ancient Yew Group also featured in The Guardian’s Campaign of the week on 24th January 2006.

January 2006

Additions to the website in January 2006

3 Articles

  • Percy Morgan – A tribute to years of data collection (Articles page)
  • Ivy – to leave or to remove (Looking after Ancient Yew page)
  • The Stowe (Shropshire) Yew – An example of imagination and good practice (Looking after Ancient Yew page)

    The following sites have been added to the Gazetteer:
    Asham Wood: Llanyre: Manafon: Sheldon Manor: – Tim Hills
    Blagdon Hill Copse: Old Enton: Wintershall – Peter Andrews
    Hollybank Woods, Havant: Rowlands Castle–The Holt: Sherfield English: –Russell Cleaver

    New photographs:
    Wintershall and Old Enton – Peter Andrews
    6 of the Merdon Castle yews, the damaged Didcot yew and Winscombe vicarage – Tim Hills
    The Hartshead ‘lost yew’. A photograph taken about 100 years ago and supplied by Neil Rogers.

    Data received by the Tree Register in 2005:
    Chelwood Vachery: Lydney Park: Nash: Upton Castle – Owen Johnson
    Broadstone Warren – Steve Young
    Stoke Abbott – Ken Bailey

January 2006

THE SACRED YEW PROJECT - a collaborative project between Volunteering Tynedale and local people

Volunteering Tynedale is an independent local volunteering development agency providing support, guidance, advice and practical assistance to voluntary/community organisations and individual volunteers throughout Tynedale. Read about this exciting project on the Looking after Ancient Yew web page.