Ancient yew tree, Discoed

Link to French translationAncient yew tree, Discoed

This tree is a remarkable living survivor from prehistoric times. It may have germinated as many as 5,000 years ago. Today it’s situated in the grounds of St Michael’s Church, but it was already thousands of years old by the time Jesus Christ was born!

Yew trees survive by regenerating. This tree’s original growth has long since died back, but the younger wood we see today draws nutrients from the same prehistoric roots.

This tree is a male. A smaller, female companion grows in the south-west of the churchyard.

Celts regarded the yew as a sacred tree, and were fascinated by its ability to die and re-grow. The area around the Discoed yew may have been used for worship before Christianity came to Wales, with the site later being adopted for Christian purposes. Whatever the sequence of events, instead of a yew being planted near a church (as was common across Britain), this church was ‘planted’ near a yew.

A survey in 2002 recorded 32 species of wildflower in the churchyard. Rusty-back fern (Asplenium ceterach or Asplenium officinarum) grows abundantly on sections of the perimeter wall. Its leaves are short, up to c.12cm long, and the lobes rounded.

Near the north gate of the churchyard is a small well built around a spring. This may have been significant in the era of Celtic Christianity or earlier.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LD8 2NW

Website of Friends of St Michael’s Church

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