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What`s New - December 2010

Ancient Yew Group`s New Website

Contained within our new look website are articles and information that take us a step closer to understanding and protecting our oldest trees.
Ancient, Veteran and Notable Yews: A new yew classification - by Toby Hindson, contains two articles in which detailed explanations are given for allocating these descriptions to individual trees. This is ground-breaking material and the result of many years of study.
In the Yew Gazetteer each tree is labelled as Ancient, Veteran or Notable and its code is listed in Classification Codes.
Being able to classify yews in this way is something that we have been striving towards for some time. It means that we are now in a position to give precise numbers of yews that should be on a conservation priority list. This begins with the ancient and veteran specimens in the churchyards of England and Wales, those 800 or so trees considered to be older than 500 years.
Who is responsible for Churchyard Yew contains 4 sub-categories. The Church of England and the Church in Wales list for the first time all the significant yews for which we have information. For two of the English dioceses, those of Rochester and Southwark, we present more detailed information about the yews they should be protecting. Similar presentations for the remainder of English and Welsh dioceses are being prepared for publication on this website during 2011.
Yews under threat is an article that many will have read, but we need to constantly remind ourselves of this threat.
Protection and Responsibility explains a new section of our Gazetteer, for which we hope to include the following information for every tree:(1) whether it has any legal protection (2) who is responsible for making decisions about a tree’s welfare, or in the worst cases for giving the decision to have it felled.

Because the website now contains nearly 100 articles, these have been reordered. We hope that those familiar with the old website will find the transition painless.

December 2010

What`s New - November 2010

New sites

Freystrop: Dawn Harries
Boxwell: Chard: Norton Lindsey - Tim Hills
Edlington Wood, Doncaster - Colin Howes and Robin Slater
North Cadbury: Standlynch Down: Stonedown Wood, nr Deanland: Tockenham - Peter Norton
Durweston: Sydling St Nicholas - Tim Hills and Peter Norton
Loudoun, Big Wood - Mac Coxhead

New photos

Durley: Lyneham: Owslebury - Peter Norton
Ormiston - Tim Hills
Chailey - Stewart Reed

november 2010

What`s New - October 2010

New sites

In August we announced the future inclusion of younger trees (age 300 plus), to be known as Notable Yews. We have many such trees on our data base and over the coming months will process these and add them to the Gazetteer. This month we add 43 new sites. The following contain a photo of the tree or site.
Melverley – Russell Cleaver
Bronllys: Lower Dowdeswell: Llanvaches: - Geoff Garlick 
Burstock: Clee St Margaret: Curry Mallet: Greasley: Habberley: Holcombe Old Church: Lyng: Michaelchurch Escley: Netherbury: Screveton - Tim Hills
Fonthill Bishop: Heytesbury –Peter Norton
Stoke sub Hamdon – Barry Saich
Keston – Penny Stanford

The following sites have been added with no illustrative photograph:
Farleigh Wallop – Paul Beevers
Ashow – Steven Falk
Angersleigh: Barrington: Bathealton: Battlefield: Great Hanwood: Great Witcombe: Horsmonden: Hursley: Kings Caple: Knighton: Llanelwedd: Llanrhaedar-ym-Mochnant: Llanychan: Longney: Lydiard Tregoze: Lynsted: Matson: Mochdre: Norton Malreward: Preston: Seavington St Michael: Stoke St Mary: Ysceifiog – Tim Hills
Arlington: Boughton Aluph – Owen Johnson

October 2010

What`s New - September 2010

New sites
New Forest, Bolderwood: New Forest, Fritham Cross - Peter Norton
Lochend Wood - David Swan and Mark Beattie
Hay-on-Wye: Llanelieu: Llanthony and Llanthony churchyard - Tim Hills
Swaledale - David Alderman
Faccombe/Linkenholt - Bob Burrows
Standish - Dean Loftus

New photos have been added as follows:
Corfe Mullen:East Knoyle:Gussage St Michael: Okeford Fitzpaine: Shaftesbury: Shillingstone: Stourton Caundle: Tarrant Rushton: Turnworth: Woolland: Wimborne St Giles - Peter Norton
Stoke Gabriel: Stoodleigh - Todd Gray
Llandogo - Eirian Evans and Geoff Garlick
Addington, Greater London - Steve Waters

New historical images have been added at Llanfair Talhaiarn and Porlock

September 2010

What`s New - August 2010

New website

The Ancient Yew Group website was introduced in 2005. After 5 years of successful progress, with an ever increasing number of site visitors and contributors, we are pleased to announce the development of a more up to date website. We are hoping that it will be ready for use later this year.

One of the significant developments will be a new classification of yews as Ancient, Veteran and Notable, the terms currently used by the Ancient Tree Hunt. Our own definitions will differ from theirs; for example while their category `Notable` includes young trees, our `Notable` yews will normally be at least 300 years old.

Another change is that churchyard yews will be categorised according to Diocese as well as by County. It is hoped that this will assist each Diocese in making plans for the proper care of their Ancient, Veteran and Notable yews. For example the Diocese of Rochester includes 8 ancient, 18 veteran and 10 notable yews, mostly in Kent but with some in Greater London. The Diocese of Oxford includes churchyards in the counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire and contains 8 ancient, 15 veteran and 30 notable yews.
More information about these and many other additions will be made available in due course.

New sites
Baddesley Clinton - Tim Hills
Pimperne, West Tytherley - Peter Norton
Chateau de Bagnac - Jean van Mourik
Grovely Wood - Peter Norton and Tony Caceres
Easton Walled Gardens, Stoke Rochford Hall - Rebecca Kershaw
The yew at Stoke Rochford Hall is the largest so far found in the county of Lincolnshire.

August 2010

What`s New - July 2010

New sites
Peter Norton has been exploring yew populations at woodland and parkland sites in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset. This month the following new sites appear on the Yew Gazetteer webpage:
Dean Hill: Farley Mount Country Park: Nan Trodds Hill: Stone Pit Hill: Wilton – Yew Copse

Other non–churchyard yews are recorded as follows:
Oakhills Coppice – Sean Cooch
Althorp – Michael Crawshaw and David Alderman
Cherkley Court – Andy McGeeney

Yews at Allt–y–fan and Cwmhydfer have been located by Allen Meredith. These yews are now found in open countryside, but mark the sites of long lost churches where worship last took place more than a century ago.

New photos have been added as follows:
Llanddeiniolen –David Alderman
Abergwesyn: Bettws Newydd: Cefnllys: Llanafan Fawr: Llanbedr Paincastle: Llandegley: Llandeilo Graban:, Llanfihangel–nant–Melan: Llanlleonfel: Llansantffraed–in–Elvel: Llywel: Mamhilad: Merthyr Cynog – Jon Tainton
Farway: Holne: Kentisbeare: Payhembury: Zeal Monachorum:– Todd Gray
Llanddeiniolen: Llanafan– fechan: Sutton Veny: – Tim Hills
Corhampton – Peter Norton
Holme Lacy: Upper Breinton: – Edwin Pretty

In May a lost yew was recorded at Melliker. Cliff Hansford has discovered that a fragment of the ancient tree still grows on Melliker Green, and a photo can be seen on the webpage.

July 2010

What`s New - June 2010

TREES of the CELTIC SAINTS – The ancient yews of Wales by Andrew Morton
Available from

If you are interested in the lives and llans of the Celtic saints, or in yew trees, or both, this book will please, and inform, you. Andrew Morton looks at the botanical charistics of yew trees, and how to measure and age them; at yew trees in pre-Christian and Christian history, myths and legends; and at the connections between yews and the sites of ancient Christian settlements. There are detailed case studies of ancient yew trees at Defynnog, Gwytherin, Llangernyw, Llanerfyl and Pennant Melangell.
The largest part of the book is a Travelogue, a trip around yew-tree sites in Wales. The author writes warmly of the ancient sites and trees, and what is to be seen in the surrounding area.

In his Foreword, Canon Patrick Thomas writes: `This superb study will take its place as an invaluable resource. The author is to be congratulated for such a pioneering piece of research presented in an accessible and informative manner.`

June 2010

What`s New - May 2010

New sites
Littlebredy – Sean Cooch
Bulbarrow – Peter Norton

New photo
Llandegla – Eiran Evans

Lost yew
Lost yews are recorded at Melliker and Cilmery (Llanganten)

I have spent much of this month in southern France and observed many plane trees, planted in towns and villages, exhibiting the same characteristics I had considered unique to the churchyard yew. There were the same holes and bulging caused by branch removal and in some of the older trees a complete horse-shoe shaped hollow shell had developed. It was also possible to see root material growing downwards into the decaying centre of some trees, though I saw no instance where this resulted in development of the internal stem seen in many ancient yews.
At the village of Segurat there grows one of the `Arbres Remarquable de France`, complete with a plaque acknowledging that this group of plane trees `formed part of the national heritage and must be preserved as such.` Planted in 1860, the branches of six plane trees have been trained to grow into each other, creating what is effectively one living organism from the original six trees. Could the same technique have been used to help the male and female yews at Tenbury Wells grow into each other? (see Gazetteer entry).

May 2010

What`s New - April 2010

New sites
Wytherston Farm – Sean Cooch
Badsey, Chipping Campden, Llanveynoe, Rous Lench Court, South Harting - Tim Hills
Barford Down, Buckholt, East Tytherley – private location, Wardour – Peter Norton

New photos/information
Bentley Wood, Exbury Gardens – Peter Norton
Reenadinna – David Alderman
Shottesbrooke – Dave Kenny
Charlwood – Gary Shield

Lost yew
A lost yew is recorded at Claines

Christian Wolf`s postcard collection
Christian has sent another batch of images of yews as seen by artists and postcard photographers of the late 19th and 20th century. These have been added to the following locations:
Bampton: Bettws-y-Coed:Borrowdale: Brockenhurst: Buckland-in-Dover: Crom Castle: Crowhurst, Sussex: Darley Dale: Dibden: Doveridge: Hambledon, Hampshire: Harlington: Hartshead: Horton Kirby: Llanycil: Lorton Vale: Loudoun Castle: Melcombe Bingham: Overton-on-Dee: Pinbury Park: Robert the Bruce`s Yew

April 2010

What`s New - March 2010

New sites
Otford – Cliff Hansford
Chettle – Tim Hills
Charlton Marshall – Peter Norton

New photos/information
Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog – Robert Caldicott
Rosneath – Eleanor Evans
Sturminster Marshall – Tim Hills
Fountains Abbey – Edwin Pretty

Lost yew
A lost yew is recorded at Nunney.

What has happened at Waldershare Park?
Waldershare Park in Kent boasts no fewer than 5 old yews. The largest, in two fragments, is over 30ft in girth, making it one of the 30 largest girthed – and potentially one of the oldest – yews in the British Isles. Unfortunately a 90% section of the largest fragment collapsed recently, and in order to make the remaining standing section safe it had to be severely cut back. We hope to find out what is to be done to the collapsed section in due course.

March 2010

What`s New - February 2010

Peter Norton
Peter has become the latest Contributory Member of the Ancient Yew Group. For several months he has been producing data and information about yews in Wiltshire. His journeys along the Deverill, Wylye, Ebble and Nadder river valleys have taken in all of the churchyards along the route and yews have been systematically recorded. This month his 4th report, the Bourne valley, is published and the journey will be completed with a report of the churchyard yews along the Salisbury/Hampshire Avon, into which all of the rivers flow. These articles are all found on the Churchyard Yews webpage.

Peter has also been discovering and recording yews outside of churchyards, and this month 4 new articles are published on the Articles webpage. They are as follows:

The Moot Garden Yews, Downton
Yews of Old King Barrows, Stonehenge
Yews of Blackmoor Copse, Wiltshire
Old Wardour Castle Yews, Wiltshire

This sort of information gathering continues a tradition begun in the 19th century, and people who study the yew now are indebted to recorders like Hutchison (On the Old and Remarkable Yew Trees in Scotland 1890) and Lowe (The Yew Trees of Great Britain and Ireland 1897). The information being gathered by the Ancient Yew Group through the contributions of recorders like Peter Norton will be the internet equivalent of Hutchison and Lowe in centuries to come.

February 2010

What`s New - January 2010

New Articles

Wiltshire Yews - An Inventory of Churchyard Yews along the Nadder Valley by Peter Norton.
Found on the Churchyard Yews webpage, this is the 3rd of 5 reports by Peter Norton, documenting the yew populations in a large number of Wiltshire’s churchyards.

New sites
Many new sites have been added this month from information supplied to the Ancient Tree Hunt. Our thanks to those who regularly send us new information and a welcome to those whose names appear on the Ancient Yew Group website for the first time.

Moy: Necarne Castle – Peter Archdale
Prizet – Paul Bristow
Wye – Tony Burgoyne
Bala Lake–Glan Llyn: Llansannan: Sansaw Estate – Shaun Burkey
Roundsea Wood Nature Reserve – Vanessa Champion
Llangwstenin – Lynne Davis
Grillagh Bridge – Declan Devlin
Basildon Park: Goring Heath: Sulhamstead: - Malcolm Gould/Dave Kenny
Messing – Mark Hanson
Bourton – Eve Harris
Little Langdale – Louise Hemsley
Raglan – Tim Hills
St Leonards Forest – Tim Holter
Hackhurst Downs: Little Missenden: Stratfield Saye – Owen Johnson
Lampeter Velfrey – Michael Karpaty/Richard Staden
Bwlchgwyn – John Marchant
Bromham Hall: Paul Mellor
Monigaff – Michael Scott
Buttermere: Drayton: Hard Knott – Michael Suggate
Cranleigh-Old Stovaldshall Farm – Thomas Watson
Little Horsted – Ali Wright
Ashdown Forest – near Wych Cross: Michelham Priory: Paddockhurst Estate: Philpots Manor School – Steve Young

New photos
Yorton (formerly Broughton, Shropshire) – Shaun Burkey
Asham Wood, Whatley – Simon Caldwell
Hawkshead Walker Ground Cottage – Vanessa Champion
Ludford: Pinbury Park – Owen Johnson

January 2010