News

TLC For Kirkwall’s Big Tree

Kirkwall’s iconic Big Tree is in need of some tender care and attention. Although the tree is doing very well the canopy is now too heavy and will have to have a wee trim. This will prevent any damage occurring to branches.

Kirkwall's Big Tree

Kirkwall’s Big Tree

The thinning will let more light through to the remaining branches and foliage.

The work will be done by a qualified tree surgeon and done in such a way that maintains a balanced shape.

Whilst the work is being carried out the opportunity will be taken to do a further survey to see if more work is required.

The Director of Development and Infrastructure Services, Gavin Barr said:

“The Big Tree is an important Kirkwall landmark and we want to keep it in good condition and in place for as long as it remains safe to do so. This work is being done in accordance with our long term strategic care objective for the tree in order to ensure its well-being and protection and won’t endanger it in any way.”

 The Big Tree, a 200 year old sycamore, is a well-known and much loved landmark in Albert Street in Kirkwall, used as a meeting place by generations of Orcadians.

 It originally stood with two others in the grounds of a grand house. In the 1870s a new owner felled two trees causing public outcry which saved the third. As Kirkwall grew the Big Tree eventually found itself in a street rather than a garden.

 In poor health due to its challenging location and its hollowed out trunk supported by a metal rod which the council installed as a support measure in 2009, the Big Tree nevertheless continues to find a special place in the hearts of local people, and was recently shortlisted in the Woodland Trust’s ‘Scotland’s Tree of the Year Awards’.

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