An oak in Belfast’s Woodvale Park, which was planted in 1919 in honour of those who failed to return from WWI, has been crowned Northern Ireland’s Tree of the Year.
The oak, which is Belfast’s Peace Tree, beat off stiff competition from five competing specimens including a magnificent oak in Londonderry known as the Tree of Witness and the Dark Hedges, an enchanting avenue of beech trees near Ballymoney, which took third place.
The Woodland Trust competition saw the champion secure 880 votes – almost a third of the 2,650 cast for all six contenders.
It will now represent Northern Ireland in the European Tree of the Year contest in February 2016.
Patrick Cregg MBE, director of the Woodland Trust, said: “The enthusiasm of those who nominated trees, together with the number of votes, is truly heartening.” He hopes “people will give this tree the backing it deserves”.
How the votes were cast
1. The Peace Tree oak at Woodvale Park, west Belfast – 880 votes
2. Tree of Witness oak at Enagh House, Londonderry – 791 votes
3. The Dark Hedges, Bregagh Road, Stranocum, Ballymoney – 469 votes
4. Tree of Peace and Unity: lime at Dunadry Hotel, Antrim – 218 votes
5. The Mulberry Tree at Castle Park, Bangor – 160 votes
6. Moneypenny’s Yew at Moneypenny’s Lock, Newry Canal, near Portadown – 132 votes