A new tree trail has been launched by the Woodland Trust to highlight twelve ancient Yews in Wales.
The trail has been written and compiled by Edward Parker, an accomplished photographer and author. It includes beautiful images, details of the trees and instructions as to how to find them.
Launched in 2007, the Ancient Tree Hunt is a project to map and record the location of old trees, as the first step in the protection and care of our national heritage and history. The target is to discover and record at least 100,000 ancient and notable trees across the UK.
One of the world’s leading authorities on the ethnobotany of the yew tree has welcomed the new Great Yews of Wales Tree Trail. Fred Hageneder said: ” About 90% of the oldest trees in all of Europe are yew trees in the UK. And today, more than a quarter of these are located in Wales alone.
“While countless yews were destroyed for longbows these ancients survived. protected by the churchyards”.
The Tree Trail is available to download for free at www.ancienttreehunt.org.uk. It is also available in paper format by the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff and the National Botanic Garden at Llanarthne.
The twelve trees featured can be found in every corner of Wales, north, south, east and west:
• The Llangernyw yew, at Llangernyw near Llanrwst is widely considered to be the oldest living tree in Wales and thought by some to be up to 4,000 years old. We can be certain that it is far older than the church next to which it stands.
• Dafydd Ap Gwilym’s yew at Strata Florida Abbey in Ceredigion is believed to mark the spot where one of the greatest medieval poets of Wales is buried.
• The Bleeding yew of Nevern is remarkable for the spectacle of the bloodlike fluid that oozes from a wound in the tree. Science has yet to explain this phenomenon. There are a variety of legends associated with this bleeding which attracts Christian and pagan pilgrims alike.
• The Bettws Newydd yew near Raglan is estimated to be at least 2,000 years old and has a wonderfully weathered outer trunk. Artistic representations from the 1890s show that the tree has changed very little over the last 120 years.