Walk 46 - Discovering the Yew Trees of Kingley Vale - The Country's First National Nature Reserve

yew tree
  • DATE: Thursday 24 August 2023

  • TIME:  09.45

  • START LOCATION: West Stoke Car Park

  • Grid Ref/W3W: SU24 088 / shallower.falls.passwords

  • DISTANCE: 4.5 miles / 7.5km

  • DURATION: 3 hours 

If August lives up to its reputation as the hottest month of the year, lingering in the cool shade of the ancient yews of Kingley Vale will be the perfect antidote to the summer heat.

Graham Johnstone from Natural England is going to accompany us for the first 45 mins giving us an insight into the life these mythical trees have lived and how they have been able to survive for hundreds of years.

For those that are feeling energetic we will then head up to the summit of Bow Hill where we can see the Devils Humps and enjoy the far-reaching views down to the south coast. It is also a perfect spot to watch the buzzards and red kites and look out for many of the breeding birds found at Kingley Vale. The climb up to the top will be through the yew groves rather than using the steps. It is more gradual but still relatively steep. It is for this reason alone the walk has been marked Grade 4. In all other respects it’s a comfortable walk. If you prefer, you are very welcome to join us just for the walk and talk with Graham.  

Walk Key

Please look at the festival website ‘Information’ page to understand the walk key, what to wear, advice on medical information, weather plans, arriving before the scheduled departure time etc before deciding if you would like to join this walk.

Walk Pace


Walk Grade

A challenging walk, suitable for fit walkers with some experience. Steep gradients and uneven surfaces to be expected

Dogs NOT allowed

Walk Leader

Sally Paterson – Sally has recently returned from living in Switzerland where she has been lucky to spend her time exploring the Alps on foot and on skis. Honing her map reading skills she has enjoyed leading hiking groups in the mountains, experiencing the benefits of exercise and the camaraderie that comes from walking together. A biologist by education she is always interested in the flora and fauna and in particular the trees and the stories they tell of an area.  Sally hikes regularly in the mountains of Mallorca introducing walkers to the dramatic Serra de Tramuntana mountains that run along the north coast of the island and is always on the lookout for ‘off the beaten track’ locations for hiking and cycling holidays.