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The search is on for Wales’ most spectacular trees

The Woodland Trust is searching for the most loved, visually stunning tree, with the most fascinating story, for Tree of the Year 2019.

Now in its sixth year, Tree of the Year highlights and celebrates special trees across the country. A tree may be a village’s oldest inhabitant, a founding figure in a region’s identity, or a landmark in the nation’s story.

If it’s phenomenal-looking too, then that’s even better! Any individual, group or organisation can nominate a tree and share its story at until 19 July 2019. The entries will then be shortlisted by a panel of independent experts before facing a public vote.

It could be a majestic, knobbly, knotted centuries-old oak planted in the days of Dafydd Ap Gwilym, that’s endured the ravages of time. It might be a mighty beech tree grown from a seed planted by a child in the field behind their house. Whatever the species, whatever the story, it’s what sets it apart from the rest the Trust wants to hear.

Last year's winner

Last year’s winner, the Pwllpriddog Oak, has for centuries graced the roadside next to a country lane near Rhandirmwyn in Carmarthenshire. With a girth of 8.4 metres, it has to be considered a giant. 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.

Lead campaigner at the Woodland Trust, Kaye Brennan, said: “Tree of the Year has helped discover lots of amazing trees - but nothing so far that could beat the best in the European contest. We know that we have some of the most incredible trees in the world – but we need the public’s support to find them, and vote for a winner. Tell us your tree’s stories. What do trees mean to you? Why are they important to you? What is the best known, most loved, tree in your city, town or village and why?

“You can also share your special trees on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #TreeOfTheYear.”
In many countries old trees are listed as natural monuments and they and their immediate environment can have the same level of legal protection and financial management support as listed buildings. This is not the case across the UK, although the Trust’s campaign to improve protection for our oldest and most important trees from development resulted in a shift in planning policy.

Shortlisted trees could potentially be eligible for up to £1,000 of tree care products and services to help secure their future and celebrate their importance, thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Sanjay Singh, senior programmes manager with People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “We’d like to encourage the public to get involved with the annual Tree of the Year competition and we are certain that once again they will help to highlight some amazing trees with wonderful stories. We would like to thanks all of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery who have done their part in supporting this search for, and celebration of, the nation’s most interesting and visually stunning trees.”

Wales Tree of the Year 2018, the Pwllpriddog Oak. Image Mark Zytynski (WTML)
Wales Tree of the Year 2018, the Pwllpriddog Oak. Image Mark Zytynski (WTML)

Last year’s Tree of the Year winner in Wales, the Pwllpriddog Oak, is receiving a £1,000 Tree Care Grant. Nerys Jones, the owner of the tree said: “It’s a huge privilege to be the owner and guardian of a tree like this, a real piece history, and taking part in the competition has been a great experience for all involved. It’s been a brilliant way to promote our village on the tourist map. 

"Through the competition, our tree has won a £1,000 Tree Care Award. We will be using this to create a legacy. The village Summer Party, run by the Rhandirmwyn and District Community Association, will celebrate our tree winning the competition with children in a ‘tree fancy dress’, and a fun game hunting the ‘golden acorns’ to receive their own potted oak tree plant for planting out in a place of their choice to see it grow, as they themselves grow. Furthermore at the Rhandirmwyn Show there will be a competition to paint the tree, where special prizes from the Woodland Trust grant will be given as special prizes.

"In addition, an arboriculturalist has come to look at the tree to make recommendations on its future care. All in all, I would thoroughly recommend the competition to others. It’s been great for us. Why don’t you have a go?”

The winner of Tree of the Year 2019 will represent the UK in the battle for European Tree of the Year in early 2020."

Notes for editors:

The winners of the 2018 competition around the UK were:
Wales: Pwllpriddog Oak, Rhandirmwyn, Carmarthenshire
Northern Ireland: The Giant Sequoia, Castlewellan Forest Park, County Down
England: Nellie’s Tree, Aberford, Leeds
Scotland: Netty’s Tree, Eriskay, Outer Hebrides

Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw) is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife. The Trust has three key aims: i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable, ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life, iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 22,500 hectares. These include over 100 sites in Wales, with a total area of 2,897 hectares (7,155 acres). It offers free public access to nearly all of its sites. The Trust’s Welsh language name, “Coed Cadw”, is an old Welsh term, used in medieval laws to describe protected or preserved woodland.

Charter for Trees, Woods and People

The Tree of the Year competition is run in support of the Charter for Trees, Woods and People – an initiative that sets out 10 tree principles to embed in our society for a future where people and trees are stronger together. Find out more and voice your support at

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