Ancient Sussex tree shortlisted for 'Tree of the Year' award

One of Sussex's most prized trees, the Great Yew in Kingley Vale, has been shortlisted for the tree of the year award 2019.

Kingley Vale's Great Yew, thought to be more than 750 years old. Picture via the Woodland Trust
Kingley Vale's Great Yew, thought to be more than 750 years old. Picture via the Woodland Trust

Kingley Vale a nature reserve near Chichester, boasts an array of yew trees which have been described as 'one of the finest remaining examples' in Europe as it was shortlisted for the Woodland Trust's 2019 Tree of the Year award.

Adam Cormack, head of campaigning at the Woodland Trust said: “The Tree of the Year competition is all about highlighting and celebrating the nation’s most remarkable and special trees. We have a fantastic number of ancient and veteran trees and many notable urban trees.

“Trees across the country are constantly under threat of felling due to inappropriate developments. The Tree of the Year competition is all about helping to raise the profile of trees in order to offer them better protection.

“All of our shortlisted trees look amazing and each of them has a wonderful story to tell. We’re sure that the public will show their passion and get behind their favourite. The shortlist includes trees from all over England - from Liverpool to the Isle of Wight.

“We have some strong contenders for the 2019 crown and we would encourage people to vote to support their favourite tree. We’re also calling on members of local Tree Charter branches to lend their support and get behind their favourite tree.”

As well as putting the nation’s best trees on the map, the awards - supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery - offer a £1,000 tree care award for each winning tree. This might be spent on works to benefit the tree’s health, signage, or a community celebration. There are £500 awards for runners-up.

The woodland trust said of Kingley Vale's Great Yew: "The yews of Kingley Vale have graced the South Downs for thousands of years, and are some of the oldest living things in the UK. Local folklore has it that the Druids worshipped there before the Romans came and that the archers of Agincourt used the supple wood make their bows.

"Over the centuries, most of Europe’s yew forests have been felled, with Kingley Vale being one of the finest remaining examples. And within one of the finest yew forests is one of our finest yews – the Kingley Vale Great yew. Although it is not the largest yew as far as its trunk is concerned, its large arching boughs form an impressive canopy."

A carefully chosen panel of eager and knowledgeable judges spent a day debating the positives of hundreds of trees to find the very best trees that England has to offer. Ten visually stunning trees all with wonderful stories have made the shortlist.

The shortlist is:

• Allerton Oak, Liverpool, Merseyside (Oak)

• Dragon Tree, Brighstone, Isle of Wight (Oak)

• Kingley Vale Great Yew, Chichester (Yew)

• Addison’s Oak, Bristol (Oak)

• Fallen Tree, London (Oak)

• London Plane, Bryanston, Dorset (London Plane)

• Twisted, Thetford, Norfolk (Conifer)

• North Circular Cork Oak, London (Oak)

• The Colchester Castle Sycamore, Colchester, Essex (Sycamore)

• The Drive Oak, Gloucester, Gloucestershire (Oak)

Vote for the tree here.