The oak tree has long been a favourite with the English. So much so that when the Woodland Trust first began its search for Britain’s favourite tree, Quercus took the majority of places in the top 10 back in 2014. But last year, while oaks weren’t forgotten, a couple of Yorkshire trees were nominated.
The Mulberry Bush, at HMP Wakefield, West Yorkshire, is thought to be the original of the nursery rhyme, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush. It’s claimed that women prisoners used to dance around the tree with their children, and invented the rhyme to keep the youngsters amused.
The original tree, looking slightly past its best, is still there.
In South Yorkshire, Sheffield’s Chelsea Road elm – one of a dying breed across the country – was also nominated. Around 60m elm trees have been killed by Dutch elm disease since the 1920s.
But my choice would be the Umbrella Tree, at Levens Hall, Cumbria, a shapely yew which dates back to late 1690s when the topiary garden was first laid out. The tree is 30ft high and is clipped annually.
And then, of course, there’s the ‘Sycamore Gap’ Tree, on Hadrian’s Wall, in Northumberland, one of the most photographed trees in the UK. Growing in a dramatic dip, it is famous for being in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves in 1991.