Christmas gift for Castlewellan champion

Picture: Michael Cooper
Picture: Michael Cooper

A much-loved giant redwood in Castlewellan, County Down, is celebrating having being voted Northern Ireland’s Tree of the Year in the Woodland Trust’s search for the country’s best-loved tree.

The giant redwood – or multi-stemmed giant sequoia (to be precise) – stands within the walled garden at Castlewellan Forest Park. At over 160 years old, this tree has seen centuries come and go, and yet it’s a relative youngster in the giant redwood world.

Tree enthusiasts Dr Sally Montgomery, of Castlewellan Futures’ Heritage Group, and Ann Irwin, of Arboretum Regeneration Castlewellan, were behind the County Down winner.

The pair recently received the coveted Tree of the Year trophy after months of campaigning to win the public vote. Their efforts have also secured a tree care award of £1,000.

Patrick Cregg, director of the Woodland Trust, said: “Our congratulations go to Sally and Ann, who have worked so hard to put this magnificent giant in the limelight.

“Thanks to their efforts, the tree actually made a debut on BBC’s The One Show. When viewers were asked to vote for the UK’s Tree of the Year, our Northern Ireland champion came runner-up! What a tremendous boost for trees. They offer endless benefits – to the landscape, people and wildlife – and yet, so often, go unsung.”

The Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year competition aims to highlight and celebrate our country’s remarkable trees, and to ultimately ensure they are given the recognition and protection they deserve.