An­cient sur­vivors

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild January -

Mid­win­ter is the ideal mo­ment to make a pil­grim­age to see our most ven­er­a­ble conifers. Long be­fore Chris­tian­ity reached these is­lands, yews were sa­cred to the An­glo-Sax­ons and Celts, so they have a very long cul­tural his­tory. Fit­tingly, they are also the old­est liv­ing things in Bri­tain. Our coun­try sup­ports hun­dreds of an­cient yews aged at least 1,000 years, with four thought to have sur­vived five mil­len­nia. Yet these mighty trees, some of which have split trunks and an enor­mous girth, en­joy lit­tle or no for­mal pro­tec­tion – even those grow­ing in church­yards.


Find and re­port old yew trees at an­

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