480-year-old tree in Wrexham crowned ‘Tree of the Year’ 2023
A 480-year-old Sweet Chestnut tree in Acton Park in Wrexham has been crowned Tree of the Year in the Woodland Trust competition.
The winning tree, which is famous amongst locals as the centrepiece of picnics and tree parties, secured 17% of the overall votes and will now go on to represent the UK in the European Tree of the Year contest.
This year’s Tree of the Year competition focused on celebrating ancient and veteran trees in urban spaces across the UK, with the best trees in city parks, towns, and residential streets in the running.
Previous winners of the competition include the Sycamore Gap tree at Hadrian’s wall, which took the title in 2016 before it was felled in September 2023.
Jack Taylor, Lead Campaigner for Woods Under Threat at Woodland Trust, said:
“What an amazing and deserved winner! The sweet chestnut in Wrexham’s Acton Park is a symbol of resilience in the city having survived many storms and other threats.
“This almost 500-year-old giant is celebrated and loved by locals for its beauty and history and it now has the claim to fame of being a Tree of the Year winner. A true icon!”
The sweet chestnut of Acton Park has become a reliable fixture in the landscape, withstanding 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.
Hugh Jones, Lead member of Wrexham Council’s Environment and Technical Department, said:
“Wrexham Council is delighted to have been awarded UK Tree of the Year 2023. We would like to thank the people of Wrexham and the wider population who took the time to vote.
“It goes to show that the Wrexham Sweet Chestnut has inspired people for so many years and is now getting some well-deserved recognition.”
13 trees were shortlisted for the competition in total, all of which were loved by locals and boast fascinating stories, including the Holm Oak in Devon which survived the destruction of the Exeter Blitz in 1942.
The Crouch Oak in Surrey, known as the Queen Elizabeth picnic tree after the monarch was said to have dined beneath it, placed second in the competition, accumulating 14% of the overall votes, whilst a twisted Sweet Chestnut in Greenwich Park, which was planted in King Charles II’s honour, finished close behind with 13% of votes.
For more information on the Woodland Trust, please visit the website at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk
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