I’ve always lived in Gloucestershire, living in Cheltenham until I was 26 years old and then moving to Gloucester. Now I live in Brockworth right on the edge of Gloucester, bordering both Cheltenham and Stroud.
No matter whether I lived in Cheltenham, or now Brockworth, we always take the same route to Stroud passing through the picturesque Cotswold village of Painswick.
As a child I’d occasionally go to Stratford Park in Stroud. That was pretty much my Stroud experience as a child and every time we went, I’d remember my mum pointing out the 99 trees in Painswick as we drove past them.
We were always slightly fascinated by them and the story of how there came to be only 99…
Are there only 99 yew trees in Painswick?
I’m sure we were told 100 trees were planted in St Mary’s Church in Painswick and one never grew.
This always seemed logical, but upon further research legend has it that if a hundredth tree was planted, the devil would rip it up!
However, there are actually meant to be more than 99. Apparently no two people come to the same figure when counting, but a hundredth was planted to mark the millenium in 2000 and is meant to be surviving so far!
Some people on TripAdvisor claim they’ve counted 103.
Visiting the 99 trees in Painswick with kids
Finally, after 35 years of living in Gloucestershire, I stopped and visited the 99 trees in Painswick yesterday.
We’d been for an impromptu visit to Woodchester in Stroud for an afternoon walk with our children and light picnic. On the way back Ben, my husband, suggested stopping at the 99 trees and so we did!
They are set in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church and with the bright blue sunny sky, it was ever so picturesque. The trees supposedly date back to the 18th Century, along with many of the locally stone carved graves.
The children loved running in and out of the trees, especially the tree tunnels which have formed from the tops of two trees joining along the pathways!
Each tree is numbered with a little metal plaque, and whilst we didn’t count them all, the kids loved trying to find number 99.
Unfortunately, as it was only a brief stop we didn’t find it!
We only stopped for a quick visit, but if you have longer then you can take your time and wander the historic streets of Painswick with rolling Cotswolds hill backdrops.
There are pubs, cafes and restaurants so you can take it all in and enjoy the scenery. Painswick Beacon is a short drive from the church and perfect to capture even more amazing views. You can easily spend half a day to a day or two in Painswick to see what it has to offer.
Painswick 99 trees photos
The 99 trees is a great spot to get some photos in the Cotswolds. Here are a few of ours:
Where to find the 99 trees in Painswick
St Mary’s Church
Looking for more things to do in Painswick? I highly recommend Painswick Rococo Garden!
And more things in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds?
A quick review of Chedworth Roman Villa
Exploring May Hill with kids in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
8 free days out with kids in Gloucestershire
A woodland walk from Coopers Hill Nature Reserve to Great Witcombe Roman Villa
One thought on “Painswick church 99 trees”
What a beautiful place. I love interesting folk tales like that, and how strange that the number is so mysterious, though I can imagine losing track quickly myself if I tried to count them!