Ancient trees have stood witness to history for hundreds, even thousands, of years. They are remarkable and rare and provide us with beautiful landscapes, historical monuments and a wealth of wildlife. These trees are home for our most endangered wildlife and as the oldest living representatives of their species they are rare in their own right. They are under threat as never before from development, neglect, intensive agriculture and forestry.
- Generally speaking, the older and fatter a tree is, the more important it is for wildlife. And where a number of ancient trees are gathered together, the more there are, the more valuable they are for biodiversity.
- Perhaps the best known of ancient trees in the United Kingdom are oak and yew.
- Britain's oldest tree is probably the Fortingall Yew in Tayside, which some believe may be over 3,000 years old.
- Oak has been considered sacred by most ancient cultures who saw these trees, which were held in particular esteem by the Druids, Norse, Celts and Greeks because of their longevity and size.
- Robin Hood knew The Major Oak in Sherwood Forest as an acorn. This 10 metre (33 feet) girth tree's branches spread out over 28 metres (92 feet) and its estimated weight is 23 tons. The tree is probably 800 years old.
- The Borrowdale Yew is the largest survivor of the yews on a Lake District hillside which Wordsworth celebrated in his 1803 poem, Yew Trees, as "those fraternal four of Borrowdale".
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