Enter a world of ancient trees

The Quarry Oak, a 1,000-year-old sessile oak tree, at Croft Castle, Herefordshire
Ancient trees, such as this 1,000-year-old oak, require special protection National Trust Images/Robert Morris

We care for some of the UK’s most important trees such as Newton’s Apple, which triggered the great scientist to form his laws of gravity, the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Tree, under which the first trade union was formed, and the original Irish Yew, which has produced every other Irish Yew in the world.

And these are just a few of the ancient and notable trees that we look after. Hundreds of our volunteers and staff have spent years identifying these trees at places we look after and we’ve recorded over 30,000 so far.

Old trees have no formal recognition (unlike listed buildings), so our survey, along with work being carried out by the Woodland Trust, will raise the profile of these species-rich habitats which are examples of living archaeology.

Discover our ancient and notable trees

Other important trees we look after include:

  • The 2,500-year-old Ankerwycke Yew near Runnymede which is thought to be the oldest in our care. It may have witnessed the events around the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215 and King Henry VIII's wooing of Anne Boleyn in the 1530s.
  • Calke Abbey has two magnificent contorted and gnarly 1,000-year-old oaks, both true living sculptures, as well as another which is 800 years old.
  • At Hatfield Forest, which is the best-preserved medieval hunting forest in Europe, you can see hundreds of ancient pollards. These are trees which have had their upper branches pruned to prevent cattle and deer from eating the regrowth.
  • Great tree avenues, collections of individual trees in rows and even cathedral-like formations. We look after more avenues than possibly anyone else in the world.
Why not head out and discover some true natural history on an ancient tree walk?

Watch these videos to find out more


The world of ancient trees: part one

Our Ancient Tree Advisor, Brian Muelaner, explores the fascinating world of trees.


The world of ancient trees: part two

Brian Muelaner delves further into the interesting world of ancient trees.


Studley Royal Arboriculture

Brian Muelaner discovers the many notable ancient trees at Studley Royal.


Great tree avenues

Take a video stroll through our spectacular tree avenues and find out what makes them so special.


The Ankerwycke Yew

Find out more about this incredibly ancient tree that has been growing for around 2500 years at Runnymede in Berkshire.


Ashridge Beech

Discover the notable trees at Ashridge Estate, including a very special beech with important links to WWII.


Borrowdale Yews (The Fraternal Four)

Learn about the ancient Borrowdale Yews, a group of trees that may have inspired William Wordsworth.


Croft Castle Sweet Chestnut Avenue

Take a walk through the ancient sweet chestnut avenue at Croft Castle in Herefordshire.


Crom Yews, Castle Crom, Fermanagh, NI

Join Brian Muelaner as he discovers the notable trees of Crom Yews in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.


Dizzard Dwarf Oaks, North Cornwall

Discover the Dwarf Oaks of Dizzard Forest on the north coast of Cornwall with our Ancient Trees Advisor.


Irish Yew, Florence Court, Northern Ireland

Learn the history behind the Irish Yew at Florence Court in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.


Kingston Lacy Beech Avenue

Take a walk through the remarkably long beech avenue at Kingston Lacey in Dorset.


Newton’s Apple, Woolshorpe Manor, Lincolnshire

Learn about Sir Isaac Newton's apple tree at Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire, and how it still endures.


Plymouth Pear, Lanhydrock, Cornwall

Discover the Plymouth Pear at Lanhydrock, Cornwall, one of Britain's rarest trees.


Stowe Avenue

Find out about the amazing lime avenue at Stowe landscape garden in Buckinghamshire with Brian Muelaner.


The Whitebeams of Cheddar Gorge & Leigh Woods

Brian Muelaner explores Cheddar Gorge & Leigh Woods and learns of the discovery of new Whitebeam species.


Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Tree, Dorset

Explore the fascinating Tolpuddle Martyrs' Tree in Dorset, the birthplace of British trade unionism.