ROOTED IN HISTORY
Homes & Gardens|February 2021
Winter is the best time to see the beauty of our ancient native trees. Here’s the story of these forces of nature, where to find them and how to preserve them
ZIA ALLAWAY
THE official definition of an ancient woodland is any area that has been continuously wooded since 1600 or before. Made up of trees of different ages, it now accounts for just two per cent of Britain’s landmass. Ancient trees have survived in areas that have not been farmed or developed, such as mountainsides, private estates and in graveyards, where yews were planted as guardians of hallowed ground. The Fortingall yew, growing in a graveyard in Fortingall village in Perthshire, is estimated to be 5,000 years old and is one of Britain’s most ancient trees. Legend says that Pontius Pilate, who oversaw the crucifixion of Christ, was born beneath the Fortingall yew.

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