Fifth place in Europe for Northumberland tree

Sycamore Gap by Karen Walker
Sycamore Gap by Karen Walker

A tree in the Northumberland National Park, which was crowned England’s Tree of the Year, could only muster fifth place in the European contest.

The Sycamore Gap tree, on Hadrian’s Wall, was voted as the nation’s best in the Woodland Trust competition in December.

In February, voting started in the European Tree of the Year contest and the results have now been announced.

Also known as the Robin Hood tree following its appearance in the famous 90s film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, it received 21 per cent of nearly 12,000 votes cast by the public in the national vote.

It earned 7,123 votes in the European competition, which landed it fifth place. The winner was Poland’s Oak Jósef (17,597 votes) followed by the Brimmon Oak, in Wales (16,203 votes), and the Lime Tree at Lipka, in the Czech Republic (14,813 votes).

As the results are revealed the Woodland Trust is also launching a renewed call for better protection for our ancients (trees and woods).

The charity’s Save our ancients campaign follows government proposals in the recent housing white paper to add ancient woodland and aged and veteran trees to the current list of policies that restrict development in England.

Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust chief executive, said: “The UK is rightly renowned for having some of the best examples of ancient trees in Europe, so it’s good to see them finally achieving recognition in the competition.

“There is now an opportunity to secure better protection for them following the publication of the housing white paper and we need the public to help us make it happen.”

The British entries in European Tree of the Year have also all benefitted from a care grant funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, which will pay for arboricultural assessments, interpretation or even a celebratory event. The Woodland Trust will launch the search for the next Tree of the Year this summer.

People are asked to support the charity’s call to ensure planning policy is amended to give our ancients ‘wholly exceptional’ recognition at woodlandtrust.org.uk/actnow