Wrexham: Ancient tree 'loved by locals' set to represent UK in European competition

A centuries-old tree in Wrexham dubbed the "Party Tree" has been crowned Tree of the Year by the Woodland Trust.

The 480-year-old sweet chestnut in Acton Park won the UK-wide award by securing 17% of the overall votes.

It will now go on to the European Tree of the Year contest, where it will be the UK's entry.

As a winner, the "Party Tree" joins illustrious company, with previous winners including the Sycamore Gap tree at Hadrian's Wall, which made national headlines when it was felled in 2023.

This year's competition focused on celebrating ancient tress in urban spaces, including in city parks, towns and on residential streets.

The famous Sycamore Gap tree at Hadrian's Wall, which was felled in September, is amongst previous winners. Credit: PA

Jack Taylor, lead campaigner for Woods Under Threat at Woodland Trust said: “What an amazing and deserved winner!

"The sweet chestnut in Wrexham’s Acton Park is a symbol of resilience in the city having survived many storms and other threats.

"This almost 500-year-old giant is celebrated and loved by locals for its beauty and history and it now has the claim to fame of being a Tree of the Year winner. A true icon!”

The sweet chestnut has survived a lot during its nearly half-a-millenium history, including the felling of a lot of trees in the park for firewood following the Second World War and dozens of deadly storms. That includes a storm in 2021 which saw damage to many of the surrounding trees, with some toppled completely.

The tree was one of 11 shortlisted for the competition, including the Holm Oak in Devon which survived the Exeter Blitz in 1942 and the Crouch Oak in Surrey which the Queen was said to have dined beneath.

The "Queen Elizabeth picnic tree", as it is dubbed, finished in a close second place.

Hugh Jones from Wrexham County Borough Council said the local authority was "delighted" at the result.

Mr Jones added: "We would like to thank the people of Wrexham and the wider population who took the time to vote.

"It goes to show that the Wrexham Sweet Chestnut has inspired people for so many years and is now getting some well-deserved recognition.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…