Fortingall Yew - Perth & Kinross, Scotland
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member creg-ny-baa
N 56° 35.887 W 004° 03.047
30V E 435482 N 6273145
Quick Description: Yew tree in the churchyard in the small Perthshire village of Fortingall, believed to be the oldest living thing in Europe.
Location: Northern Scotland, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 7/5/2022 6:17:37 AM
Waymark Code: WM16D5C
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Alfouine
Views: 2

Long Description:

This yew tree next to the Kirk of Fortingall is possibly Europe, and one of the world's oldest living things. Under the dark veil of needles are two relic trunks that scholars believe date back 5,000 years. The tree is estimated to be somewhere between 2,000 and 9,000 years old with the date not being known, but it outdates Stonehenge and the birth of Jesus Christ.

The tree originally had a girth of an incredible 56 feet, but sadly over the years has attracted souvenir hunters, fires being lit underneath it, and funeral processions passing under its arch. Eventually a wall had to be built around it from 1785 to 1842.

Pontius Pilate, born nearby was rumoured to have, as a child, played under its branches, although this has been dismissed as a myth.

When the Early Christians came to Fortingall in the 7th century, they decided to build their new church next to the ancient yew. The current church lies adjacent to the east.

Most recently parts of the male tree, due to environmental stress, has changed sex. In 2015, red berries started growing, associated with the female of the species.

The churchyard lies north of the minor road that runs through the village. The entrance gate is to the west and the tree is easily found in front of the west side of the church to the left.

Genus/Species: Yew (Taxus Baccata)

Height: 35

Girth: 8

Method of obtaining height: Sighting along a 45 degree angle

Method of obtaining girth: Reliable source

Location type: Other public property

Age: 5000

Historical significance:
Thought to be the oldest living thing in Europe, and certainly in the UK.


Website reference: [Web Link]

Parking coordinates: N 56° 35.888 W 004° 03.071

Walk time: 1

Planter: Not listed

Photograpy coordinates: Not Listed

Visit Instructions:
A closeup picture of your GPS receiver in your hand, with the tree in the background, is required. If the tree is on private property, this closeup photograph with the tree in the background may be taken from the nearest public vantage point without actually going to the tree.
The required photograph does not need to show the entire tree, but the individual tree must be recognizable.
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