Lone hawthorn in Dumfries and Galloway is crowned Tree of the Year

Lone hawthorn that stands ‘fiercely proud’ on a beach in Dumfries and Galloway is crowned Tree of the Year

  • Every year the Woodland Trust holds a contest to raise awareness about UK trees
  • This year’s winner is a lone hawthorn in Kippford, near Dalbeattie 
  •  While not spectacular in size, it stands out for being the only tree on the beach

A lone hawthorn in Kippford, near Dalbeattie in Dumfries and Galloway, has taken the title of this year’s Woodland Trust’s Tree of The Year.

The competition, which has been running for the last seven years, is held to raise awareness about the UK’s trees and their importance to Britain’s landscape.

Hundreds of people nominate their favourite tree for the contest, which takes place across The Woodland Trust’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts using the hashtag #TreeoftheWeek.

A shortlist of 10 finalists is then chosen before the winner is announced.

The hawthorn in first place took 38 per cent of the vote this year.

A lone hawthorn in Kippford, near Dalbeattie in Dumfries and Galloway, has taken the title of this year’s Woodland Trust’s Tree of The Year

Tree of the Year finalists

1. Beech – Silent Valley, Ebbw Vale, Gwent, Wales 

2. Hawthorn – Kippford, Dalbeattie, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland (1st – 38%) 

3. Monterey cypress – Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, Wales (2nd – 19%) 

4. Ash – Ettrick Forest, Selkirk, Scotland 

5. Hornbeam – Ashenbank Wood, Cobham, Kent, England 

6. Sweet chestnut – Rydal, Cumbria, England 

7. Parasol beech – Parkanaur Forest Park, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland (3rd – 13%) 

8. Oak tree – Helions Bumpstead, Braintree, Essex, England 

9. Sweet chestnut – Willesley Park Golf Club, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leics, England (5th – 7%) 

10. Sycamore – Newark, Nottinghamshire, England (4th – 11%) 

While not spectacular in size, it stands out on the village coastline, being the only tree on the beach.

In second place with 19 per cent of the votes was the Monterey cypress tree planted on a beach in Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire, Wales, which had been saved from felling this year after a triumphant public campaign.

In third place with 13 per cent of the votes was a parasol beech in Parkanaur Forest Park, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland which is known for its knotted branches growing back towards the ground.

Tree surgeon Drew Patterson, whose father, grandfather and great grandfather all come from Dalbeattie, nominated the winning hawthorn and described it being crowned winner of this year’s competition as a ‘special’ moment.

The 57-year-old said: ‘I love this tree, it’s amazing.

‘It is a superb hawthorn and it’s incredible it has survived this well having been climbed on, battered by the winds and even bumped into by cars turning.

‘It’s in a wild place and has been blown over at an angle, but it is still standing strong and proud on the edge of the beach.

‘It has been there as long as I can remember and I have so many fond memories going back through the generations. I have pictures of my grandfather and mum in front of the tree.

‘It is at least 60 years and could be as many as 100.’

In fourth place came a sycamore in Newark, Nottinghamshire, with 11 per cent of the votes.

The town’s local community successfully campaigned against the tree being chopped down to make room for a new car park.

In fifth place came a sweet chestnut at Willesley Park Golf Club in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire with 7 per cent of the votes.

The remaining five to be nominated included a beech tree in Gwent’s Silent Valley in Wales, an ash tree in Selkirk’s Ettrick Forest in Scotland, a Hornbeam in Ashenbank Wood in Kent, a sweet chestnut in Rydal, Cumbria, and an oak tree in Helions Bumpstead in Braintree, Essex.

In third place with 13 per cent of the votes was a parasol beech in Parkanaur Forest Park, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland which is known for its knotted branches growing back towards the ground

Adam Cormack, head of campaigning for the Woodland Trust, said the tree which is also known as the ‘Kippford Leaning Tree’ is a worthy winner.

He said: ‘We’ve had winners of all shapes and sizes in previous years and this is a tree that stands out for different reasons, notably because of its striking presence in an unusual setting.

‘It is also a special tree for Drew because of the family significance, which highlights the importance individual trees can have. Lots of trees are equally meaningful to someone, providing a connection and treasured memories.’

The winning hawthorn tree will now go on to represent the UK in the European Tree of the Year 2022 contest.

WHAT ARE THE UK’S MOST ENDANGERED PLANTS?

The Ghost Orchid was last seen in 2009 in a Herefordshire wood

1. Ghost Orchid

Status: Critically Endangered 

Best time to see: Unknown

Habitat: Beech wood

Where? Herefordshire

This orchid was thought extinct until it was spotted in Herefordshire in 2009. It usually grows underground in deep leaf litter only rarely popping its white flower above the surface to attract pollinators.

 

The Red Helleborine grows in southern England and is best seen in May, June and July

2. Red Helleborine

Status: Critically Endangered

Best time to see: May, June and July

Habitat: Dark woodland

Where? Southern England

This orchid grows a stem up to 60cm in height that can carry up to 17 flowers that are a deep shade of pink. Plantlife UK said it may have become rare due to a decline in the population of its pollinators and the right habitat for them.

 

Spreading Bellflowers are only found in 37 places in the UK

3. Spreading Bellflower

Status: Endangered

Best time to see: July to November

Habitat: Woodland

Where? Welsh borders and west Midlands

The Spreading Bellflower is only found in 37 10-km square areas in the UK, but in very small numbers. It is threatened by changes in woodland management, such as the end of coppicing and other disturbances, and an increased use of herbicides on roadsides and railway banks.

 

The Crested Cow-wheat grows in East Anglia and other parts of the UK

4. Crested Cow-wheat

Status: Endangered

Best time to see: July and August

Habitat: Rocky Hillside meadows and roadsides

Where? East Anglia and other areas

The plant grows to 15 to 40cm high and produces pink flowers with yellow lips. It grows in meadows, competing with scores of other plants to attract insects.

 

5. Cotswold Pennycress

Status: Vulnerable and Near-Threatened

Best time to see: April and May

Habitat: Farmland

Where? Cotswolds

It sprouts mainly in the Cotswolds, and can be seen growing out of hedges, walls and banks.

Ploughing, the levelling of rough land, increased use of fertilisers and herbicides and neglecting marginal land have all led to the plants gradual demise. It is often choked by thicker smothering plants.

 

The Lady Orchid, which has stunning pink flowers, grows in Kent and Oxfordshire

6. Lady Orchid

Status: Critical

Best time to see: April, May, June

Habitat: Edges of woodland and grassland

Where? Kent and Oxfordshire

This purple-coloured orchid produces large stems of 200 flowers that grow up to 80cm in height. It can be seen growing on the edges of woodland, and sometimes in open grassland.

This meadow plant has been in decline since less land was used for grazing meaning it was smothered by others

7. Meadow Clary

Status: Vulnerable/Near Threatened

Best time to see: Spring and Summer

Habitat: Grassland

Where? Oxfordshire, Chilterns and north and south Downs

This plant declined before 1950 when less land was used for grazing and it was smothered by other coarser plants. It is now found in just 21 areas in the south of England, where it was probably re-introduced through ‘wild flower seed’ mixtures.

The sun loving plant grows in open grassland, and along south-facing hedge banks and the southern edges of woodland.

 

The One-flowered Wintergreen grows in damp, shaded pine forests

8. One-flowered Wintergreen

Status: Vulnerable/ Near Threatened

Best time to see: May, June and July

Habitat: Pine forests

Where? North-east Scotland

This single-flowered plant grows in damp, shaded areas of pine forests. It is clearly visible against the dark soil and rotting pine leaves. The white flower faces downwards from the end of a tall stem, looking a bit like an umbrella

 

The Twinflower is a relic from the ice age

9. Twinflower

Status: Unknown

Best time to see: Spring and Summer

Habitat: Woodland

Where? Scotland

An arctic-alpine plant that is a relic of the ice age, It has two pink bell-like flowers on a slender stem and a thicker stem below that creeps along the ground forming small mats. The Twinflower is considered one of our smallest and most delicate native flowers.

It now grows in just 50 unrelated sites following changes in woodland management.

 

The white-flower orchid has been lost from 75 per cent of the countryside

10. Lesser Butterfly-orchid

Status: Vulnerable/Near Threatened

Best time to see: June & July

Habitat: Woodland, grassland, heathland and wetland

Where? England, Cardiganshire in Wales, and parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland

This white-flower orchid has been lost from 75 per cent of the English countryside since records began. Growing a 30cm-high stem, the plant is now scattered across open areas and those with acidic soil. The best chance of seeing it is in the Cae Blaen Dyffryn Nature Reserve, Wales, which hosts a population that can exceed 3,000 in good years.

The orchids decline may be linked to a symbiotic fungus it depends on to grow, according to Plantlife UK, which is very sensitive to fertilisers and fungicides. Their use on open grassland may have played a part in the plants march towards extinction.

 

The plant prefers Beech and Hazel woods

11. Yellow Birds-nest

Status: Unknown

Best time to see: All year

Habitat: Beech and Hazel woodland

Where? UK-wide

The whole plant is a yellow-brown colour, and tends to grow in leaf litter in shaded woodland. However, it began to decline after 1930, possibly due to changes in woodland management, overgrazing and habitat fragmentation.

Source: Plantlife UK 

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