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Wales's Tree of the Year 2018 shortlist

Read the stories behind this year’s runners up.

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Ysbyty Ifan Yews, Ysbyty Ifan, Conwy

Ysbyty Ifan stands on the ancient pilgrimage route and in 1190 the Knights of St John set up a hospital in the village. This closed on the abolition of the monasteries, but a church dedicated to St John was built on the site in 1885, the second to be built here after the hospital, and these yew trees were already standing there at that time, as can be seen in photographs.

The trees are clearly extremely old and must have witnessed centuries of history, including possibly, the period when the notorious Red Bandits of Dinas Mawddwy used the village as a hideout in the 16th century, taking advantage of the Knights' privilege of sanctuary.

Ysbyty Ifan Yews (Photo: Rory Francis/WTML)

Aberglasney Yew Tunnel, Aberglasney Gardens, Carmarthenshire

Aberglasney’s Yew Tree Tunnel is undoubtedly the most photographed feature in these world-renowned gardens. It’s taken years of careful pruning to restore this garden highlight, thought to have planted by the Dyer family during the 18th century (son of Aberglasney, the poet John Dyer, was held in extremely high regard by William Wordsworth).

The Yew Tunnel is today a glorious fusion of several trees, how many it’s difficult to tell, but the result is a revered growing gallery that leaves visitors in awe.

Aberglasney Yew Tunnel (Photo: Mark Zytynski/WTML)

The Cemetery Copper Beech, Crickhowell, Powys

This tree has stood over Crickhowell cemetery for well over 100 years. Although there is no documented evidence to date it exactly there are photographs from around 1930 which show it to be well established, suggesting it was planted in the late 19th century.

The tree with its beautiful crown of dark red leaves can be seen from neighbouring villages and further afield. Its spread is well over 15 metres and extends over New Road, meaning thousands of people pass beneath its boughs daily, whilst the other side peacefully shades the resting place many of Crickhowell’s past residents. This tree is a ruby gem in the centre of Crickhowell.

Cemetery Copper Beech (Photo: Mark Zytynski/WTML)

The Defynnog Yew, Defynnog, Powys

This tree is estimated to be over 5000 years old which makes it possibly one of the oldest trees in the world. It is also what is known as a wandering yew which means that its trunk has split and walked apart.

This particular tree has had both of its trunks DNA tested and has been proven to be the same tree even through it looks like two trees close to each other.

Defynnog Yew (Photo: Mark Zytynski/WTML)

The Ancient Yew at Carreg Gwenlais, Llanfihangel Aberbythych, Nr Llandybïe, Carmarthenshire

The yew tree at Carreg Gwenlais is considered by the local community to be the protector of the Gwenlais Valley. It is situated at the head of a double spring, which according to legend appeared following the murder of a virgin at this spot. Some say that this maiden could possibly have been St Tybie, a daughter of St Brychan.

Over the years this site has played an important role in the history of the community and baptisms were performed here in front of this ancient tree. There appears to be evidence of this to this day. These stories and the tree are cherished by all in the community.

The Ancient Yew at Carreg Gwenlais (Photo: Mark Zytynski/WTML)