A lone hawthorn situated close to the village of Kippford, overlooking the Rough Firth on the Solway coast in Kirkcudbrightshire, has taken the title of this year’s Woodland Trust’s Tree of The Year.
The competition, which has been running for the past 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.
The hawthorn in first place took 38 per cent of the vote this year.
While not spectacular in size, it stands out on the village coastline, being the only tree on the beach.
Tree surgeon Drew Patterson, whose father, grandfather and great grandfather all come from nearby 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 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.
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.
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 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 Essex.
Adam Cormack, head of campaigning for the Woodland Trust, said the tree that 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.”
The winning hawthorn tree will now go on to represent the UK in the European Tree of the Year 2022 contest.