Ten trees across the UK were shortlisted for the chance to be named England’s ‘tree of the year’ in September.
Oaks dominated the list, such as Liverpool’s winning Allerton Oak, which may have been growing since the Norman Conquest, while other trees include a London plane almost as tall as Nelson’s Column and a sycamore that has grown on a castle’s walls for 200 years.
The Isle of Wight’s legendary Dragon Tree, which myths claim is a winged beast that turned to wood after it was slain by a valiant knight, came in third place. Fallen Tree in Richmond Park, an oak which has sprouted back to life despite being felled in a storm, also made the top ten.
The central of three trees at Bryanston School, Dorset, this specimen stands nearly 164ft (50m) tall, just a little shorter than Nelson’s Column, making it the tallest broadleaf tree in the UK and one of the tallest in Europe. Its height was confirmed in 2015 when school pupils – with the help of professional climbing equipment – scaled it to take measurements
The Dragon oak in Brighstone, Isle of Wight, is the carcass of a winged beast that turned to wood when it was slain by a knight, according to legend. However, conservationists have suggested its unique shape originates from when it was blown over in a storm and then re-rooted itself
This fallen oak in Richmond Park, London, which was blown over in a storm, managed to cling to life with its last remaining roots and flourish in an usual position. All of its branches grow from one side of the trunk, each reaching up like a small tree, and its bark has been worn smooth by children using it as a climbing frame over the years
The last surviving cork oak from a plantation planted by the Cork manufacturing company more than a century ago in London. This tree flourishes at a major junction on London’s North Circular road despite being surrounded by retail warehouses and buffeted by road pollution, showing how nature and trees can thrive even in adverse urban environments
The last remaining cork tree from a plantation, that was planted by the Cork manufacturing company more than a century ago in London’s North Circular, also made the list.
Others included the Drive Oak in Gloucester, which has guarded the entrance to Wick Court farm for hundreds of years. It may even have been there when Elizabeth I came from Berkeley Castle having been reprimanded for killing too many stags.
The Colchester Castle Sycamore in Essex, which came in second place, was planted by the mayor’s daughter to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815, according to local rumour.
Growing on top of Colchester Castle’s south-east tower for around 200 years, it had to be removed in 1985 for wall repairs, but it survived and was put back into its original position in 1987.
The Drive Oak in Gloucester has guarded the entrance to Wick Court farm for hundreds of years. It may even have been there when Elizabeth I came from Berkeley Castle having been reprimanded for killing too many stags. Now children come to stay from inner-city primary schools, and study the oak as part of a bird survey
This twisted Scots pine in Thetford, Norfolk, has bent round in a loop as it has grown. It is thought that the tree, in a small area of woodland south of Thetford, has performed this feat entirely naturally, bent down by wind or snow and then reaching towards the light once the pressure was lifted
This yew in Kingley Vale Great Yew, Chichester, West Sussex, is one of the oldest trees in the UK, having graced the South Downs for thousands of years. Its large, with arching boughs that form an impressive canopy
The Addison’s oak in Bristol was planted to commemorate the launch of the city’s public housing scheme by Dr Christopher Addison MP, who was responsible for the 1919 Housing and Town Planning Act. This led to the first council houses being built to provide ‘homes fit for heroes’ returning from the First World War
Adam Cormack, head of campaigning at the Woodland Trust, said ahead of the vote: ‘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.’