You voted in your thousands and we can finally announce the winners of the Tree of the Year 2020 competition! Read on to find out all about the winners in each country.

Scotland's Tree of the Year 2020 - The Survivor Tree, Carrifran Valley

Twenty years ago, Borders Forest Trust based its slogan: “Where one tree survives, a million trees will grow,” on a lone rowan clinging to a stream bank in Carrifran Valley. Today that survivor tree is lonely no more! It is surrounded by a little forest of its children, and lots of suckers are coming up from its base. This was some of the first natural regeneration the Trust achieved in the Carrifran Valley. In addition to its own children, the rowan tree now has over half a million other native Scottish trees for company. Where once it dominated the view, it will soon be hidden from sight. The rowan tree no longer stands alone and is a symbol of the 20-year journey to revive the wild heart of Southern Scotland.

Scotland’s Tree of the Year 2020 – The Survivor Tree, Carrifran Valley 

>> Fi MartynogaCarrifran Wildwood Project: 
We're here in the Carrifran Valley which is the home of the Carrifran Wildwood Project which started on Millennium Day 20 years ago. And this tree, The Survivor Tree, rapidly became a very important symbol of our aspirations to see this valley completely re-wooded and restored to its natural vegetation.  

At that time, it was absolutely barren sheep walk. All around you was just bitten-to-the-quick grass, with the stony nature of the land very much more evident, and virtually no trees. So, we thought, this is a fantastic symbol of what we want to do because where this one tree stands, we would like to see a million grow. In this valley alone we’ve planted well over six hundred thousand trees and in subsequent years our valley has become part of a much bigger planting scheme, an ambitious project for rewilding land which we call the wild heart of southern Scotland, and the beauty of it is that they are now beginning to reproduce themselves.  

>> George Anderson, the Woodland Trust Scotland: 
It's an amazing, inspiring place to visit here at Carrifran where The Survivor Tree was on its own for so long and is now surrounded by so many of its offspring and other trees. The trees that have been planted, they’ve tapped down deep into the rock and brought minerals to the surface. That nourishes the soil so other plants can grow, and when the trees get to this kind of age where they’re sort of teenagers, that’s the point where lots and lots of bird species are just going to come tumbling back into this landscape.  

As a country, we’re really, really light on trees and we’re facing, in world terms, a climate emergency and a biodiversity emergency, so to come to somewhere like this where they’ve really started that fight back, this is a good future for our country that we’re looking at.  

>FiIt shows how you can change an environment for the better and preserve, preserve and multiply what’s around and so I hope it can stand as a symbol for other people that they can do the same thing. 

 

Wales’ Tree of the Year 2020 – The Chapter House Tree, Margam Park, Port Talbot

Standing in the shadows of 17th century Margam Orangery and St Mary’s Church, this historic fern-leaved beech envelopes the remains of one of the first Cistercian abbeys in Wales. Its canopy has provided shelter to visitors for many years – from Victorian tea parties taking place under its sweeping boughs to a favourite summer picnic spot for present day visitors. The tree provides an atmospheric back drop and is loved by cinematographers – featuring in TV and Film productions from Dr Who and Songs of Praise with Sir Bryn Terfel to the recent Netflix blockbuster series Sex Education.

Wales’ Tree of the Year 2020 – the Chapter House Tree, Margam 

>> Jeanette Dunk, head gardener, Margam Country Park: 
Margam Park is a park for the local community as well as for visitors from afar. I think everyone who comes in the park knows this tree and it's particularly popular with families and children who love to climb the tree and love to sit on it.  

The tree is standing in front of the cistercian monastery which dates back to the 12th century. Part of the monastery is the chapter house and so this tree has become known as the Chapter House Tree. The tree’s got a lot of attention, I think because it’s so atmospheric. It’s been in a number of TV series. It’s in Doctor Who. 

It has this luxuriant dark green foliage that completely cloaks the tree. think what people love most though is that when they come through that to underneath the canopy, they see this huge tree with these massive limbs that twist and curve and sweep the ground and then rise up again. And it’s naturally layered itself, which is where the limbs have touched the ground and put down roots which effectively creates these, sort of, new trees. 

We think it's about 200 years oldmaking it a veteran tree. We don't know much about its early life at all, making it a bit of a mystery, but the first recorded cut-leaf beeches or fern-leaf beeches in Britain were in the early 1800s. 

In the early days, this tree, these grounds, belonged to the Talbot family, but since the local authority have taken over the park, now it’s for everyone. I think the tree has a sort of maternal feel. When you have families, children coming under its vast skirts to play, climb, it’s almost like the tree is offering its protection. 

I'm really glad this tree has won because it puts it on the map of Wales and hopefully Britain as well and I think what's really wonderful about this is that children have this connection with nature and this connection with something very old and graceful and become part of its history. 

England’s Tree of the Year 2020 – The Happy Man Tree, Hackney, London

Currently earmarked for felling, the plight of this 150 year old Plane has awakened something in a community that couldn’t bear to see it go. The dressing of the tree, and the signs behind it, are testament to the strength of feeling among the local campaigning. As an urban tree, it makes an important contribution to combatting air pollution and making grey city streets green. But the community sees it as more than just the sum of its parts – it’s part of the estate, part of their collective history.

The threat to the Happy Man Tree highlights how important it is that all housing developments are planned with existing and mature trees at their heart: we all deserve trees and green spaces around where we live, including in our most urban areas.

England’s Tree of the Year 2020 – The Happy Man Tree 

>> Sylvia Fifer: 
I have lived on the Woodberry Down estate for 62 years. My boys grew up here and they went to the local school and of course the tree’s part of our history. It’s brought the community together. So many people have voted, and people have stopped by and signed the petitions. It’s been a wonderful coming together and I would like to see that continue. 

>> Richard Barnes, lead government affairs officer, the Woodland Trust: 
This is a 150-year-old London plane tree. It's called The Happy Man Tree because it stood by what used to be The Happy Man pubBut sadly, this tree is currently threatened by development, and that's what's brought it to people's notice and it’s symbolic of the value that local people give to a tree, but perhaps unaware at first that that tree has that value. You know, they walk under itthey don't notice it, they walk round it. So, what we’re hoping is that the planning legislation can be changed so that trees really are thought of early on in redevelopment and they’re incorporated into development, celebrated within the development and used as part of the green infrastructure for the new residents to enjoy and to give them all the benefits that such trees give to the local community.  

>> Sylvia: 
When you think150 years is a long, long time. There were no cars in those days and the children could play out quite safely. It was lovely. Everybody knew each other. Well, London is a very crowded city as everyone knows and we haven’t got a lot of green space. When you think of children in the flats, they don’t learn about trees other than at school. They’re not involved with nature and I think, you know, if we can preserve a bit of Woodberry Down history, it will teach the future generations about Woodberry Down and what it was like years ago.  

>> Richard: 
A tree like this is a survivor. It survived two world wars and of course it survived the great storm in 1987. Let’s hope it can survive the next threat to its existence.  

>> Sylvia: 
I also want to thank everyone who’s worked hard on this campaign and is still working hard to save it. I mean, they’ve slept up the tree in bad weather. I mean, you know, how many people would do that? So, [car horn beeps] see what I mean? Everyone supports us. It’s a wonderful feeling so, yes, I’m thrilled and honoured that’s all I can say and let’s hope that we’re listened to. 

 

 

Why isn’t there a Tree of the Year Northern Ireland competition?

Tree of the Year is usually a UK-wide competition. This year, however, we face unique challenges and have made the tough decision not to run the competition in Northern Ireland. Instead the Northern Ireland team are focusing their efforts on celebrating the 20th anniversary of Woods on Your Doorstep. 

A bit of 'Tree LC'

Our tree care awards are intended to help protect, support and celebrate a healthy future for your special tree. They can be used to cover the cost of necessary management or to help prescribe a more prosperous life for a tree through:

  • Tree work such as pruning, fencing, haloing, mulching for root protection and/or removal or management of competing vegetation
  • Providing interpretive or educational materials, signage or digital information that helps to build support for your tree
  • Tree surveys or professional management advice
  • Enabling community engagement activities to help support and protect their tree.

You can read the terms and conditions of the competition, the prize draw, and the Tree Care awards on our terms and conditions page.

The Tree Charter

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 treecharter.uk