The tree at Kippford, Dalbeattie in Dumfries & Galloway is a fine example of a native, mature tree. While not spectacular in size, it cuts a striking presence as the only tree on the windswept cockle shell beach.
Now in its seventh year, the Woodland Trust’s Tree of The Year contest highlights the UK’s favourite trees to help show their value and need for protection.
The hawthorn took 38% of the vote, finishing above a Monterey cypress tree planted on a beach in Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, Wales (19%) that was saved from felling this year after a passionate public campaign.
In third place with 13% was an exceptional parasol beech in Parkanaur Forest Park, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland – a rare specimen with knotted branches growing randomly back towards the ground.
The competition was held across social media, with a shortlist of 10 finalists selected from hundreds of nominations across The Woodland Trust’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts using #TreeoftheWeek.
Tree surgeon Drew Patterson, who nominated the winning hawthorn, was thrilled to see such a “beautiful specimen” take the coveted prize.
Drew commented: “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 stands 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. Seeing the tree win this award is special.”
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 explained: “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.
The Woodland Trust’s Tree of The Year competition aims to highlight how vital trees are for our landscapes and our lives. Trees are essential in the fight against the climate and nature crisis we are facing, yet many of the UK’s oldest and most valuable trees have no form of legal protection.