‘Survivor’ is crowned Tree of the Year

An oak tree at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, saved from destruction by a stroke of luck many years ago, will now wave the flag for Wales in the European Tree of the year competition

An oak tree which now stands proudly at the National Botanic Garden has been chosen by the public as Wales Tree of the Year for 2015. The tree, christened ‘Survival at the cutting edge’, received 28% of the votes cast in closely fought contest with six other trees across the country, organised by the Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw) and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

‘Survival at the cutting edge’ joins the Cubbington Pear Tree in England, the Suffragette Oak from Scotland and Peace Tree in Northern Ireland in the European Tree of the Year contest in February 2016. Voting will be open to the public and will be in February next year.

The tree was entered into the competition by the local man Terry Treharne who wrote on the nomination form: “When I was born, what is now the National Botanic Garden of Wales was seven starter farms. To earn pocket money at the age of 14 I was given the job of clearing an overgrown paddock. Armed with a scythe, I cleared vast tracts of it, until I developed an excruciating pain in my elbow and had to stop. On my return two days later, the farmer reminded me (though they hadn’t told me before) not to cut down the oak tree in the paddock. So, but for my elbow, I would have destroyed this beautiful tree.”

David Hardy from the National Botanic Garden of Wales says: “I’m delighted this wonderful tree has been voted as the Wales Tree of the Year. Clearly, there was something in this story of its chance survival all those years ago that struck a chord with public. The great news is that this tree is still here and able to take its place among 8,000 different plant species spread across 560 acres of beautiful countryside that make up Wales’ National Botanic Garden.”

Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust chief executive, said: “These four trees all demonstrate the intrinsic way our lives are linked to the natural world. Sadly many iconic trees do not have the levels of protection they deserve and this contest highlights the need to ensure they remain for future generations to enjoy and memories to endure.”

Annemiek Hoogenboom, country director of People’s Postcode Lottery said: “Tree of the Year is a special competition that connects people with trees in a very real way. Sharing and remembering the stories that we tell about trees helps future generations to love and protect them.

I’m delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery help to discover amazing trees from all over the UK.” The Woodland Trust’s V.I.Trees campaign seeks to create a register for Trees of National Special Interest in all four countries and over 13,000 people have so far supported the charity’s call for action. For more information visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/campaigning