Local schoolkids rooting for Brooke Park’s Knobbly Tree

Mayor Michaela Boyle pictured at Brooke Park with children from local primary schools lending their support for the Knobbly Tree in the N. Ireland Tree of the Year competition.
Mayor Michaela Boyle pictured at Brooke Park with children from local primary schools lending their support for the Knobbly Tree in the N. Ireland Tree of the Year competition.

Local nature lovers are being asked to lend their support to one of Brooke Park’s most famous features – the ‘Knobbly Tree’ – as part of a special competition being run by the Woodland Trust.

The Knobbly Tree, so-called because of its unusual bark, is among six trees shortlisted for the title of N. Ireland’s Tree of the Year 2019. The candidates are all now in with the chance to win a tree care award of £1,000 following a public vote.

The Derry tree, which dates back to the 1850s, is up against the Big Oak, at Hillsborough Castle, the King Tree, in Armagh, Crom Yews, in Newtownbutler, The Invisible Tree, in Rostrevor, and the Oriental Hornbeam, in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens.

The competition aims to highlight and celebrate the country’s remarkable, yet unsung, trees and the candidates are selected annually by an expert panel. The prize can be used to assist in arranging a health check from a specialist, educational materials or a community event in celebration of the tree.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Michaela Boyle, dropped in to the park this week to meet with some local children and give her endorsement to the competition.

She said: “While the competition is a bit of fun, there is a strong message that we should all pay more attention to our local environment and celebrate the natural landmarks that make our green spaces so memorable and so different.

“I was delighted to meet with some of the pupils from our local schools who are backing the campaign and who are ambassadors for the preservation and celebration of our environment. Brooke Park’s trees are part of its heritage and help tell the story of the park down through the decades. Please take the time to vote for the Knobbly Tree today.”

Director of the Woodland Trust in Northern Ireland, Ian McCurley, added: “We asked the public to nominate their best-loved trees - trees with stories and trees at the heart of communities - and we’re now delighted to reveal the final line-up of six.

“The Woodland Trust wants to see better protection for ancient trees and woodland and this competition is just one way of putting our precious trees in the spotlight.”

Just one of the four national winners will be selected to represent the UK in the 2019 European Tree of the Year contest.

You can vote for your favourite tree at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/treeoftheyear until noon on September 27. Everyone who votes will be entered into a prize draw to win £100 Sainsbury’s vouchers.