Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield Huntingdon Elm to get Tree of the Year cash

The Chelsea Road elm, Sheffield Image copyright Paul Selby
Image caption Three hundred people and an open top bus visited the Chelsea Road elm in July to celebrate the tree and look for the White Letter Hairstreak butterfly

A campaign to save a beloved elm tree from the chop has been awarded £500 by the organisers of the Tree of the Year awards.

The 120-year-old Huntingdon Elm, in Nether Edge, Sheffield, came second in the Woodland Trust's competition to crown the nation's favourite tree.

Sheffield City Council has controversially placed it on a list of trees to be chopped down.

The Sycamore Gap in Northumberland was the winning entry.

'Destructive folly'

Tree of the Year is voted for by the public, from a list of ten British trees.

Paul Selby, who nominated the elm, has campaigned against Sheffield City Council's tree-felling programme and said the authority "fails to see" the importance of the city's street trees.

He said the elm was "nationally important".

Mr Selby said: "It's a rare tree, surviving the ravages of Dutch Elm Disease, and is host to the White Letter Hairstreak butterfly species which has declined by 97% in the last 40 years."

"I only hope the national recognition of the Huntingdon elm helps highlight the destructive folly of Sheffield Council's behaviour in felling half its mature street trees."

He said he would now work with the Save Nether Edge Trees group to decide specifically what to do.

Bryan Lodge, the council's cabinet member for environment, has said felling the tree was necessary "as a matter of public safety".

Image copyright John Millar/National Trust
Image caption Number one Tree of the Year, the Sycamore Gap at Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, featured in the 1991 Kevin Costner film, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

The Sycamore Gap at Hadrian's Wall, awarded Tree of the Year with 2,542 votes, will get a £1,000 grant and be entered into the European Tree of the Year competition.

Sheffield Council apologised to outraged residents in November after council contractors, Amey, started to remove eight trees from Rustlings Road at dawn.

Beccy Speight of the Woodland Trust said: "Trees like the Chelsea Road elm have stood for many, many years and each will have a special place in peoples' lives.

"By celebrating them and reminding people of their value, we hope to support and influence those who can ensure they continue to thrive for future generations."

Winning trees

England: Northumberland's famous Sycamore Gap at Hadrian's Wall.

Scotland: Ding Dong copper beech at Prestonpans Primary School, East Lothian.

Northern Ireland: The Holm Oak, Rostrevor Park.

Wales: Brimmon Oak, Newtown, Powys.

Other UK nominations included:

The Bowethorpe Oak in Lincolnshire, which once had parties held in its hollow trunk

The mulberry in the grounds of Wakefield Prison, thought to have inspired the nursery rhyme Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush

The "mother of all" Bramley Apple trees at Southwell in Nottinghamshire, planted more than 200 years ago, which had cuttings transplanted across the UK in the 19th Century

Image copyright PA
Image caption Council contractors began work on felling trees at dawn on Rustlings Road on 17 November

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