Bristol Tree of the Year 2018 | Full Candidate Details | Voting Progress


Stoke Lodge Lucombe OakVotes : 584

Lucombe oak  Quercus x hispanica 'Lucombeana'  Find it on BristolTrees

Submitted by We Love Stoke Lodge

We are an informal community group of 864 local residents. With so many rare, notable, veteran trees at Stoke Lodge it was very hard for the community to choose just one to nominate. We have decided to nominate the Lucome Oak
The Lucombe Oak is a cross between a Turkey Oak and a Cork Oak. It was first raised by an Exeter nurseryman, William Lucombe, in 1762. It is unusual in the fact that it keeps its leaves over winter. The story goes that William Lucombe was so attached to his special oak that he felled the original specimen to provide wood for his own coffin and kept the boards under his bed until he died. However, he lived an exceptionally long life, dying at the age of 102 years, by which time the planks had decayed in the Devon damp. To quote an article from Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, this showed ‘that Lucombe knew more about growing trees than preserving them'. On his death timber from one of his early propagations was used to make his coffin instead.
Notwithstanding the tree’s fascinating history, so many of our community hold treasured memories of this tree dating back over four generations. At a recent community picnic those in their nineties sat alongside primary school children of today talking about the best picnics they have had under our beloved tree and sharing tips on how to climb it wonderful branches. This tree is the meeting point for many sports and well-being groups. Its branches shade baby groups, yoga classes, families and friends from the sun (and the rain) every day – as it has done for hundreds of years ! This tree is a not just located in the centre of our community, it is part of it.

Luccombe oak 3

by WLSL on 04 Sep 2018

Brislington Brook Plane TreeVotes : 399

London Plane  Platanus x acerifolia  Find it on BristolTrees

Submitted by Friends of Brislington Brook

The giant London plane tree that dominates an area of Brislington's Nightingale Valley is, together with the nearby packhorse bridge, one of the features that help define this unexpected green haven. Its trunk was once an open hollow, tempting the mischievous to light fires within it so a few years ago a local action group walled it up. This has given rise to a legend that a witch is entombed within. Many generations of Brislingtonians have picnicked in its shade, swung across the brook from ropes attached to its boughs or caught tiddlers beneath it. It has a symbolic significance: It's tall, it's strong, it's seen adversity, it endures.

In Autumn

by FoBB on 04 Sep 2018

Stokes Park Horse ChestnutVotes : 77

Horse Chestnut  Aesculus hippocastanum  Find it on BristolTrees

Submitted by Friends of Stoke Park

This tree is one of the oldest trees in Hermitage Woods. Whenever we hold an event as Friends of Stoke Park and pass by the tree the children on the event are instantly attracted to climb the tree. The tree welcomes you in to Hermitage Wood which is a beautiful piece of woodland filled with swathes of wild garlic and bluebells in the spring – it's one of the few inner city woodlands where you can visit such ancient woodland. We held a walk to choose our favourite 3 trees in the park and this tree made the shortlist. We then ran a poll on Facebook for Friends of Stoke Park and park users to chose their favourite tree. One park user compared the tree to the 'womping willow' in Harry Potter, it has a magical feel. Planted early 19th century it has the bleeding canker disease an air bourne bacterial infection that eats away at the new wood and it has also fallen victim to the non native chestnut leaf miner moth.
Richard Bland's notes: Stoke Park, Hermitage Wood. There are three veteran Horse Chestnuts in hermitage wood, the largest trees there. This has a girth of 550cm and is on the eastern edge of the wood. Likely to have been planted for aesthetic reasons, for the woods were managed for wood and timber. It is probably 300 years old.

The Stoke Park Horse Chestnut 1

by FoSP on 04 Sep 2018

Bishops Knoll Sessile OakVotes : 59

Sessile Oak  Quercus petraea  Find it on BristolTrees

Submitted by The Woodland Trust

This remarkable oak tree is one of the biggest in Bristol, yet it is the least well known. The jaw-dropping Sessile oak mirrors every child-like image of an ancient oak tree, but its history is as mysterious as the gigantic branches and hollows that tower over its huge main trunk. It now sits in Bishops Knoll - a small Woodland Trust wood in a quiet corner of Stoke Park, Bristol. But the wood was once a former medieval deer park gifted by Henry VIII, and later became the grounds and gardens of a large 19th Century estate house called The Knoll, which also used as a hospital for First World War soldiers returning from the trenches. Its age is a mystery as estimates vary from 300-900 years old, and its strong multi-stemmed thick branches still grow tremendously, whereas most other ancient oaks of its size have long lost their limbs. Is it a veteran pollard on the most fertile soil? Or an old bundle planting of a handful of oak saplings now grown intertwined? Or just an ancient herculean colossus?

Tree of the year 2018 entrant

by Woodland Trust - JM on 30 May 2018

The Cotham Walrus TreeVotes : 45

Common holly  Ilex aquifolium  Find it on BristolTrees

Submitted by Walrustrinianism (The Walrus Tree Religion)

The Walrus tree is located in the boundary wall of 31 Cotham Road, BS6 6DW. A place of worship for 'Walrustrinians' a small group of children (and one adult) from a local School. It is a place of calm for all who visit no matter what their religion. It is also unique because it looks like a walrus. The group have created a ‘religion’ around the unique tree on their daily walk to and from school. The religion basically being a pact to be good to themselves and others, they stop twice a day to spend a moment at the tree every school day.
It may not be the oldest tree, the wildest, or the largest tree in Bristol; but it is one that has captured the imagination of a group of otherwise urban, electronically plugged in children, and given them a way to ‘commune with nature twice a day’. It is the centre of stories, jokes and moments of philosophical contemplation. What more can a tree do, other than that – and look like a walrus.

The Walrus Tree 1

by SLeigh on 04 Jun 2018

The Seven SistersVotes : 35

Austrian Pine  Pinus nigra var. nigra  Find it on BristolTrees

Submitted by The Bristol Naturalists' Society

Our choice is not one tree but a formation of trees: The Seven Sisters were planted in 1871, nine years after the foundation of the Bristol Naturalists’ Society in 1862 and ten years after The Downs Act (1861). The trees very quickly became an iconic landmark in the life of Bristolians and the name remained unchanged even after one tree was lost in 1890. For some reason, the Seven Sisters caught the imagination of local citizens and if they were speaking in the language of today, the landmark would be designated as ‘cool’. It still is even though only three trees remain.
Those whose families originate from Bristol (and who were born here themselves) recall their stories, examples of which are as follows:
I remember my grandmother telling me how they would meet there to go walking, in fact it was a favoured meeting point for groups to do all sorts of things. It was a more innocent age when leisure time was used wisely; working hours had begun to ease and activities were largely self-created. Nature walks were popular in those days; they used to hold open-air meetings as well.
The Seven Sisters are part of my family history. I heard frequent references to the site as I was growing up prompting me to eventually ask where the Seven Sisters were located, which drew further rafts of joyous recounting of fun and games linked in some way to the site. My mother used to play hockey on a pitch by the Seven Sisters. She played on the left wing in a mixed team before the war, which is quite surprising really but unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the team. I ought to research it. She played on Weston Sands as well.
A group had met up there on a Sunday but got distracted by activities at Speakers’ Corner. Apparently Sir Stafford Cripps was speaking. He was a Bristol MP (and later Chancellor Of The Exchequer) but unfortunately one of the party was spotted by their employer and subsequently, i.e., the next day, received a note of dismissal on the grounds that they were thought to be, ‘More suited to outdoor activities’. There were no such things as Employment Tribunals in those days.
The trees draw you in to their protective circle; it’s a great spot for contemplative thought. The history they have witnessed puts things into perspective. They’ve seen everything from Bristol Trams and George White’s Box Kites to the Britannia and Concorde; they’ve seen airships and barrage balloons hot air balloons and children’s balloons; plus Heinkels, Dorniers, Spitfires and Hurricanes not mention hurricane force winds, Red Kites and Japanese Kites ...and they are still standing - unlike so many of our other landmarks.
The Downs have never been quite the same since the loss of the majestic elms but the fragrance of the limes lifts your spirits, the magnificence of the horse chestnuts lifts your heart and the Seven Sisters strengthen your resolve. They speak of calmness, resistance and survival.
In summary, we have chosen the Seven Sisters because the formation is a long-standing, well-loved, iconic Bristol landmark. The lives of Bristolians of all shapes, sizes, ages and classes have played out under, around and above the branches of this iconic formation of Black Pines on a site of major importance to the City and County of Bristol, viz, the Bristol Downs.

The 'Seven' Sisters

by MCD Ashdown on 07 Mar 2017

Downs HawthornVotes : 17

Hawthorn, common  Crataegus monogyna  Find it on BristolTrees

Submitted by The Friends of the Downs

Situated on the Downs close to Bakers Path and Ladies Mile, this magnificent tree is one of the last of the veteran hawthorns for which the Downs was famous in 1900. People came from miles around to see and smell the thorns when they were in bloom. Most of these fine trees have become the centres of the clumps of small trees and scrub that are now a distinctive feature of the Downs. They have become infested with Ivy, Clematis, Dog Rose, and Bramble and most have died. A girth of 250 cm for a normal tree would not indicate old age, but Hawthorns grow far more slowly than normal trees, and a growth rate of 1 cm a year when young will slow with age, so that a girth of 250 cm suggests an age of at least 250 years. This thorn is distinctive in having a single bole, which rapidly splits into six major trunks. Many of the other veterans thorns have become multi-trunked with age which makes accurate age assessment impossible. In bloom this tree remains magnificent.

The Downs Hawthorn

by R Bland on 26 Aug 2018

Pen Park WellingtoniaVotes : 16

Wellingtonia  Sequoiadendron giganteum  Find it on BristolTrees

Submitted by Eluka

This tree is outside my home and is one of the biggest trees this area. It looks beautiful, strong and old. The tree is so tall it towers above the houses. History unknown.

The tree in my garden

by LBaruwa on 04 Sep 2018

Eagle House Holm OakVotes : 13

Holm Oak  Quercus ilex  Find it on BristolTrees

Submitted by Jim Smith

This is one of the few remaining large trees from the old Filwood area, pre-development. If it was removed, it would be a great loss to the community, apart from its environmental usefulness! It has a hollow cavity, at the back, out of sight. It has extensive charring of the heartwood, due to fire, or fires, that have been ignited by `persons unknown`, inside the cavity!
The tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order - TPO-360-T1

Eagle House Youth Club Holm Oak

by J Smith on 26 Aug 2018

Portwall Coppiced London PlaneVotes : 12

London Plane  Platanus x acerifolia  Find it on BristolTrees

Submitted by Vassili Papastavrou

The tree is in the new development site around Temple Meads. It is bordered on one side by Portwall Lane East and on the other by Temple Gate which turns into Redcliffe Mead Lane. This lovely plane was felled in 2011 but has since recovered as a coppice and is doing well. Who knows why it was felled? Look at it now! The only coppiced plane in Bristol. It's fighting back and bigger than most new trees of the same age. Its CAVAT value is £70K (before it was chopped down). What is the CAVAT value of a coppiced plane?
Addendum: we have just been informed by a BCC tree officer that the tree was felled because it had developed a split in the codominant stems and was likely to fall on the adjacent highway. The tree still exists in its form prior to felling (sometime before 2012) on the Bristol City Council site At the time of it being submitted for BTOY there was no information available as to why it had been felled.

The Portwall Coppiced Plane

by VP on 16 Aug 2018

St Andrews Park Lombardy PoplarVotes : 12

Lombardy Poplar  Populus nigra 'Plantierensis'  Find it on BristolTrees

Submitted by Norwegian in Bristol

This tree is a gem for children. A brilliant example of a dead tree, yet with lots of meaning to wildlife and community, and maybe especially to children in the park. This shows how leaving a dead and fallen tree in the right place can create and stimulate exploration and play often with other children and also new friendships. It is mystical, a challenge to climb for the little ones, but at the same time encourages the natural ability for movements in children in relation to nature. Tactile learning is high in this environment which inspires children to touch, explore and investigate a natural phenomenon in a park setting where more “constructed” play grounds are main stream.
This year our group, NIB, celebrated the Norwegian Constitution Day with a picnic in the park on the 17th May, some live in the area others don’t, and the children of course had to climb, explore and be kings and queens of the castle of this magnificent ‘dead’ tree! We are so grateful that these opportunities with dead trees are around and would like to nominate this particular dead tree to Bristol Tree of the Year 2018.
Sadly claimed by the Storm Doris Weather Bomb on Thursday, 23 February 2017 which spit the trunk down the middle exposing extensive internal decay. This was an impressively large tree and is one of David Bland's Veteran trees (RB-38). This tree is not a true Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra 'Italica') but Populus nigra 'Plantierensis' which is still (mistakenly) referred to as the 'Lombardy' Poplar! The girth of the tree, measured at 1.5 metres above the ground, on January 10th 2012, was 517 cm. There is a rule of thumb that can be applied to several trees like oak, that the age of the tree can be approximately determined by dividing the girth (in cm.) at 1.5 m. above the ground, by 2.5. This would give this Black poplar hybrid an age of 207 years. However, the rule does not apply to Black poplar hybrids or Sequoias which have a much faster growth rate. So although it had been thought this tree might have been already growing on the farmland before the park was constructed, it now seems likely that it is no older than the park. This view is supported by the fact that Black Poplars were commonly planted in parks in Victorian times.

Children celebrating the Norwegian Constitution Day on the 17th May

by Ingrid Jahren Scudder on 10 Jun 2018