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Wales' Tree of the Year Champion

The Pwllpriddog Oak, that for centuries has graced the roadside next to a country lane near Rhandirmwyn in Carmarthenshire, has been crowned Wales’ Tree of the Year for 2018, following a public vote.

Organised by Coed Cadw (Woodland Trust), the competition was open to any living tree in Wales – while there were separate competitions in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The four country winners – decided by a recent public vote – were unveiled on BBC One’s The One Show on Wednesday evening (17 October).

Standing in a hedgerow just outside the quiet village of Rhandirmwyn in Carmarthenshire, the Pwllpriddog Oak is a giant, with a girth of some 8.4 metres. Some have estimated it to be 600-700 years old, while local historians believe it was planted to commemorate the Battle of Bosworth. It is reputed to have been the hiding place of a king; the local pub is known as the Royal Oak, after all. The tree is hollow, and there are a number of YouTube clips of bands and choirs singing inside it. Many years ago it is understood to be a meeting place for local lovers. The farm used it as the shelter for the pig and now the ducks from the current owner roost and hatch in the branches.

The winners of the other Tree of the Year competitions across the UK are:
England: Nellie’s Tree, Aberford, Leeds
Scotland: Netty’s Tree, Eriskay, Outer Hebrides
Northern Ireland: The Giant Sequoia, Castlewellan Forest Park, County Down

Now in its fifth year the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year contest aims to showcase the UK’s best trees to help drive up interest in their value and protection. The charity is now asking the public to whittle the four national winners down to ONE to represent the UK in February’s European Tree of the Year competition.

The competition is supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery which awards a £1,000 care grant to the winning trees.

Sanjay Singh, Senior Programmes Manager with People’s Postcode Lottery said:
“The competition has turned up some fascinating trees with terrific stories. I am delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery have supported this celebration of the nation’s best loved trees.”

A worthy winner

Clare Morgan, Senior Outreach Advisor for Coed Cadw Woodland Trust says: “The Pwllpriddog Oak is a worthy winner. It is one of many ancient trees in Wales which stand within old boundary hedgerows and which are of huge wildlife, historical and cultural significance. Indeed, we’re so committed to protecting and restoring these habitats that we have worked with Keep Wales Tidy to establish the Long Forest project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Esme Fairburn Foundation. We’re now asking members of the public to help gather information about the condition and species make up of hedgerows throughout Wales and record precious ancient trees within them though the free Long Forest App and the Trust’s Ancient Tree Inventory.”

On announcing the four national winners, The One Show last night (Wednesday October 17th) opened voting for the public to decide which of the four trees should represent the UK in the European contest which is run by the Environmental Partnership Association.

The public vote results in full:

1st Pwllpriddog Oak 590
2nd Ysbyty Ifan Yew 482
3rd Defynnog Yew 270
4th Aberglasney Yew tunnel 243
5th Ancient Yew at Carreg Gwenlais 216
6th Cemetery Copper Beech in Crickhowell 120