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Nellie’s Tree is UK Tree of the Year.
Nearly 100 years ago, Vic Stead would walk from his home in Garforth near Leeds, along the old colliery railway, to visit Nellie, the young lady he was courting who lived in the nearby village of Aberford.
One day, he came across three beech saplings on his route, and grafted one sapling between the other two to form the letter N, for Nellie. Vic and Nellie would go on to marry and have a family, and although they are both gone now, Nellie’s Tree, also known as the 'Love Tree' by locals, still remains.
Nellie’s Tree was named UK Tree of the Year after beating a shortlist of nine other trees to become England’s Tree of the Year, and then winning a public vote against the national winners from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, run in conjunction with the BBC’s The One Show.
Nellie’s Tree will now be put forward as the UK’s entry for European Tree of the Year, which will run in February 2019.
Planted over 100 years ago by the poet, priest and land rights activist Father Allan McDonald, this spruce was until a few years ago the only tree on the windswept island of Eriskay. Netty MacDonald lived on the nearby croft and encouraged all the island’s children to play on the tree as their cries and laughter reminded her of her own family who had grown up and moved away to work.
Netty died some years ago but her daughter Anne is back on the croft and continues the tradition. Father McDonald would surely approve. His best known poem was Eilein na h'Oige – The Island of the Young, inspired by his love of the island.
Standing in a hedgerow just outside the quiet village of Rhandirmwyn in Carmarthenshire, this tree 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.
This striking, rare, multi-stemmed giant sequoia, also known as giant redwood, stands within the magical walled garden at Castlewellan Forest Park. It was planted as a sapling in 1856, at the same time as the Castle was built, by the Annesley family – the former owners of the Castlewellan demesne who had a strong passion and love for trees.
This tree was grown from one of the original seeds first brought back to England, from California, in 1853 by the renowned collector William Lobb, working for Veitch Nurseries. He dashed to the Sierra Nevada in 1852 when he first heard of these monster trees, anticipating correctly that the species, renowned for being the world’s largest tree, would be hugely popular among Victorian collectors.
This form, rarely seen other than in the wild, has 19 trunks. Young climbers are amazed when their parents point out that all 19 trunks are in fact one incredible tree!
View all the shortlisted trees and read their stories on the links below.
The winning tree in each country will be eligible for a Tree Care award of £1,000, whilst selected runners-up will be awarded £500, subject to eligibility. The award can be used to arrange a health check from an arboriculturalist, provide interpretation or educational materials or simply just hold a community celebratory event in honour of the 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. These terms and conditions were amended on 17 September 2018.
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