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Ancient Yew Tours

Wales is the country with the largest collection of ancient yews on earth. This tour aims to introduce you to some of the best examples of these extraordinary trees. These yews occur in a relatively small area around Brecon/Usk, probably due to the culture of revering and planting yews which dates back to the Silures, the Celtic yew tribe who inhabited this area at one time and fought the Romans.

Ancient Yew Tree Tours

Around Brecon and Usk

The tour takes in the 5,000 year old yew at Defynnog, probably the oldest tree in Britain, as well as the 4,000 year old yew at Bettws Newydd. Your tour guide is Yew Historian, Janis Fry who will introduce you to 12 ancient yews on the 2 day tour or 6 ancient yews on the 1 day tour. The 12 yews we will visit are at Defynnog, Penpont, Llanspiddyd, Brecon Cathedral, Cantref, Llanfeugan, Llanbedr Ystradwy, Llanelly, Llanwenarth, Llanarth, Llangattock Juxta Usk, and Bettws Newydd. All of these places are church sites.

Dates can be tailored to suit you.
You tell us when you want to go.
The whole tour takes 2 days but you can opt for just one day.
Day 1 Defynnog to Llanfeugan.
Day 2 Llanbedr Ystradwy to Bettws Newydd.

Enquiries - email
Small groups only. Transport by car(s). Minimum 2 people. Maximum 4 people. Cost £120 for 1 day per person. £240 for 2 days per person.


Numbers of Ancient Yews in Britain

Britain and in particular Wales, has the largest number of ancient yews in the world (174 at the most recent count). Although there are still undiscovered yews, we now believe that in Wales, there are at least 44 yews aged at 2,000 years plus, 11 of 3,000 years plus, 1 at 4,000 years plus and 3 at 5,000 years plus, totalling 59 yews aged at over 2,000 years, in Wales.

In the rest of Britain we have recorded 115 yews aged at over 2,000 years. This total is made up of 79 yews aged at 2,000 years plus, 32 at 3,000 years plus, 3 at 4,000 years plus and 1 at 5,000 years plus.

In addition to ancient yews, Wales has a larger number of 1,000 years plus yews. A special feature are circles of these old yews, typically made up of 7 or 8 trees.

Churchyard yews aged 5,000 years plus (3 yews)

Defynnog, Brecon
Discoed, Powys
Llangernwy, Clwyd

Churchyard yews aged 4,000 years (1 yew)
Bettws Newydd, Monmouthshire

Churchyard yews aged 3,000 years (11 yews)
Alltmawr, near Builth Wells, Powys
Llanafan Fawr, Powys
Llanbedr Ystrad Yw, Breconshire
Llandeiniolen, Gwynedd
Llandre, Cerdigion
Llanfaredd , near Builth Wells, Powys
Llanfeugan, Breconshire (2)
Llangynyw, Powys
Llanymawddwy, Gwynedd
Llantrithyd, Glamorgan

Wales. Churchyard yews aged 2,000 years (30 yews)
Cyffylliog, Denbighshire
Discoed, Powys
Gwytheryn, Conwy (2 yews)
Llanbedr Ystradyw, Breconshire
Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, Clwyd (2 yews)
Llanarth, Gwent
Llanelly, Monmouthshire
Llandrillo, Denbighshire
Llanddewi Rhydderch
Llandeiniolen, Gwynedd
Llanfeugan, Breconshire
Llanfihangel Nant Melan, Powys
Llangathen, Carmarthenshire
Llangattock Juxta Usk, Monmouthshire
Llanilid, Glamorgan
Llanspiddyd, Powys
Maesmynis, Powys
Mamhilad, Gwent
Meidrim, Carmarthenshire
Mynydd Islwyn, Gwent
Nantmel, Powys
Pennant Melangell, Powys (2 yews)
Penpont, Powys
Rhulen, Near Builth, Powys
Ystradgynlais, Powys

Non Churchyard Yews aged 2,000 years plus (14 yews)
Abergwesyn, Builth Wells (2 yews)
Caer Alyn, Llay, near Wrexham, Clwyd. Edge of field
Dolfor, Newtown, Powys. (2 yews on hillside)
Dolforwyn Castle, Yew tree cottage, Welshpool, Powys. Next to well
Ffynon Bedr, Conwy
Pantllidw, Machynlleth, Powys
Pantybeudy, Llangeithio, Ceredigion
Rhyd-y-Glafes, near Llandrillo
Ty Illtyd, Llanhamlach, near Brecon, Powys. (3 yews on hillside)
Yew tree Farm, Discoed, Offas Dyke, Powys/Herefordshire border

Churchyard Yews aged 5,000 years plus (1 yew)
Fortingall, Scotland

Churchyard Yews aged 4,000 years plus (3 yews)
Crowhurst, Surrey
Linton, Herefordshire
Tisbury, Wiltshire

Churchyard Yews aged 3,000 years plus (16 yews)
All Hallows, Dorset
Ashbrittle, Somerset
Clun, Shropshire
Claverley, Shropshire
Coldwaltham, Sussex
Farringdon, Hampshire,
Kenn, Devon
Kennington, Kent
Long Sutton, Hampshire
Lytchett Matravers, Dorset
Payhembury, Devon
Peterchurch, Herefordshire
Stanstead, Kent
Woodcott, Hampshire
Woolland, Dorset
Yazor, Herefordshire

Non churchyard Yews, aged 3,000 years plus (16 yews)
All Hallows, Dorset. One 30 ft. yew outside churchyard.
Boulsbury Farm, near Martin’s Wood, Hampshire
Bulbarrow, Dorset
Bodcott Farm, near Moccas Park, Herefordshire
Borrowdale, Lake District. National Trust
Bulbarrow Hill, Woolland, Dorset. On ancient barrow
Druids Grove, Surrey
Garnons Wood, nr. Mansell Gamage, Herefordshire
Keffold’s Farm, Haslemere, Sussex. Possible monastery site
Kentchurch, Herefordshire. Private estate. 3 yews
Knowlton Circles, Dorset. Henge monument
Norbury, Shropshire
Old Colwall, Herefordshire
Whitbury Hillfort, Dorset

Churchyard Yews aged 2,000 years plus (45 yews)
Acton Scott, Shropshire
Aldworth, Berkshire
Ankerwycke, near Runnymede, Buckinghamshire
Astbury, Cheshire
Awre, Gloucestershire
Boarhunt, Hampshire
Buckland in Dover, Kent
Buxted, Sussex
Challock, Kent
Cradley, Worcestershire
Crowhurst, Sussex
Darley Dale, Derbyshire
Dunster, Somerset
Eastling, Kent
Elworthy, Somerset
Hambledon, Surrey
Harrietsham, Kent
Hope Bagot, Shropshire
Huntley, Gloucestershire
Kemble, Gloucestershire
Leeds, Kent
Loose, Kent
Loughton, Shropshire
Mamhead, Devon
Martindale, Cumbria
Mid Lavant, Sussex
Molash, Kent
Old Enton, Surrey
Overton on Dee, Shropshire
Prior’s Dean, Hampshire
Ulcombe, Kent
Uppington, Shropshire
West Tisted, Hampshire
Wilmington, Sussex
Rycote Manor, Oxfordshire
Sidbury, Shropshire
South Hayling, Hampshire
Staunton, Worcestershire
Stedham, Sussex
Stockbury, Kent
Tandridge, Surrey
Tangley, Hampshire
Tettenhall, West Midlands
Totteridge, Hertfordshire
Zeal Monachorum, Devon

Non Churchyard Yews aged 2,000 years plus (34 yews)
Askerswell, Dorset
Barlavington Farm, Sussex
Bernera, Lismore, Argyl
Bruce’s Yew, Loch Lomond
Coldred, Kent. On burial mound opposite church
Churchill, Worcester, Kidderminster area. Old Church site
Compton Dando, Wandsdyke, Somerset. On dyke
Craswall, Herefordshire
Ducks Nest Longbarrow, Dorset. Private land
Eardisley, Herefordshire
Fountains Abbey, Ripon, Yorkshire. National Trust
Great Frazer Yew, above Loch Ness
Great Yews, Odstock, Wiltshire. Yew grove
Hanchurch, Stafforshire. Near a house called ‘The Yew Trees’
Holywell, Eardisley, Herefordshire. SSSI
Jays Copse, Haslemere. Surrey. Boundary marker tree
King Yew, Eastwood, Tiddenham Chase, Gloucestershire
Kingley Vale
Kyre Park, Worcestershire
Lydney Park, Gloucestershire
Lorton, Kendal, Cumbria. Wordsworth’s Tree. By stream in field
Marston Bigot, Somerset. Private land
Merdon Castle, Winchester, Hampshire
Middleton Scriven, Shropshire. (2 yews in field opposite church)
Newlands Corner, Surrey
Old Enton, near Godalming, Surrey. Possible hillfort
Old Church, Ullswater, Cumbria. Hotel grounds
Rye Hill, near Knowlton Circles, Dorset. On farmland
Snoddington Manor Farm, Tidworth, Hampshire
Temple Farm, Longleat, Wiltshire
Yew tree knob, Wintershall private estate, Bramley, Guildford, Surrey
White house Copse, Cranbourne, Dorset
Yew Tree Field, Damerham, Dorset


Janis Fry researched with Allen Meredith

This list, taken from many sources, is not a comprehensive one but an estimate, of the number of yews lost in Britain, mainly since the 2nd World War. There were also losses in Victorian times with the loss of the knowledge of sacred side of the yew trees. There is no way of knowing the true figure as records were not made and collected at the time. The list may be just the tip of the iceberg as it is not always obvious when a yew has disappeared for ever. For instance I am certain there must have been a much earlier, older yew at Nevern in Pembrokeshire but no old stump or evidence can be found. Between the Victorian era and the 2nd Wold War, thousands of yews, of which just a few examples are included here have gone and since then somewhere in the region of 500 have been destroyed. This list has been researched from old records and books such as Arthur Mee’s ‘King’s England’ (1930’s), Vaughan Cornish ‘The Churchyard Yew and Immortality’ (1946), E.W. Swanton ‘The Yew trees of England’ (1958) and old illustrations and engravings of churches with old yews, where the yews are no longer there. This list is mainly about churchyards known to have lost yews. Many of those places would typically have lost several yews like Myddfai in Carmarthenshire where only 1 yew remains on the north side, out of a circle of at least 5 or 6 originally there ... read the full article


In addition to this list some 65 more lost yew sites are described in an article by Tim Hills of the Ancient Yew group:

Tim Hills also lists another 10 in the Diocese of Bath and Wells:


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