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The Discoed Yew

2007's final tree of the moment is a species we haven't featured even once this year

21 December 2007

It's the last tree of the moment for 2007, can you believe it? To end the year we thought we would right a wrong by featuring a yew tree, as we havent had a single one highlighted all year. The Discoed Yew in Powys is a fabulous example of the ancient yews that guard cemeteries and churchyards around the country.

For those of you who may have wondered, the reason yew trees are so prevelant in churchyards is down to the work of early evangelists trying to promote the Christian church. They would preach under yew trees and build churches nearby to gain respectability for the new religion. Some say they were also planted as a symbol of everlasting life or as trees of death.

The Discoed Yew, Powys

The Discoed Yew has had a poem written about it which you could say adds to the mystery of the religious connotations of the yew tree:

BEYOND TREE RINGS How could this trees biography ever be written? Had sight reached beyond boundaries, it might have watched the Hebrew's flight from slavery long before David's psalms were sung. Closer to where its roots were struck in Wales, it saw the earliest shepherds come with weavers and harpists, their eyes bewildered by the first conjuring tricks of spring. Now its looks on another world of slaves which may have measured space but failed to lengthen hours by inch- our hill a stone we've briefly settled on. And neither it nor any dying star can say where the next birth-seed will be sown. Even the sun may forget how to make shadows, leaving only silence beyond tree rings. Yet why should we stop singing? We too are freed by music that breaks chains and, for the split second of a millennium, join in the dance to blossom, root and stone. BY EDWARD STOREY

Discoed Yew, Powys. Photo Kath Owen