Our thanks to John Clayton and Margaret Mackinder for this news about the Slingsby Church yews.
Whether you walked between them on your wedding day, or regularly pass through them on your way into church, or simply see them on your daily route to work, or walks around the village, many of you will have a fond association with the avenue of Irish Yews that line the main entrance to Slingsby Church.
Over many years the individual trees have been trimmed into individual cylindrical shapes to create a formal feature.
Unfortunately the trees were planted very close to the footpath and have inevitably grown to a point where they are obstructing passage, especially for weddings and funerals, and, although it would be possible to trim them back to solve the problem in the short-term, the required amount of trimming would cause individuals to be misshapen which would detract from the desired formal appearance.
Rather than taking the radical decision to remove them and start again, it has been decided that they should be retained but formed into a shape that will not affect the footpath in future. The trees are therefore to be shaped into individual pyramids which will allow for sloping sides away from the footpath edge. To achieve this it will be necessary to prune them quite hard to fit them under specially made metal frames with mesh sides which will allow the new shoots to grow through to eventually form the new pyramidal shape. Fortunately yew is one of the few conifer species which regenerates well following hard pruning, therefore, although the trees will look a little unsightly for a period of time after pruning this will only be a temporary appearance. This process is by no means a quick fix, and may take a few growing seasons to achieve the desired result. However the final result should be worth waiting for.
It is intended that work will begin before Christmas.