Northern Ireland news

Redwood in Castlewellan crowned 'Northern Ireland Tree of the Year'

The giant redwood - or multi-stemmed giant sequoia - stands within the walled garden at Castlewellan Forest Park and has been announced as the Northern Ireland tree of the year. Picture by Michael Cooper

A GIANT 160-year-old redwood in Castlewellan Forest Park has been crowned Northern Ireland Tree of the Year.

Loved by young climbers, the extraordinary Co Down veteran has 19 trunks and was planted as a sapling by the Annesley family, the former owners of the Castlewellan demesne.

It secured almost 1,000 votes in the UK-wide competition, which was organised by the Woodland Trust.

Tree enthusiasts Dr Sally Montgomery of Castlewellan Futures' Heritage Group and Ann Irwin of Arboretum Regeneration discovered it was grown from one of the original seeds brought to England from California in 1853 by renowned collector William Lobb.

"He dashed to the Sierra Nevada in 1852 when he first heard of these monster trees, anticipating correctly that the species, renowned for being the world's largest tree, would be hugely popular among Victorian collectors," Dr Montgomery said.

Woodland Trust director Patrick Cregg said they want to celebrate "remarkable trees".

The Castlewellan redwood will now compete for the UK title, with votes cast through BBC's The One Show.

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