Llangernyw Yew

Llangernyw Yew, Conwy
Llangernyw Yew / Stemonitis, Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 2.5

WorldBlue  In short

The Llangernyw Yew often is declared to be one of the oldest trees in the world. The exact age of this tree is impossible to tell but there are estimates that it is 4,000 – 5,000 years old.

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GPS coordinates
53.1923 N 3.6850 W
Location, address
Europe, United Kingdom, Wales, Conwy, Llangernyw, in the churchyard of St. Dygain’s Church
European Yew (Taxus baccata L.)
10.75 m (at the ground, 3.)
13 m

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Is the Llangernyw Yew really 5000 years old?

Unfortunately Wondermondo could not find out – how exactly this age has been calculated. The core of the tree is lost – thus it is not possible to count the tree rings. There is a possibility that this impressive number is based… on tradition (e.g. old rumors).

Whatever: it is certain that the age of this magnificent tree is measured in thousands of years.

If the hypothesis about the 5,000 years age is correct, this yew was growing already in the Bronze Age.

Unusual ancient site

The tree had to be enormous already by the time when the first Christian shrine was established here. It is possible that this happened in early medieval times, although the current church is not earlier than the 13th century.

Llangernyw Yew in Conwy
Llangernyw Yew, hollow / © Copyright Eirian Evans, Geograph. Licensed for reuse under CC BY-SA 2.0

Most likely a shrine was there well before the coming of Christianity. Next to the wall of the church are two standing stones, with the third as a stepping stone between them. Primitive crosses are etched in each of these stones – a common practice of the church to “Christianize” paganic idols. This weird portal now leads directly to a blind wall – but who knows, where it led before the church was built there?

Fragmented tree

Llangernyw Yew has lost its core. Now there remain several large parts of the original tree that look like separate stems now. In spite of its incredible age, the tree is vital and green.

The circumference around all the trunks in 2005 was 10.75 m (3.).

It was under grave danger recently – in the 1990s in the hollow was located an oil tank. When the tank was removed, the clean-up activities included the removal of much deadwood, and possibly, some live parts as well. Nevertheless, the tree lives!

Misunderstanding with Angelystor

Often there is mentioned that the famous ghost of Llangernyw – the dreary Angelystor – is spelling its prophecies under the yew tree. This is not entirely true – legend tells that this is happening in the nearby church.


  1. Angelystor, BBC. Accessed on September 1, 2018
  2. Yew/Yews at Llangernyw Wales, Ancient Yew Group. Accessed on December 27, 2022
  3. European Yew in the churchyard of St Digain’s, Llangernyw, Wales, United Kingdom
    , Monumental Trees. Accessed on December 30, 2023
Llangernyw Yew is included in the following article:

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The category includes some of the most impressive and interesting separate trees in the world. The total number of tree species in the world still is a wild guess – maybe 10,000 and maybe 100,000 but most likely somewhere in between. Every month there are reported new tree species from the whole world, including Western Europe.

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Yew: A History

The yew is one of the most fascinating and versatile life forms on Earth, botanically rich and intriguing, and culturally almost without comparison. This impressive study of the yew reveals that in history, mythology, religion, folklore, medicine, and warfare, the yew bears timeless witness to a deep relationship with mankind. It is the tree that Darwin often rested beneath and under which he wanted to be buried.

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