‘Magnificent’ yew near Farnham crowned Woodland Trust Tree of the Year

Waverley Abbey yew

A “magnificent” yew tree which is believed to be more than 500 years old and lies within the grounds of a ruined abbey in Surrey has been crowned the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year.

The Waverley Abbey yew, which is rooted inside the ruined monastery near Farnham, was deemed the cream of the crop this year.

The contest, in its eighth year, aims to put the spotlight on the nation’s favourite trees to highlight how important they are in the battle against climate change.

The yew will now represent the UK in the European tree of the year competition.

The gnarled roots of the Waverley Abbey Yew Credit: The Woodland Trust

The yew clinched victory with 16% of the votes, closely followed by the Portal Tree in Midlothian, a rowan which grows in the grounds of one of Scotland’s most well-known, historical houses; and a layering horse chestnut tree in Kedleston, Derbyshire.

Tom Reed, citizen science officer for the Ancient Tree Inventory at the Woodland Trust, said: “It is great to see that this magnificent tree has been recognised as tree of the year 2022 and the way the tree is rooted within the ruins of the abbey is a great symbol of the fact that our ancient trees are intertwined with other aspects of our cultural heritage.”

Dr Michael Carter, English Heritage senior properties historian, added that the tree is a “truly spectacular reminder of the passage of time and a very worthy winner of tree of the year”.