Castlewellan’s Giant Redwood is Northern Ireland Tree of the Year
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is delighted that the Giant Redwood in Castlewellan Forest Park has been crowned the Regional Winner of the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year competition 2018.
Organised by the Woodland Trust, the competition was open to any living tree in the United Kingdom–with Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales each having its own contest.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairman, Councillor Mark Murnin said, “I am delighted that the Castlewellan Giant Redwood has been named the Woodland Trust’s regional winner.
“This is a fantastic achievement and highlights the significance of the Giant Redwood, which is one of an amazing collection of significant trees in the Arboretum in Castlewellan Forest Park. This tree is much loved by local families and by the visitors from around the world who have come to view it. If you haven’t seen it, I would encourage you to visit and see for yourself.”
The four country winners, which were decided by a public vote, were revealed on BBC’s The One Show on Wednesday 17 October.
The Giant Redwood has an interesting history, dating back to when Castlewellan Castle was built in the 1850s. The tree’s history is linked to the intrepid plant hunters and explorers of the time, who risked their lives to bring home exotic plants from thousands of miles away. This tree comes from the very first Giant Sequoia seeds brought back to England from California in 1853.
It was the 3rd Earl Annesley who obtained ten small saplings from England in 1856 and planted some of them in the Walled Garden, which was their family home at the time. How the tree grew with 19 trunks is still a bit of a mystery, but there is no doubt it is a remarkable tree.
For the past two years the Council has been working with the Forest Service on plans to restore the Walled Garden, along with improvements in the Grange, as part of a wider plan. Receiving the coveted Regional Winner title will help to raise the profile of the Walled Garden and the importance of the park’s tree collection.
As announced on The One Show, just one of the four country winners will represent the UK in February’s European contest – and it’s up to the public to choose.