Tucked between Stoke Down and Bow Hill, near the village of West Stoke about three miles north west of Chichester, in West Sussex in southern England, is Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve. Established in 1952, it was one of the first National Nature Reserves to be opened in Britain. The reserve covers an area of 160 hectares, including one of the finest yew forests in western Europe. Some of the trees here are as much as 1,000 years old, their trunks contorted by age and countless storms into incredibly bizarre shapes. Giant side branches swirl into the soil like snakes, where they made secondary roots. From these young trees have arisen. The ground under these trees is so dark that no vegetation of any kind, not even grass, grow.
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