Ancient trees in the Lakes

An ancient Yew in Borrowdale, Lake District

We care for more ancient trees than any other single owner in Europe. In the Lake District we look after 5835, a big number and a big responsibility.

An ancient tree is one that is remarkably old for its species, which varies from species to species. And they are often solitary. Yews live the longest, some for as many as 4,000 years.

We know one of the Borrowdale yews is at least 1,500 years old and William Wordsworth was moved to write a poem about them. A beech or ash tree can be old at 600 years, particularly if they were historically pollarded. Whereas a birch tree is considered ancient if it gets to 150 years old and, for a lime, it would be 350 years old.

" Head to Glencoyne Park at Ullswater - it’s chock full of ancient oaks, alders and other trees, but the crab apple trees are my favourites. They are visible from the new, off-road footpaths. "
Ivan Day talks about rare lichen in Thorneythwaite's woodlands

Rare lichens of Thorneythwaite's woodlands

We're working with lichenologist Ivan Day as he revisits two trees he surveyed over 30 years ago to see how the rare lichens at Thorneythwaite have survived over time.

John Pring

Ancient trees Q&A with Countryside Ranger John Pring 

John Pring, Countryside Ranger and Farming Manager, talks to us about why he loves looking after ancient trees.

The Quarry Oak, a 1,000-year-old sessile oak tree, at Croft Castle, Herefordshire

Enter a world of ancient trees 

We care for many of the nation's most important trees, including historically significant trees and trees that are thousands of years old.