Fortingall Yew, Fortingall

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#88 of 215 in Things to do in Perth and Kinross
The Fortingall Yew is an ancient European yew in the churchyard of the village of Fortingall in Perthshire, Scotland. Modern expert estimates have put its age over 3,000 years. It may be the oldest tree in Britain.AgeModern expert estimates put the age of the tree at between 2,000 and 3,000 years, although it may be a remnant of a post-Roman Christian site and around 1,500 years old. Others have suggested an age as great as 5,000 years to 9000 years. This still makes it one of the oldest known trees in Europe, although the root system of the Norway spruce Old Tjikko in Sweden is at least 9,500 years old. The Fortingall Yew is possibly the oldest tree in Britain.The treeThe tree's once massive trunk with a former head of unknown original height, is split into several separate stems, giving the impression of several smaller trees, with loss of the heartwood rings that would establish its true age. This is a result of the natural decay of the ancient heartwood, which reduced the centre of the trunk down to ground level by 1770. Other than this, the tree is still in good health, and may last for many more centuries. By 1833 it was noted that "large arms had been removed and even masses of the trunk, carried off, to make drinking-cups and other curiosities." It is protected by a low wall erected in 1785 to preserve it but it can still be easily viewed. The yew is male, however in 2015 scientists from the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh reported that one small branch on the outer part of the crown had changed sex and begun to bear a small group of berries - an occurrence occasionally noted in conifers. The seeds have been preserved for study and will be used to help maintain genetic diversity in yews.
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62 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • August 11, 2017
    We hiked from Kenmore to Fortingall so of course visited the old Yew tree, which is next to the church and a stone throw from Fortingall hotel, where we stayed. It's dubbed as possibly the oldtest tre...  more »
  • July 29, 2017
    The flagstones marking the historical context are a nice touch but could be far more informative. The tree is not particularly special to look at and so there needs to be more information about how th...  more »
  • July 23, 2017
    A few minutes to view the tree and church is well worth the time. Also the Fortingall Hotel has a bar right next door to the church as well as an excellent restaurant.  more »

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