Saturday, November 18, 2006

Yew Trees in Devon

There are a lot of good Yew trees hidden away in churchyards in Devon. In most cases they are tucked away in tiny little villages in the middle of nowhere which is a great way to preserve these beautiful ancient trees. I am lucky to have a very reasonable boss who took me to a couple of these trees last week as we were traveling around Devon in the course of our work, as otherwise these places are difficult for me to get to as I gave up driving about ten years ago. Yew trees seem to be quite difficult to age but some of the bigger ones could be very much older than 2000 years. There is an interesting book on the subject by Anand Chetan and Diana Brueton called The Sacred Yew which also discusses the work of Allen Meredith, who had a series of dreams involving information about yew trees. This tree in Payhembury is one of the oldest in the country. As Yew trees become old they touch a tip of a branch down onto the ground and this takes root and a new tree is born from the older one, so that the tree can go round and round in this spiral growth shape.