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2000 Year Old Yew Tree

Went off to visit Alice Holt Forest today which is just a few miles away, and on the way back, I remembered that the Yew tree in the church yard or All Saints Church in Farringdon is reputed to be 2000 years old. We went to investigate.

Now, I’m not an expert on trees by any stretch of the imagination, but even I can tell that this tree is very, very old. And if the internet is to be believed, then this tree is between 1000 and 2000 years old.

Despite being only about 3 miles from home as the crow flies, I’d never visited this magnificent ancient tree before and I was struck by just how old and decrepit it appears to be. The trunk has split into five parts and each seems to be growing fairly happily with the main root ball still beneath the ground.

Part of it is now held together by metal rods that you can see in one of the pictures in the gallery below. And yet it is still in leaf and is producing the wonderfully red and toxic berries.

Famous botanist Gilbert White in chapter xiv of his journal on January 6th 1781, wrote:

‘In the churchyard are two male yew-trees, the largest of which measures 30 feet in girth’

Many observations have been made since, and there is some great information about the tree in this pdf (click to download it), or on this Wikipedia page.

For the few minutes we were there, I enjoyed carefully looking inside it; carefully stepping inside it’s magnificent hollow and feeling the gnarly history of the split wood.

Needless to say, there’s probably not much of a chance of the tree dying in the near future as I would love to make a bowl or two out of it. Rather, I would prefer to see it continue to thrive and be enjoyed by everyone who goes to visit it.

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