Dumfries and Galloway hawthorn is UK's Tree of the Year

14/12/21. A hawthorn tree in Kippford, Dumfries and Galloway, which has been crowned the UK's 2021 Tree of the Year. ITV Border/James Mahon
The tree in Kippford which has been crowned the UK's favourite specimen. Credit: ITV Border

A tree in Dumfries and Galloway has been crowned the UK's favourite specimen in a national competition.

A lone hawthorn in Kippford, near Dalbeattie, has taken the title of this year's Woodland Trust's Tree of The Year.

The competition, which has been running for the last seven years, is held to raise awareness about the UK's trees and their importance to Britain's landscape.

Hundreds of people nominate their favourite tree for the contest, which takes place across The Woodland Trust's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts using the hashtag #TreeoftheWeek.

A shortlist of 10 finalists is then chosen before the winner is announced.

The hawthorn in first place took 38 per cent of the vote this year.

While not spectacular in size, it stands out on the village coastline, being the only tree on the beach.

Last year, another tree in Dumfries and Galloway was crowned Scotland's Tree of the Year.

In second place with 19 per cent of the votes was the Monterey cypress tree planted on a beach in Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire, Wales, which had been saved from felling this year after a triumphant public campaign.

In third place with 13 per cent of the votes was a parasol beech in Parkanaur Forest Park, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland which is known for its knotted branches growing back towards the ground.

Tree surgeon Drew Patterson, whose father, grandfather and great grandfather all come from Dalbeattie, nominated the winning hawthorn and described it being crowned winner of this year's competition as a "special" moment.

The 57-year-old said: "I love this tree, it's amazing. It is a superb hawthorn and it's incredible it has survived this well having been climbed on, battered by the winds and even bumped into by cars turning.

"It's in a wild place and has been blown over at an angle but it is still standing strong and proud on the edge of the beach.

In fourth place came a sycamore in Newark, Nottinghamshire, with 11 per cent of the votes.

The town's local community successfully campaigned against the tree being chopped down to make room for a new car park.

In fifth place came a sweet chestnut at Willesley Park Golf Club in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire with seven per cent of the votes.

The remaining five to be nominated included a beech tree in Gwent's Silent Valley in Wales, an ash tree in Selkirk's Ettrick Forest in the Scottish Borders, a Hornbeam in Ashenbank Wood in Kent, a sweet chestnut in Rydal, Cumbria, and an oak tree in Helions Bumpstead in Braintree, Essex.

Adam Cormack, head of campaigning for the Woodland Trust, said the tree which is also known as the "Kippford Leaning Tree" is a worthy winner.

He added: "Lots of trees are equally meaningful to someone, providing a connection and treasured memories."

The winning hawthorn tree will now go on to represent the UK in the European Tree of the Year 2022 contest.