A TREE in the corner of a British cemetery was yesterday revealed to have been around longer than the Pyramids.
The yew tree is more than 5,000 years old, from the era 3,000BC.
It started growing nearly 500 years before the Pharaohs built the Great Pyramid of Giza.
And it was a sapling at about the time work first began on building Stonehenge.
The 60ft wide tree’s age has been revealed by experts who carried out ring dating and DNA analysis.
They say the tree in St Cynog’s churchyard, at Defynnog near Sennybridge, Powys, is certainly Europe’s oldest living thing.
It could be the oldest living tree in the world, a title currently held by a bristlecone pine in California known to be 5,063 years old.
I’m convinced this is the oldest tree in Europe
Janis Fry, tree ageing expert
Tree ageing expert Janis Fry, 64, who has been studying yews for more than 40 years, said: “I’m convinced this is the oldest tree in Europe. It was planted on the north side of an ancient burial mound.
“It is so old that it has split into two halves, one 40 feet wide and the other 20 feet wide.
“It’s DNA has been tested by the Forestry Institute and its ring count is 120 per inch, which makes it over 5,000 years old.”
This means it outranks its nearest British rival, the Fortingall Yew in Perthshire Scotland, which is said to be up to 5,000 years old.
Church in Wales property services chief Alex Glanville said: “Yew trees have survived in Wales better than anywhere else because of our wet climate and lower light levels.”
The Church has launched a campaign to protect the yew trees in its churchyards.
Mr Glanville added: “It is time we celebrated these amazing trees and the communities that have cared for them down the centuries.”