Sessile oak tree in Rostrevor crowned Northern Ireland's Tree of the Year
A SESSILE oak tree in Co Down has been crowned Northern Ireland's Tree of the Year.
The impressive tree, which stands tall within the entrance to one of Ireland's last remaining ancient woodlands, Rostrevor Oak, won 950 votes in the competition.
Organised by the Woodland Trust, the competition was open to any living tree in the UK – with Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales each having its own contest.
Nominating the winner, Rostrevor Action Respecting the Environment (RARE) said for generations "the tree has greeted visitors to this magnificent woodland and provided a habitat for hundreds of species, including the welcome return of the red squirrel".
"Sadly, the existence of this tree was erased in a survey and report supporting the construction of apartment blocks and an underground car park within a few metres of its roots and branches. However, this attempt to make a life-supporting tree disappear has instead served to inspire locals and visitors from around the world to stand up and campaign against the removal of the ‘Invisible Tree'. News of this special tree has spread far and wide, with visitors from across the world expressing their support of the campaign." it said.
Ian McCurley, Director of the Woodland Trust, said: "Our congratulations go to the Rostrevor Action Respecting the Environment group who have worked tirelessly to put their tree, and indeed trees in general, firmly on the map."
The winning Tree of the Year in each country will win, subject to eligibility, a £1,000 Tree Care Award aimed at protecting, supporting and celebrating a better future for the tree.