The yew tree is the most ancient of trees with some trees thought to be thousands of years old. In old age they have a distinctive gnarled shape with some branches curving down to the ground and taking root.

Yew trees are taken as symbols of immortality in many traditions, but are also seen as omens of doom. For many centuries it was the custom for yew branches to be carried on Palm Sunday and at funerals. In Ireland, it was said that the yew was ‘the coffin of the vine’ as wine barrels were made of yew staves.