2016 Tree of the Year
The Woodland Trust have crowned 2016s Tree of the Year. The winning trees in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The trees will benefit from a “Tree LC” care grant of £1,000. Plus all runner-up trees that received more than 1,000 votes will be eligible for a grant of £500. The grant can be used to arrange a tree health check or advice from an arboriculturalist, provide interpretation or educational materials or simply just hold a celebratory event in honour of the tree.
England's winning tree, with a total of 2,542 votes is the ‘Sycamore Gap’ Tree, Hadrians Wall, Northumberland, one of the most photographed trees in the UK, growing in a dramatic dip alongside Hadrians Wall. Famous for being filmed in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves in 1991.
Visit the 'Sycamore Gap' Tree on the Hadrian's Wall trail
North of the Border, the Scottish Tree of the Year is the “Ding Dong” Tree, with a total of 1,023 votes.
Growing in the grounds of Prestonpans Primary School, East Lothian, the “Ding Dong” Tree gets its name from a tig game invented by pupils who compete to touch its trunk shouting “Ding Dong!” The tree’s protecting canopy makes it an ideal outdoor classroom, and it brings particular calm to children with complex emotions. Children hang bird feeders from the branches and it is the subject of many science and art projects.
With a total of 565 votes the 2016 Tree of the Year winner for Wales is the Brimmon Oak, Newtown, Powys.
This giant oak, with a girth of over 6m, hit the headlines in 2009 when plans emerged to fell it to make way for the planned Newtown Bypass. Mervyn Jones, the landowner objected, as his family had always valued the tree. The engineers then planned to move it instead, but Mr Jones objected again, knowing this would likely lead to its demise. The engineers then agreed to move the route slightly, but still passing within 3.5m of the tree and threatening its roots. So Mr Jones commissioned his own expert report and gave evidence at the Inquiry for two hours. And with the help of Tree Hunter Rob McBride, he launched a Facebook campaign to vary the bypass route to save the tree. Around 5,000 people petitioned the Welsh Assembly. Finally the Welsh Government agreed to vary the route more in the hope of saving the tree.
And last, but by no means least, Northern Ireland's tree, with a total of 1,192 votes, is the Holm Oak, Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor, County Down.
Standing just inside the main Fairy Glen entrance to Kilbroney Park, this wonderful evergreen Holm Oak and has been much loved by many generations of Rostrevor locals. It has a girth of 3.6 metres with a typical snakeskin bark. It is a distinctive oak because of the 45° angle at which it leans, making it safe and easy for young children to climb. Unfortunately one of the huge boughs has become enormously heavy with age and is now in need of some assistance. Kilbroney Park is home to many remarkable trees, but this tree was unanimously chosen as the favourite by members of our community group. Tommy Sands, president of the Fiddlers Green International Music Festival, wrote: 'My vote goes for the bendy tree that may be bent but not broken. It was for many years the tree that we gathered under during the Festival for children's concerts, and will be again.”
Each winning tree will now go on to represent that nation in the European Tree of the Year competition, organised by the Environmental Partnership Association.
Want to know more about trees? Why not join Join our experienced guide in the Brecon Beacons this spring?