A walnut tree on the outskirts of Perth has been revealed as the Scottish contender in the Woodland Trust’s annual Tree of the Year competition.
The ancient tree, estimated to be between 250 to 300 years old, is located in a parking lot on the A9 at Inveralmond, opposite an M&S Foodhall.
The Woodland Trust described sitting under it as an “oasis of calm amongst the bustle” of urban life.
George Anderson of Woodland Trust Scotland said: “This tree will be known to both Perth residents and people who travel north to the Highlands on the A9. It stands opposite an M&S Foodhall in a busy car park.
“It is an exceptionally attractive tree offering an oasis of calm amongst the bustle. We highly recommend stepping under its canopy for a bit of time out if you are passing.
“We estimate it is between 250 and 300 years old so it has seen some changes to the area in its time. It exemplifies the importance of trees in urban areas.”
Other contenders include an oak that survived a wartime bomb, the tree that shaded Queen Elizabeth I on summer picnics and one of the UK’s most famous elms.
This year’s contest shines a spotlight on ancient trees in urban locations, with every shortlisted specimen able to be visited free of charge by the public.
“Ancient trees in towns and cities are vital for the health of nature, people and planet,” said Naomi Tilley, lead campaigner at the Woodland Trust.
“They give thousands of urban wildlife species essential life support, boost the UK’s biodiversity and bring countless health and wellbeing benefits to communities.
“But most ancient trees aren’t protected by law, and those in urban areas are particularly vulnerable, like one of this year’s nominees – which narrowly escaped being cut down by Sheffield City Council in 2017.”
The Woodland Trust’s panel of tree experts shortlisted 12 fascinating urban contenders from across the UK for Tree of the Year 2023 – with one additional tree voted for by the public.
“Trees like those in the shortlist are remarkable and deserve celebration – and protection,” Tilley added. “YouGov polling shows 83% of people in Great Britain support giving ancient trees legally protected heritage status.
“What’s more, 85% of people think national government and its agencies should have responsibility for protecting them. The stats show just how much these trees mean to people.”
Each shortlisted tree has a story to tell and is loved by locals, as well as providing vital habitat for wildlife, helping to reduce flooding, screen out noise, provide shade, filter air pollution, increase property values and bring cultural capital to our streets and parks.
Voting for the 2023 Tree of the Year contest is open until October 15 via the Trust’s website, with the winner announced on October 19.
The winner will represent the UK in the European Tree of the Year competition.