Hunt begins for favourite New Forest tree

Ashurst tree, landscape

Published Wednesday 8 March 2017

The New Forest is home to more ancient and veteran trees than anywhere else in Western Europe, with many dating back hundreds of years.

Now the search is on for people’s favourite from the thousands of trees of all sizes, species and ages within the National Park.

The New Forest National Park Authority is inviting nominations for the shortlist of the New Forest Tree of the Year, which will go to a public vote this summer to decide the winner.

Nominate your favourite New Forest tree with a picture of it at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/treeoftheyear.

Nominations for the shortlist are open until 14 May and could be for any tree that:

  • Has an interesting personal or historical story
  • Is a particularly impressive or unusual specimen
  • Has personal significance to the nominator
  • Is especially old for its species – an ancient or veteran tree.

The competition is one of a series of events throughout 2017 to mark the 800th anniversary of the implementation of the Forest Charter. This charter followed on from the Magna Carta and helped establish important rights for people in the New Forest.

To mark this anniversary, the National Park Authority is working with organisations across the UK to create a new Charter for Trees, Woods and People. The Tree Charter initiative (www.treecharter.uk) is led by the Woodland Trust and will collect people’s tree stories from across the UK, including in the New Forest through the Tree of the Year competition.

The New Forest Tree of the Year is run in partnership with the Forestry Commission and voting will take place online during July. There will also be the chance to vote in-person at the National Park Authority’s stand during the New Forest Show from 25 to 27 July. The winner will be announced in August.

Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said ‘Trees and woodlands are a very major feature of the natural beauty of the New Forest and we consider their protection as a highly important part of our work, so it is good to have an opportunity to pick-out and celebrate some of the Forest’s most notable trees.

‘Whether your favourite is of historical importance, a particularly fine specimen or of personal significance, this is your chance to share it with others.’

Bruce Rothnie, Deputy Surveyor for the Forestry Commission, said: ‘The Forestry Commission is delighted to be involved with this project as the current custodian of our woodlands on behalf of the nation; we appreciate and understand the wide-range of benefits that trees can deliver. In and around the Forest there’s a fantastic passion and knowledge of this beautiful landscape and this is an opportunity for us all to celebrate our connection with trees.’

New Forest tree facts

  • Some older New Forest trees have an arrow etched into their trunk, the ‘King’s Mark’, that earmarked them for shipbuilding hundreds of years ago
  • More than 1,000 ancient and veteran trees have been recorded in the New Forest
  • One of the oldest trees in the Forest is a 1,000-year-old yew at St Nicholas Church, Brockenhurst.
  • The Knightwood Oak is perhaps the most famous New Forest tree. Also known as ‘The Queen of the Forest’, this huge oak with majestic spreading limbs is a good example of the ancient technique of pollarding. 

Competition rules

  • The tree must be with the New Forest National Park boundary
  • If the tree is on private land you must either be the landowner or have the permission of the landowner. 
  • You can submit more than one nomination
  • A picture and explanatory paragraph must be submitted with nominations
  • Forestry Commission and New Forest National Park Authority staff and their immediate family are not eligible to make a nomination
  • All nominators consent to taking part in any publicity associated with the awards, including filming and photography of the nominated tree
  • Nominations will be accepted until midnight on 14 May 2017
  • The decision of the shortlisting panel is final.

Notes to Photo Editor

An oak tree near Ashurst in the New Forest.

Notes to Editor

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect.
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Media contact

Matt Stroud, Communications Officer
Tel: 01590 646650
matt.stroud@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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