It may seem like a strange concept for an awards ceremony. However, a competition to find the best trees in Britain has captured the imagination.
The Woodland Trust has now announced the winners of the first ever Tree of the Year awards. Four trees have now been chosen to receive the title – one for each country within the UK. They will each get a £1,000 tree care, or Tree LC, grant so they can carry out health checks on the specimens to make sure they are preserved for generations to come.
In England, the winner was the Sycamore Gap tree, which sits along Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland. The tree sits within a dip in the wall. It had a cameo role in the 1991 hit film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner.
Sycamore Gap has also been made famous more recently by international bestselling author LJ Ross. City regulatory lawyer turned author LJ Ross featured the tree in her Amazon bestselling novel Sycamore Gap, which is the second in her DCI Ryan series. The book opens with a body being found in the stones of Hadrian’s Wall. LJ has so far written four DCI Ryan books, with a fifth on the way. All have been set in beauty spots in North East England, where she is originally from.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
In Scotland, the tree which won was the unusually named Ding Dong tree, which is in the grounds of the Prestonpans Primary School. The tree has been give its name from a game played in which pupils have to touch the trunk, shouting Ding Dong.
In Northern Ireland, a tree which grows at a 45-degree angle in Kilbroney Park took the title, having provided a playground for hundreds of children who climb its trunk. Meanwhile, in Wales, Brimmon Oak, which was saved by a Facebook campaign after being threatened with destruction to make way for a bypass, has won.