The Woodland Trust’s panel of tree experts has shortlisted 12 fascinating urban contenders from across the UK for Tree of the Year 2023 – with one additional tree voted for by the public.
This year’s contest shines a spotlight on ancient trees in urban locations; all are in accessible locations and available to visit completely free any time (located in city parks, busy town centres and residential streets). Each one has an amazing story to tell and is loved by locals, as well as providing vital habitat for wildlife, helping to reduce flooding, screen out noise, provide shade, filter air pollution, increase property values and bring cultural capital to our streets and parks.
In Wales, the Woodland Trust has shortlisted a Veteran Sweet Chestnut Tree located in Wrexham’s Acton Park. The tree has an impressive circumference of 6.1m and a height of 24m, indicating that it has been standing for around 490 years. It has withstood many challenges during its half-millennium, from post-war plundering of the park for firewood in the forties to dozens of deadly storms, including that of 2021 when many neighbouring trees lost limbs or were toppled completely. Now a feature of community events like this year’s tree party celebrations, the stately tree is well loved by locals for its history, value and beauty.
Trees are well-known and celebrated in Wrexham; Wrexham Borough County Council has made its own public ‘Woodland Pledge’ to help protect trees and woodlands across the county borough – and encourage anyone to join, including those who are part of a local business, community group or organisation.
“Ancient trees in towns and cities are vital for the health of nature, people and the planet. They give thousands of urban wildlife species essential life support, boost the UK’s biodiversity and bring countless health and wellbeing benefits to communities,” said Clare Morgan at Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales.
“It is fabulous to see this tree being celebrated – it’s in an area loved by the local community and popular with foragers; hopefully everyone in Wales will get involved, and vote for it to win.” added Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member for Environment at Wrexham Council.
The Welsh public are being encouraged to vote for the Wrexham Sweet Chestnut and help to crown it this year’s champion; voting for the Woodland Trust’s 2023 Tree of the Year is open now until Sunday, 15 October.
This year’s winner will be announced later this year on Thursday 19th October and will go on to represent the UK in the European Tree of the Year competition.
The rest of the UK Tree of the Year Shortlist:
Greenwich Park sweet chestnut, London
Holm oak blitz tree, Exeter, Devon
Cathedral foxglove tree, Lichfield, Staffordshire
Lakeside holm oak, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Crouch Oak, Addlestone, Surrey
Gorton Park poplar, Manchester
Grantham Oak, Grantham, Lincolnshire
Chelsea Road Elm, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Plymouth pear, Plymouth, Devon
Highland Gateway Walnut, Perth
Belvoir Oak, Belfast
Public wildcard nomination – Library holm oak, Westbury, Wiltshire