Photo by Sienna Anderson


Photo by Sienna Anderson

A legendary oak on the Isle of Wight is fighting to be named the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year.

With its huge snaking bough, the Dragon Tree of Brighstone is 1 of 10 shortlisted by the charity for its annual competition celebrating the nation’s special trees.

The monstrous oak is truly a sight to behold. One massive limb forms a bridge over the Buddle Brook below, which used to power the nearby Brighstone mill until it closed in the 1960s. It’s thought the oak took its unique shape after it was blown down in a storm, but, still supported by its existing branches, managed to re-root.

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Local legend however holds that the tree was once a dragon that terrorised locals. A knight, recently returned from the crusades, fought the beast. When he struck the fatal blow, the dragon turned to wood and laid down roots, becoming the tree that forms such an integral part of the local landscape.

The Dragon Tree is facing competition from nine other magnificent specimens including the towering Allerton Oak in Liverpool, and London’s Fallen Tree in Richmond Park, a fantastic example of a phoenix tree that has kept growing after having fallen in a storm.

The Woodland Trust’s annual competition is designed to highlight and celebrate the best trees in the country. Once again it’s being supported by the award winning horticulturalist and TV personality, David Domoney.

A carefully chosen panel of eager and knowledgeable judges spent a day debating the positives of hundreds of trees to find the very best trees that England has to offer. Ten visually stunning trees all with wonderful stories have made the shortlist.

The public are being asked to go online at to choose their favourite, to ultimately find England’s Tree of the Year for 2019.

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The shortlist is:

  • Allerton Oak, Liverpool, Merseyside (Oak)
  • Dragon Tree, Brighstone, Isle of Wight (Oak)
  • Kingley Vale Great Yew, Chichester, West Sussex (Yew)
  • Addison’s Oak, Bristol (Oak)
  • Fallen Tree, London (Oak)
  • London Plane, Bryanston, Dorset (London Plane)
  • Twisted, Thetford, Norfolk (Conifer)
  • North Circular Cork Oak, London (Oak)
  • The Colchester Castle Sycamore, Colchester, Essex (Sycamore)
  • The Drive Oak, Gloucester, Gloucestershire (Oak)

David Domoney said:

“The Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year celebrates the marvel and beauty of trees in our country. They are such an important part of our cities and countryside, not only for their beauty, but also for the health benefits they offer to all living creatures. Choosing the one tree that stands out from the rest is a hard decision, take a look for yourself. Vote for your favourite on the Woodland Trust’s website to crown England’s Tree of the Year for 2019.”

The website is open for entries from 09:0 today (9th September). Voting closes at noon on 27th September.

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By voting for your tree of the year, you will also be entered into the Tree of the Year prize draw – the winner will receive a £100 voucher thanks to Sainsbury’s, for you to use in any of their stores or online.

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