Judi Dench has declared her partner of 14 years will never propose.

The actress, who is set to turn 90 in December, met conservationist David Mills, 77, in 2009 when she visited his British Wildlife Centre near her Surrey home – which she shared for years with her late husband Michael Williams, who died aged 65 from lung cancer in 2001 after they were married for three decades.

She told Yours about the time she and David met – and how they live apart and will never marry: “I went to the (wildlife) centre, met David and I said that I was passionate about all British wildlife and if there was anything I could ever do to help to let me know.

“He then asked me to come and open the red squirrel enclosure – which I did.

“I think we are far better off as we are as we have got two separate houses.

“We are either in one or the other and we are four miles apart.

“He is not going to propose.”

Judi still lives in the home she shared with her former husband Michael and talked about how she has planted trees in his memory for lost loved ones in her woodland.

Along with trees dedicated to late actors Alan Rickman and Diana Rigg, she has one called ‘Mike’.

Judy added: “It’s a lovely tree. It seems only right –he found the house.”

The actress – who had ‘carpe diem’ tattooed on her right wrist a few years ago – also said she is refusing to slow down as she ages.

She said: “We’ve got to keep going and not think of age too much. You have to think you are about 56.

“I’m a great advocate for not sitting back. I can never think, ‘Oh, my eyesight’s bad, I can’t possibly do this. I refuse to be beaten by age.”

Judy is losing her sight to macular degeneration, which has grown so severe she can no longer drive or read scripts.

But she says she has refused to give up painting, adding: “I used to paint a lot but because of my eyes I stopped.

“David, my partner, said to me, ‘Why stop. It’s an interpretative art.’

“So I did start painting again because it doesn’t matter; I am not doing it for anybody.”