Essex oak tree could be crowned Tree of the Year

The oak tree in Helions Bumpstead, Essex

The oak tree in Helions Bumpstead, Essex - Credit: The Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust is looking for public votes ahead of noon on Monday (December 13) for Tree of the Year 2021.

On the shortlist is an oak tree in Helions Bumpstead with moss and ivy cascading from its trunk and branches, showing that oaks and other species coexist.

Also on the list is a "monster" chestnut tree that is more than 600 years old, a hornbeam known as the Teapot Tree, and a sycamore saved from the chop.

Voting is now open with a shortlist of 10.

The winner will represent the UK in the European Tree of the Year 2022 contest.


Woodland Trust Tree of the Year 2021 shortlist:

  1.  Beech – Silent Valley, Ebbw Vale, Gwent, Wales: a prime example of a mature tree within a woodland with exposed roots covered in moss and gnarled bark full of character and weathered over time.
  2. Hawthorn – Kipford, Dalbeattie, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland: A lonesome mature hawthorn still managing to guard the coastline despite being battered by the elements.
  3. Monterey Cypress – Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, Wales: A Monterey Cypress tree saved from felling after a public campaign, planted on the beach in 1938 and precariously clinging to what little soil is left. Known locally as "Saundersfoot's Eiffel Tower".
  4. Ash – Ettrick Forest, Selkirk, Scotland: Almost certainly a descendant of the Ettrick Forest sitting in majestic surroundings within a churchyard. 
  5. Hornbeam – Ashenbank Wood, Cobham, Kent, England: The Teapot Tree with eye-catching bark, benefitting from the protection of a simple fence made from sustainable materials.
  6. Sweet chestnut – Rnyda, Cumbria, England: Over 600 years old, the “monster” sweet chestnut tree has a twisting trunk and imposing branches.
  7. Parasol beech – Parkanaur Forest Park, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland: A curly beech, unusually low whose knotted branches grow back towards the ground.
  8. Oak tree – Helions Bumpstead, Braintree, Essex, England: A perfect example of how oaks can host other species such as moss and ivy cascading from its trunk and branches.
  9. Sweet chestnut – Willesley Park Golf Club, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, England: This tree has a girth of more than 11 meters.
  10. Sycamore – Newark, Nottinghamshire, England: Saved from being cut down by the community.

Vote here: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/tree-of-the-year/

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Adam Cormack, head of campaigning for the Woodland Trust, said: “Trees can make us happy, healthy, thoughtful - or upset when they are lost from our lives.

"The nominations we receive for Tree of the Year on social media are a window into the way we experience trees and the richness they bring to our lives.

“But Tree of The Year has a serious message. Many of our oldest and most special trees in the UK have no form of legal protection.

"It's time that our oldest trees got the same protection as our oldest buildings.

"Our built heritage and our natural heritage are both important and both worthy of protection. After all, once they're gone. Ancient trees can never be replaced like for like."

Last year’s winner in England was a plane tree in Hackney known as the Happy Man Tree, later felled because of redevelopment.