Cork oak on the A406 North Circular shortlisted for Tree of the Year

A cork oak tree growing at a major junction on the A406 North Circular road near Chingford in north east London has been shortlisted for England’s Tree of the Year by the Woodland Trust.

The North Circular Cork Oak. Photo: Peter Dench

The tree, which is at least 100 years old, is now surrounded by retail warehouses as well as a near constant flow of traffic.

The Woodland Trust said it is “just one of many examples of nature triumphing in adversity” and demonstrates “how trees can thrive even in the most urban of environments”.

It is the last surviving remnant of a plantation of cork oaks planted by the Cork Manufacturing Company over a century ago. Having been listed as one of the 41 great trees of London by Trees for Cities after the great storm of 1987, the tree’s bark has been described as being like “melted toffee, solidified into amazing crags and whorls”.

Commenting on the news, Carlos de Jesus, head of marketing at Amorim & Irmãos, said: “We are delighted with the recognition of this cork oak as one of the most noteworthy trees in England. It is such a great example of the material’s natural resilience and its ability to thrive in such adverse conditions in the UK.”

He added that it was “an almost poetic illustration of cork’s current renaissance”.

The cork oak is one of 10 trees shortlisted in England, alongside finalists from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Several other oaks appear on the shortlist including Liverpool’s Allerton Oak in Calderstones Park, Bristol’s Addison’s Oak, the Isle of Wight’s Dragon Tree, Gloucester’s The Drive Oak, and London’s Fallen Tree.

Other finalists include the Kingley Vale Great Yew in Chichester, the London Plane Tree in Bryanston, Dorset, the Twisted Conifer in Norfolk and the Colchester Castle Sycamore in Essex.

The public are invited to vote for their favourite tree, with voting closing at noon on 27 September. Each champion will go on to represent their country in the 2020 European Tree of the Year contest.

Supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery, each winning tree will receive a £1,000 tree care award, with £500 awards for runners-up.

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