Now in its seventh year, the Woodland Trust’s Tree of The Year contest highlights the UK’s favourite trees to help show their value and need for protection.
The shortlist of 10 was selected from hundreds of nominations across our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media accounts using #TreeoftheWeek
Adam Cormack, Head of Campaigning for the Woodland Trust, said Tree of The Year is “a reminder of the natural connection that we have with trees”.
“It’s all about that ‘wow’ moment that people get when they see a tree they appreciate,” he added.
“This could be standing under a magnificent old oak or noticing the autumn colours of a street tree on the school run.
“This connection is something that children and adults share. Trees can make us happy, healthy, thoughtful – or upset when they are lost from our lives. The nominations we receive for Tree of the Year on social media are a window into the way we experience trees and the richness they bring to our lives.
“But Tree of The Year has a serious message. Many of our oldest and most special trees in the UK have no form of legal protection. It’s time that our oldest trees got the same protection as our oldest buildings. Our built heritage and our natural heritage are both important and both worthy of protection. After all, once they’re gone ancient trees can never be replaced like for like.
The contest takes place across the UK and nominations for 2021 were decided via social media for the first time.
Last year’s winner in England was a plane tree in Hackney known as the Happy Man Tree, but unfortunately even widespread fame could not earn the Happy Man a happy ending in its title-winning year as it was felled shortly after because of redevelopment.
This year a couple of trees that have been saved from the chop make the list – and there are plenty of interesting stories to be told.
Adam Cormack, said:
“Trees deserve to take centre stage. Tree of the Year is a simple way to show our love of trees at a time when trees are so vital to fight the climate and nature crisis.”
- Beech – Silent Valley, Ebbw Vale, Gwent, Wales
This magnificent beech is a prime example of a mature tree within a woodland – a key feature of woods in good ecological condition. It has spectacular, exposed roots that are covered in moss and gnarled bark full of character and weathered over time.
- Hawthorn – Kipford, Dalbeattie, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
A lonesome but fiercely proud hawthorn still managing to guard the coastline despite being battered by the elements is a fine example of a mature tree. And while not spectacular in size it cuts a striking presence in an unusual setting and is equally as important as more imposing specimens.
- Monterey Cypress – Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, Wales
An iconic Monterey Cypress tree planted on the beach in 1938 and precariously clinging on to what precious little soil is left. Known locally as “Saundersfoot’s Eiffel Tower”, it was saved from felling this year after a passionate public campaign.
- Ash – Ettrick Forest, Selkirk, Scotland
A tree that is almost certainly a descendant of the Ettrick Forest sitting in majestic surroundings within a churchyard. Steeped in history and cultural value, this delightful ash tree is a defiant reminder of the need to deal with the threat of exotic tree diseases like ash dieback.
- Hornbeam – Ashenbank Wood, Cobham, Kent, England
The Teapot Tree beautifully describes this stunningly simple hornbeam’s posture, while its bark is truly eye-catching and so full of personality. It’s a wonderful example of a veteran tree that benefits from basic conservation measures – a simple fence made from sustainable materials to keep it protected in a highly visited area.
- Sweet chestnut – Rnyda, Cumbria, England
A famous much-celebrated “monster” of a sweet chestnut tree. It is over 600 years old and as well as its remarkable stature and imposing branches, its twisting trunk make it a sight to behold.
- Parasol beech – Parkanaur Forest Park, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
An exceptional curly beech with rare features, this tree captivated the judges. Unusually low in appearance for its species, the knotted branches grow randomly back towards the ground to add further charm.
- Oak tree – Helions Bumpstead, Braintree, Essex, England
Not the mightiest oak but bundles of personality and a perfect example of how oaks can host other species such as moss and ivy cascading from its trunk and branches. These coexist and do no damage to its ecosystem. This oak looks simply splendid captured in all its autumn glory.
- Sweet chestnut – Willesley Park Golf Club, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, England
A gargantuan tree with a girth of more than 11 metres in a very different setting. The sheer size and wow factor makes it a standout entry.
- Sycamore – Newark, Nottinghamshire, England
A much-loved mature sycamore saved by the community in Newark, who stopped the chop for a car park. All the hard campaigning shows the power of peaceful protests – and thankfully this glorious specimen will continue to be part of the community for years to come.