Northern Ireland tree comes sixth in European contest

Poland’s Oak Josef, which sheltered Jewish family from Nazis, wins overall competition

A Holm Oak tree in Northern Ireland has come sixth in the European Tree Of The Year contest.

Poland’s entry, the Oak Josef, which sheltered a Jewish family hiding from the Nazis and featured on a Polish banknote, came top in the public poll.

A giant Welsh oak tree saved from being felled for a bypass came second in the Europe-wide competition.

The Brimmon oak in Newtown, Powys, which has a girth of nearly 6m, secured 16,203 votes, while England's Sycamore Gap tree came fifth with 7,123 votes, Northern Ireland's Holm Oak came sixth with 7,101 votes.


Scotland's Ding Dong Tree in a school playground was eighth with 6,237 votes.

The giant Brimmon oak in Wales hit the headlines in 2009 when plans emerged to fell it to make way for the planned bypass, but landowner Mervyn Jones objected.

His campaign to save the oak, which was backed by a 5,000-strong petition to the Welsh Assembly, finally saw the Welsh Government agree to vary the bypass route in the hope of saving the tree.

All four UK trees, which were selected to go forward to the European Tree Of The Year Contest by a public vote, are receiving a £1,000 care grant, which will pay for expert assessments, or even a celebratory event.

The Woodland Trust, which ran the UK competition, is renewing its call for better protection of the country’s “ancients”, both trees and woodlands, so developments that damage them are only approved in “wholly exceptional” circumstances.

Clara Govier, head of charities at People's Postcode Lottery, which supported the UK vote and funded the care grants, said: "It has been great to raise awareness of so many special trees and the affection people have for them.

“Massive congratulations to the Welsh entry for doing so brilliantly well!”