Posted on 26 September 2016
Gregynog Oak. Photo: Liz Fleming Williams
28 of the UK’s finest trees have been revealed by the Woodland Trust as it searches for the next Tree of the Year.
A panel of experts in each country whittled down nearly 200 public nominations to create shortlists based on the nominees’ story, how they would make use of a care grant and visual appeal of the tree; 10 trees were chosen in England and six in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Amongst the trees vying to win the Welsh title is the Gregynog Oak which is located within the grounds of Gregynog Hall, the historic house and country estate bequeathed to the University of Wales by the Davies sisters of Llandinam in 1960. This wonderful pollard oak with a girth of over 6m, is the largest within the estate which in 2013 was confirmed as Wales newest National Nature Reserve. This confirms the site as one of Wales’ most important for ancient parkland and wood pasture habitats, veteran trees and nationally important lichen, insects and other wildlife supported by these rare habitats. Though the age of ancient trees is difficult to estimate, it is believed that this tree may have sprung from an acorn during the reign of Henry VIII.
The Gregynog Oak joins five other shortlisted trees in Wales including the Brimmon Oak in nearby Newtown, a lonesome twisted oak on the Hafod y Llan estate in the heart of Snowdonia, and the Bodnant Sweet Chestnut in Bodnant Gardens, Conwy, one of the oldest trees in the National Trust garden and thought to date back to the Georgian landscaping of the original estate in the 1700s. The final two contenders are the Castle Oak at Dinefwr Castle, Near Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, a tree thought to be between 800 and 850 years old, and the Cwm yr Esgob Veteran Oak, near Rhayader, one of the largest and oldest trees in the ancient wood pasture at Cwm yr Esgob, Carngafallt.
A winner for each country will be selected by a public vote and they will go on to compete in the European tree of the year contest. The winning tree in each country will benefit from a “Tree LC” grant of £1,000, and any tree with more than 1,000 votes will get £500, which can be used to arrange a health check, provide education materials or hold a celebratory event. Voting closes at 5pm on the 9th of October.
Established in 1972, The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. The trust aims to protect and restore ancient woodland, and plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.
Speaking about the importance of the annual award Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust chief executive, said:
“These trees have stood for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and each will have a special place in peoples’ lives. By celebrating them and reminding people of their value we hope to support and influence those who can ensure they continue to thrive for future generations.”
To see all the shortlists and vote for your favourite tree visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/treeoftheyear