Image, with thanks, by John Nethercott

Image, with thanks, by John Nethercott

The Discoed Yew - Welsh Tree of the Year? Please vote!



The charity is now inviting the public to vote for their favourite Welsh tree before October 12, with the winner going forward to the European Tree of the Year competition in early 2016. Similar competitions are being held in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  To vote for the Discoed Yew please visit the Woodland Trust website here:

The Discoed Yew

Believed to be one of the three oldest yews in Britain, this tree has been estimated to be at least 5,000 years old. Standing in what is now the churchyard of St Michael’s Church in Discoed near Presteigne, it receives many visitors each year from all over the world and is seen by local people to be at the heartbeat of the local community. Even allowing for a little flexibility in its age, this magnificent specimen must already have been an ancient tree before Christ was born, or David wrote his psalms. 
“ ……..there is one place
for which we ask more than an angel’s eye-
our own St Michael’s, dwarfed by a tree
that was full grown three thousand years
before a Christian stone was laid upon this hill.”
— 'Petition from the Parish' by Edward Storey

Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust Chief Executive, said: “This contest reminds us how trees have been an integral part of this country’s history and play an important role in our lives today. We still need better protection for individual trees across the UK and we hope everyone who votes will also support our campaign to create a register for all our Trees of National Special Interest.”

The European Tree of the Year contest, run by the Environmental Partnership Association since 2011, looks for the best loved trees from 15 countries across Europe. The 2015 winner from over 180,000 votes cast was the ‘Oak tree on a football field’ in Estonia.

The UK is home to one of the largest populations of ancient and veteran trees in Europe and over 8,000 people have signed up to the Trust’s V.I Trees campaign to try and ensure all Trees of National Special Interest have better long term protection from the threats posed by climate change, development, pests and diseases.

To see all the shortlists visit

St Michael's Church, Discoed

The modest 'Shepherd’s' church of St Michael in Discoed (Old English 'dic' and 'cot' a cottage by Offa’s Dyke), on the border between Powys and Herefordshire, acts as a both a spiritual and artistic hub to the community. This chapel of ease for St Andrew’s, Presteigne, is medieval, with 'admirably restrained' Victorian modifications. The circular site, the spectacular ancient yew tree, and the spring by the churchyard gate, suggest that the sanctity of this place has been respected for much longer. It remains a haven of rare tranquillity and natural beauty (with at least thirty-two species of wild flowers) set in unspoilt Welsh Marches border countryside.

The Friends of St Michael’s

St Michael’s Church is inseparable from the 5,000 year old yew tree that presides over this ancient circular site. The yew is largely self re-generating, but the church – the centre of our tiny community – is not.

The Friends of St Michael’s, under President Edward Storey and with Patrons, Professor David Bellamy, Dr Ronald Blythe and David Wheeler, was formed to raise the funds for the repair, renovation and development of our much loved church. As a daughter church of St Andrew’s, Presteigne, it was unrealistic to believe that the use of the church for services would justify the expense that would be needed to achieve these aims. A parallel commitment was therefore made to use the building for as wide a range of arts events as possible.

The essential repairs to the fabric of the church, (for the time-being!) are now complete, an efficient modern heating system has been installed, the paths have been relayed and the interior adapted to a much wider range of uses.

We are proud of the wide range of events that have been put on at St Michael’s over the last few years including concerts, literary events and art and ceramic exhibitions. The Friends have probably raised some £150,000 since their formation but more importantly they have created a strong and committed group of local enthusiasts backed up by a wider group of supporters across the country. While the Friends still need to raise funds for the long-term future of St Michael’s we are also ready to help other causes.



Leave Presteigne heading west on the B4356. After 1 mile take minor road (straight on) signposted Cascob. Continue for 1 mile. Church approach is up on left after Discoed sign. 



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