Ten spectacular trees have been shortlisted for England's Tree of the Year competition.

Several mighty old oaks dominate the shortlist, including Liverpool’s Allerton Oak that takes pride of place in Calderstones Park, the Isle of Wight’s Dragon Tree which truly is a monster specimen, and London’s Fallen Tree which is a fantastic example of nature beating the odds.

But there are also some interesting oddities worthy of winning the title, including Norfolk’s twisted conifer and Colchester Castle’s Sycamore that has been on top of the stronghold since the 1820s.

The Woodland Trust’s annual competition is designed to highlight and celebrate the best trees in the country. Once again it’s being supported by the award winning horticulturalist and TV personality David Domoney.

A carefully chosen panel of eager and knowledgeable judges spent a day debating the positives of hundreds of trees to find the very best trees that England has to offer. Ten visually stunning trees all with wonderful stories have made the shortlist.

We’re asking the public to go online at woodlandtrust.org.uk/treeoftheyear to choose their favourite, to ultimately find England’s Tree of the Year for 2019.

 

The shortlist is:

  • Allerton Oak, Liverpool, Merseyside (Oak)
  • Dragon Tree, Brighstone, Isle of Wight (Oak)
  • Kingley Vale Great Yew, Chichester, West Sussex (Yew)
  • Addison’s Oak, Bristol (Oak)
  • Fallen Tree, London (Oak)
  • London Plane, Bryanston, Dorset (London Plane)
  • Twisted, Thetford, Norfolk (Conifer)
  • North Circular Cork Oak, London (Oak)
  • The Colchester Castle Sycamore, Colchester, Essex (Sycamore)
  • The Drive Oak, Gloucester, Gloucestershire (Oak)

 

David Domoney said:

“The Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year celebrates the marvel and beauty of trees in our country. They are such an important part of our cities and countryside, not only for their beauty, but also for the health benefits they offer to all living creatures. Choosing the one tree that stands out from the rest is a hard decision, take a look for yourself. Vote for your favourite on the Woodland Trust’s website to crown England’s Tree of the Year for 2019.”

Adam Cormack, head of campaigning at the Woodland Trust said:

“The Tree of the Year competition is all about highlighting and celebrating the nation’s most remarkable and special trees. We have a fantastic number of ancient and veteran trees and many notable urban trees.

“Trees across the country are constantly under threat of felling due to inappropriate developments. The Tree of the Year competition is all about helping to raise the profile of trees in order to offer them better protection.

“All of our shortlisted trees look amazing and each of them has a wonderful story to tell. We’re sure that the public will show their passion and get behind their favourite. The shortlist includes trees from all over England - from Liverpool to the Isle of Wight.

“We have some strong contenders for the 2019 crown and we would encourage people to vote to support their favourite tree. We’re also calling on members of local Tree Charter branches to lend their support and get behind their favourite tree.”

As well as putting the nation’s best trees on the map, the awards - supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery - offer a £1,000 tree care award for each winning tree. This might be spent on works to benefit the tree’s health, signage, or a community celebration. There are £500 awards for runners-up.

Sanjay Singh, senior programmes manager with People’s Postcode Lottery said:

“I am delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting this celebration of the nation’s best loved trees. From botanical oddities to trees with historic connections or simply at the heart of their communities – these are great examples of trees which are cherished. I hope the competition will encourage more people to seek them out, enjoy them and vote for them.”

The Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year competition runs in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Each country, thanks to the public vote, will have its own champion which will be represented in the 2020 European Tree of the Year contest.

Take a closer look at the shortlist and vote for your favourite tree at woodlandtrust.org.uk/treeoftheyear. The website is open for entries from 9am on Monday 09 September. Voting closes at noon on 27 September.

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 into society for a future where people and trees are stronger together. Find out more and voice your support at treecharter.uk.

Notes to editors

For media queries only please contact the press office on 01476 581121 or media@woodlandtrust.org.uk. Public enquiries should be directed to 0330 333 3300 or enquiries@woodlandtrust.org.uk

The Woodland Trust 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. Access to its woods is free.

About People’s Postcode Lottery

  • People’s Postcode Lottery manages multiple society lotteries promoted by different charities and good causes. People play with their chosen postcodes for a chance to win cash prizes. A minimum of 32% from each subscription goes directly to charities and good causes across Great Britain and internationally - players have raised £462 million so far. For details of the charities and good causes which are promoting and benefitting from the lottery draws, please visit https://www.postcodelottery.co.uk/good-causes/draw-calendar
    • It costs £10 a month to play and winning postcodes are announced every day. The maximum amount a single ticket can win is 10% of the draw proceed. For details, please visit www.postcodelottery.co.uk/prizes
    • New players can sign up to pay using direct debit by calling 0808 10 9 8 7 6 5. New players who sign up online at www.postcodelottery.co.uk can pay using direct debit, debit card or PayPal.
    • Postcode Lottery Limited is regulated by the Gambling Commission under licence numbers: 000-000829-N-102511 and 000-000829-R-102513. Registered office: Titchfield House, 69/85 Tabernacle Street, London, EC2A 4BD
    • Follow us @PostcodePress

 

Allerton oak

The Allerton Oak resides in the expansive Calderstones Park in Allerton, Liverpool. Allerton is mentioned in William the Conqueror’s Domesday book of 1086, and it’s possible that the oak was already growing by then.

According to legend, in medieval times the local court, known as a ‘Hundred Court’ would meet under the branches of the tree, as they lacked a courthouse. Another legend states that the large crack down the side of the tree was formed in 1864 when the Lotty Sleigh, a ship carrying 11 tonnes of gunpowder, exploded. The ensuing shockwave smashed thousands of windows through Liverpool, and was heard over 30 miles away.

Today the tree is fenced off to protect it, and its heavy boughs are supported by metal poles.

 

Dragon Tree
With its huge snaking boughs, the Dragon Tree of Brighstone is a sight to behold. One massive limb forms a bridge over the Buddle Brook below, which used to power the nearby Brighstone mill until it closed in the 1960s. It’s thought the oak took its unique shape after it was blown down in a storm, but, still supported by its existing branches, managed to re-root.

Local legend however holds that the tree was once a dragon that terrorised the local populace. A knight, recently returned from the crusades, fought the beast. When he struck the fatal blow, the dragon turned to wood and laid down roots, becoming the tree we see today.

 

Kingley Vale Great Yew

The yews of Kingley Vale have graced the South Downs for thousands of years, and are some of the oldest living things in the UK. Local folklore has it that the Druids worshipped there before the Romans came and that the archers of Agincourt used the supple wood make their bows.

Over the centuries, most of Europe’s yew forests have been felled, with Kingley Vale being one of the finest remaining examples. And within one of the finest yew forests is one of our finest yews – the Kingley Vale Great yew. Although it is not the largest yew as far as its trunk is concerned, its large arching boughs form an impressive canopy.

 

Addison's Oak

One hundred years ago Dr Christopher Addison MP cut the first sod of Bristol's city-wide public housing scheme that was to provide ‘Homes Fit for Heroes’ returning from the First World War. To commemorate the event, the Lady Mayoress planted an oak tree, remembered today as Addison's Oak. Addison was responsible for the 1919 Housing and Town Planning Act, which led to the first ever council houses being built, including those in Bristol. Prior to the war, slums were a major cause of ill-health. As the Minister for Health, Addison recognised that they could not deal with the health problems of the country without addressing the appalling living conditions many people lived in. Addison's Oak is situated at the heart of the Sea Mills estate. It stands as a testament to the value of living in green, healthy surroundings, open to light and fresh air, and the importance of giving that opportunity to all people

 

Fallen Tree
This tree is a perfect example of nature's tenacity for life. Blown over in a great storm, the oak clung onto life with its last remaining roots and flourished despite its unusual position. Now its branches all grow from one side of the trunk, reaching upwards as if each one was a small tree.  It is a popular meeting point for friends, resting spot for walkers and picnic spot for families. Its rough bark has been worn smooth over years by the hundreds of children who have used its branches as a climbing frame

 

London Plane, Bryanston School, Blandford Forum, Dorset

At Bryanston School in Dorset, three lofty London plane trees grow in a row. All three are giants, but the central tree, at nearly 50m tall, is not just the tallest London Plane in the country, but also the tallest broadleaf in the UK. It is also one of the tallest broadleaf trees in Europe. To put its height into context, it is just shorter than Nelson’s Column, measured from the bottom of the pedestal to the top of Nelson’s hat. The tree’s height was confirmed back in 2015, when pupils from the school scaled the tree (with the help of professional climbing equipment) to measure it.

 

Twisted

This most unusual Scots pine has, in the process of growing, bent round in a loop. Located in a small area of woodland south of Thetford, we believe the shape of this tree has emerged entirely naturally – bent permanently downwards by wind or snow, then reaching towards the light once the pressure was lifted.

 

North Circular Cork Oak

The Cork Oak flourishes at a major junction on the A406 North Circular Road despite being at least 100 years old, surrounded by retail warehouses and constantly buffeted by road pollution. It’s just one of many examples of nature triumphing in adversity, and shows how trees can thrive even in the most urban of environments. It is the last surviving tree of a putative plantation of cork oaks planted by the Cork Manufacturing Company over a century ago. Its bark has been described as being like melted toffee ,solidified into amazing crags and whorls. It was listed of one of 41 'Great Trees of London' identified by Trees for Cities after the Great Storm of 1987.

 

The Colchester Castle Sycamore

There are many famous trees associated with the buildings near which they stand, but very few actually growing on them. This sycamore has been growing on top of Colchester Castle’s southeast tower for around 200 years, with the story being that it was planted by the Mayor's daughter to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815.

The tree had to be removed in 1985 so that the castle walls could undergo repairs. It survived its translocation though, and was put back in its original position in 1987 by the mayor of the day’s daughter.

It is much loved and talked about locally and is an instantly identifiable feature on one of Colchester's most iconic and historic buildings.

 

The Drive Oak

The Drive Oak has guarded the entrance to Wick Court farm for hundreds of years. It may well have been there when Queen Elizabeth 1st  came from Berkeley Castle after being reprimanded for killing too many stags.  Many visitors have walked under its branches to get to the gate, including several members of the current royal family. 

Wick Court is run by Farms for City Children - over 1000 children aged 8 - 11 from inner-city primary schools have stayed on the farm looking after the animals, growing the fruit and vegetables and enjoying the beautiful environment.  Every week the oak tree is studied as part of a bird survey with the children and they get to climb inside and look up at the sky, as the tree is completely hollow.