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Waverley Abbey Yew in Surrey Crowned Tree Of The Year 2022

Published on: 12 Nov, 2022
Updated on: 14 Nov, 2022

The spectacular Waverley Abbey Yew Tree has been voted the Tree of the Year 2022. Photo: Ancient Tree Inventory

By Emily Inge

The spectacular Waverley Abbey Yew, whose roots grow out of Britain’s first Cistercian monastery, has been crowned Tree of the Year in the Woodland Trust’s 2022 competition. Waverley Abbey is two miles south-east of Farnham.

The winning yew is thought to be over 500 years old and will now go on to represent the UK in the European Tree of the Year contest.

The Waverley Abbey Yew won with an impressive 16 per cent of the vote. In second place was The Portal Tree Rowan in Midlothian which took 11 per cent of the vote. Third place went to Derbyshire’s Layering Horse Chestnut, with 10 per cent of the votes.

Now in its eighth year, the Tree of the Year – Woodland Trust contest celebrates the nation’s favourite and most beautiful trees, the role they play in fighting climate change and their importance to nature, our history and heritage.

The Waverley Abbey Yew, Woodland Trust Tree of the year 2022.

The Woodland Trust’s Tom Reed said: “The way the tree is rooted within the ruins of the abbey is a great symbol of the fact that our ancient trees are intertwined with other aspects of our cultural heritage.

“We’re calling for greater protection for these living legends, who have witnessed important moments in our history, so they are cared for in the same way as our historic buildings.”

Geoff Monck, a certified veteran tree specialist from Treecosystems Ltd consultancy in Guildford, has spent years researching and caring for Guildford’s ancient yew trees at Newlands Corner. He told The Dragon: “The Waverley Abbey Yew is an iconic local tree and it’s great to see that acknowledged with this award. We are very lucky in Surrey that we have a wealth of ancient yews, with many being found in relict ancient yew wood-pasture populations on the North Downs.

“Unfortunately these iconic trees are under threat from yew decline, a complex syndrome thought to be caused by human nitrate pollution. The research project I’m leading on aims to better understand the factors driving yew decline and to work out what treatments we can use to reverse it and save these iconic trees.”

You can find out more about Guildford’s unique ancient yew trees and the work being done to save them, in this podcast from New Scientist.

You can also add a tree to the Woodland Trust’s ancient tree inventory here. Add basic information on the tree you think is very old such as girth size, species and location and the tree will be visited and verified by one of Woodland Trust’s experts.

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