The Ankerwycke Yew
This iconic 2,500 year old yew tress is steeped in history. According to popular belief, it was beneath this tree that King Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn, and some reports suggest that he even proposed in its shadow. While Magna Carta is said to have been sealed at Runnymede, there are those who argue that the event actually took place on the other side of the river, perhaps under this very yew.
St Mary's priory
Close to the Ankerwycke Yew lies St Mary's Priory. These crumbling walls were once a nunnery, built during the reign of Henry II and dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene. Following the dissolution of the monasteries the priory passed into private hands, and was patched up many times over the years. During the 19th and 20th centuries much of the surviving building fell into disrepair, and today only a few overgrown walls remain.
Help us care for the countryside
Please follow the Countryside Code. You can do this by:
- Leaving no trace of your visit and taking all of your litter home
- Not using barbecues as they risk causing wildfires
- Keeping dogs under effective control and on a lead when you are around farm animals
- Leaving gates as you find them and following instructions on signs
- Keeping to footpaths and following signs where they suggest alternative routes
The countryside at Ankerwycke is home to wildlife in abundance. Listen out for the loud, laughing calls of the green woodpeckers, or see if you can spot them feeding on insects in the woods. The emerald dragonfly and large red dragonfly are often visible darting between the ponds, and in spring the bare ground is carpeted with snowdrops, thought to be planted here in Victorian times.