The Ancient Yew Group (AYG) was formed in 2003 to monitor, protect and collect scientific data on old yews; Taxus baccata L. It is sponsored by The Conservation Foundation and The Tree Register. The AYG website includes many field reports and papers on yews, both wild and ‘domestic’ as well as a comprehensive gazetteer of the UKs oldest specimens.

The Ancient Yew Group (AYG) website
The Ancient Yew Group (AYG) website

Ancient Yew data gathering

Toby Hindson, a PGG member, is also one of the founders of the AYG and a voluntary scientist working on yew dating. Part of the constant search for yew knowledge is of course data gathering, and particularly valuable is the planting date of an old yew. Obviously yew data are only recorded in places where our researchers can go, and some PGG members have access to trees and estate records which the AYG cannot reach. Toby cordially invites PGG members to submit data (with the kind permission of landowners and employers) from living and felled yews that they are aware of.

Categories of particular interest:

  • Yews which are above 4 metres in girth, or broken yews which might once have reached this girth.
  • A yew of any size with a known planting date, together with its current girth.
  • Complete ring counts (cambium to pith) from felled yews, stating minimum bole girth found between ground level and 1 metre from ground.
Ankerwyke Priory yew- girth measure records span over 2 centuries
Ankerwyke Priory yew – girth measure records span over 2 centuries

Submit works on Taxus baccata L.

Academically minded PGG members are also more than welcome to submit works on Taxus baccata L. for inclusion on the AYG site, all work published enters the public domain and is copyrighted to the author.

We can be emailed through the AYG website: Please include ‘PGG’ in the email subject.

  1. We have a group of yews the largest of which has a girth approx 5 meters at ground level.The estate is an old one and is quoted in the Index Devonia for the Doomsday exersize as being given by King Alfred to his youngest son and later by Edward 111 to his youngest son.Would dating these Yews cast any information on where the original house/s were sited as this one is Regency Gothic from about 1800? Who should I contact?
    Thanks Terence Lewis 01566 784659 Lifton Park Lifton Devon
    PL16 0DE

  2. Hello Professor Lewis,
    contact should usually be through the Ancient Yew Group site, the site E-mail is monitored. Your yews sound most interesting and you will be contacted shortly by one of our members.
    Very best,