Sep 19 2018

Cast your vote to crown Northern Ireland’s finest tree!


Root for your favourite, as Tree of the Year shortlist is revealed


A fairy thorn that guards the grave of an evil wizard, and a monster of a giant redwood  – they are just two of six amazing contenders shortlisted by the Woodland Trust in the search for Northern Ireland’s Tree of the Year 2018.  The competition aims to highlight and celebrate the country’s remarkable, yet unsung, trees.  And members of the public are asked to play a part by simply voting for their favourite from the final shortlist. 


Northern Ireland’s six splendid specimens, chosen by experts from across a number of organisations, are: 

Picture: Michael Cooper, Ballymenoch Oak

• Ballymenoch Oak: Turkey oak at Ballymenoch Park, Holywood
• Hezlett House Spanish Chestnut: Sweet (or Spanish) chestnut at Hezlett House, Castlerock
• Sandy Row Fairy Thorn: Hawthorn at Sandy Row, south Belfast
• The Bishop’s Tree: Sweet chestnut, Lumen Christi College, Derry/Londonderry
• The Giant’s Grave Thorn: Hawthorn at Slaughtaverty, near Garvagh
• The Giant Sequoia: Multi-stemmed giant sequoia (or giant redwood) at Castlewellan Forest Park, Castlewellan


The process is simple – the tree with the most votes wins and with it comes a tree care award of £1,000.  This could assist a health check from a specialist, educational materials or a community event in celebration of the tree.


Patrick Cregg is the director of the Woodland Trust in Northern Ireland and said: “We asked the pubic to nominate their best-loved trees – trees with stories – and we’re now delighted to reveal the final line-up of six.  From factual history to tales of highwaymen and fairy folklore, each has a fantastic story to tell. “The Woodland Trust wants to see better protection for ancient trees and woodland.  And this competition is just one way of putting our precious trees in the spotlight, giving them the attention they deserve.  By reminding people of their value, we hope they will continue to thrive for future generations.”


Award-winning horticulturalist and TV gardener David Domoney is also encouraging people to vote.
David Domoney added:  “The Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year contest is a fantastic way to get us all talking about trees and what they do for us.  I’m a gardener so naturally I’m a fan; but of course we‘re all dependent on trees, which still so often have to make way for us. “So let’s celebrate the best.  Vote for your favourite on the Woodland Trust’s website to crown Northern Ireland’s Tree of the Year for 2018.”


The Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year competition runs in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.  Each country, thanks to the public vote, will have its own champion.  Just one of the four national winners will be selected to represent the UK in the 2018 European Tree of the Year contest.


Take a closer look at the shortlist and vote for your favourite tree at  Voting opens on 17 September (from 8.30am) and ends on 7 October.
Everyone who votes will be in entered into a prize draw. The winner will receive a £100 Joules voucher for use in-store or online.


Image credit: Photo by Michael Copper

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