The yew walk is an amazing feature of the garden at Loughall, the house and grounds owned by the Department of Agriculture but part now open to the public. The walk dates from around 1685 and the founding of the estate.
The yews here are not clipped, but are free-growing trees of spreading form. Two or three rows of yew trees line a wide walk, quiet and beautiful. Some of the inner trees have grown tall and straight, almost pine-like. Some lean inwards over the centre path. Some are single-stemmed, some have divided into multiple trunks. At the outer edges, trees have grown low and spreading, reaching towards the light. Some have smooth bark, some twisted, some look smooth and simple in form, some complex like multiple columns.
Every one appears different, and every one is special.
There is a notion that yews are somewhat lifeless – this is far from the truth. Birds feed and nest in them, at Loughgall grey squirrels breed. The woodland floor is by no means bare, carpeted in one area with the woodland flower wood sanicle.
Part of the deal when the house went into public ownership was that the yew walk be maintained and if trees failed that they would be replaced with seedlings from the original trees. This has been done – young trees were found ready and waiting when they were needed as replacements.