The yew tree is the oldest living resident of our Gardens, and is believed to be 1500-2000 years old.
Long-living and evergreen, yews were pagan sacred simple of eternal life, of new springing from old – this tree would have been a strong sign of life even in the winter and would have been visible from a great distance.
Our senior yew was already more than 1,000 years old when the nearby church tower was built in the 12th century. For several generations its wood provided material for medieval longbows.
- More early images of Dartington by George Bennett can be found in the archive
More Gardens history
The TiltyardThe history of our most distinctive Gardens feature
Henry Moore's Memorial FigureThe renowned sculptor's tribute to a key Dartington figure
The Sunny BorderHow one of Dorothy Elmhirst's favourite features has evolved
The Bridge by Peter Randall-PageA functional artwork that helps keep our Gardens accessible to all
Beatrix Farrand’s courtyard pavingThe history of a space inspired by the college quadrangles of Oxford University
FloraA statue gifted to founders Leonard and Dorothy Elmhirst by the people of Dartington
The Yew TreeThe oldest living resident of our Gardens, believed to be 1500-2000 years old
St Mary’s Church TowerThis 13th century tower is home to our 'Silent Space', a place of quiet contemplation