Martley - Hillside

Tree ID: 6708

Yews recorded: Notable

Tree girth: 279cm

Girth height: at 30cm

Tree sex: female

Date of visit: 30-Jan-22

Source of earliest mention: 2022:Nessa Howarth


In Flora Britannica, Mabey refers to the legendary ability of Yews to process poisonous vapours and this is said to be the reason they are so common in graveyards. Could is also explain why in parts of the country yews were planted next to privies? This female yew grows close to a Victorian privy in the garden of an old black and white timber framed cottage. Page 40 of Herefordshire Privies by Paddy Ariss has the following: ‘During my researches, I wondered why privies were often under yew trees; the most likely explanation is that flies and bluebottles dislike the smell of yew, so privies were sited beneath the trees to keep the insect pests at a distance. It was believed that the guardian spirit of the house lived in the yew tree.’ The association of yews and privies is also noted in neighbouring Gloucestershire and in the example seen here in Worcestershire. The female tree had a girth of 9′ 2” close to sloping ground, as soil has built up between tree and bank over a couple of centuries. The girth suggests an early Victorian planting. At some stage there has been an attempt to keep the tree’s branches upright with a chain stretched around them. Over time this has been swallowed up in new growth.

Yew trees at Martley - Hillside:

Tree ID Location Photo Yews recorded Girth
6708 Martley - Hillside Notable 279cm at 30cm - view more info