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Welsh tree could be named ‘European Tree of the Year’

Hot on the heels of being crowned the UK’s Tree of the Year at the end of last year, a 480-year old Sweet Chestnut tree in Wrexham’s Acton Park is in the running to be crowned European Tree of the Year – with public votes open from today.

The stately tree is well loved by locals for its history, value and beauty – and is often used as the centrepiece of picnics and local tree parties. It previously secured 17% of the overall votes for the Woodland Trust’s 2023 UK ‘Tree of the Year’ competition, which focused on celebrating ancient and veteran trees in urban spaces across the UK.

The tree itself has an impressive circumference of 6.1m and a height of 24m. It has withstood many challenges during its half-millennium, from post-war plundering of the park for firewood in the forties to dozens of deadly storms, including that of 2021 when many neighbouring trees lost limbs or were toppled completely.

Now, to celebrate the Sweet Chestnut’s continued recognition, Wrexham Borough County Council have planned two public events at Acton Park which put the tree at the heart of the community’s celebrations:

  • Acton Park Dog Show | Sunday 11th February | 11.30am -4pm

With Acton Park being heavily used by local dog walkers, this event – taking place right in front of the Sweet Chestnut tree – will offer eleven different classes for dog owners to sign up to, and a nail-biting final for Best in Show. Stallholders will also be offering refreshments and woodland crafts, and people will be able to vote for the Sweet Chestnut as their European Tree of the Year.

The Acton Park Dog Show is open to all; classes will come with a £1 entry fee with proceeds going to charity.

  • Love your Trees – Valentines Special | Wednesday 14th February | 1-3pm

This self-guided trail around Acton Park will encourage families and couples to visit twelve significant trees around the park – including the Sweet Chestnut – learning facts about the history and biodiversity of each. An accompanying ‘love themed’ worksheet for families will also offer chances to win prizes, and a photobooth at the site of the Sweet Chestnut tree will encourage plenty of shares on social media – and hopefully, even more votes! The Love Your Trees Valentines Event is free to attend and open to all.

The Welsh public is encouraged to vote for the Wrexham Sweet Chestnut and help to crown it 2024’s European Tree of the Year; voting is open now at: https://www.treeoftheyear.org.

Trees are well-known and celebrated in Wrexham; in 2022 Coed Cadw (the Woodland Trust in Wales) awarded a total of £294,845 from its Emergency Tree Fundto Wrexham County Borough Council to support the Wrexham Forest partnership project, which seeks to increase trees and woodland across the county. Through implementing its Tree and Woodland Strategy and engaging partners, businesses, groups and individuals, the project is creating a county-wide, collective commitment to enhancing and protecting trees and woodland.

Wrexham Borough County Council has also made its own public ‘Woodland Pledge’ to help protect trees and woodlands across the county borough – and encourage anyone to join, including those who are part of a local business, community group or organisation.