The Fortingall Yew is a heritage tree of international importance which is situated in the Highland Perthshire village of Fortingall, eight miles west of Aberfeldy.
The Fortingall Yew is at the geographical heart of Scotland and stands within Fortingall churchyard. It is thought to be between 3,000 and 9,000 years old and has connections to early Christianity in Scotland. It is also believed to be one of the oldest living things in Europe. In 1769 the circumference of the yew’s multiple trunks was measured at 52 ft, but this has vastly reduced over time and what remains are the relics and offshoots of the original tree.
Visitors to the old yew tree can also visit Fortingall Church and stroll down the main street of this picturesque village.
Look out for the single, time worn cairn in the field opposite the village, known as Cairn of the Dead. During the 16th century Scotland was not spared the Great Plague (Galar Mhor) and the parish suffered heavy losses. So many people died that they could not be accommodated in the churchyard and, legend has it that, an old woman, still sufficiently healthy, carried the victims on a horse-drawn sledge to a mass grave in the field and raised a cairn to mark the resting place. map