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Wales Tree of the Year: Margam Abbey's Chapter House beech wins

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image copyrightWoodland Trust
image captionThe winning tree has provided the backdrop for TV productions including the BBC's Dr Who and Netflix's Sex Education

A tree which sits amid the ruins of one of Wales' first Cistercian abbeys has been crowned Wales Tree of the Year.

The "Chapter House tree" at Margam Abbey, a 12th Century monastery in Margam Park, Port Talbot, won an online vote by the Woodland Trust in Wales.

The fern-leaved beech has provided the backdrop for TV productions including the BBC's Dr Who and Songs of Praise, and Netflix's Sex Education.

The tree has won a £1,000 prize which will be spent on its upkeep.

Its name refers to the 12-sided Chapter House of the monastery where the tree is located.

image copyrightWoodland Trust

The canopy has provided shelter to visitors for many years, according to the Woodland Trust - from Victorian tea parties to a favourite summer picnic spot for present day visitors.

The man who nominated it for the award said the Chapter House tree had been a "reliable constant" in his life.

"Standing under its sweeping canopy... feels like you're in a secret and magically historic space - nature's version of a 'cwtch'," said David Elward.

"It's one of my favourite places to photograph."

image copyrightWoodland Trust

The prize has been funded by the People's Postcode Lottery and can be spent on work to improve its health, signage or to hold a public celebration.

"The stories behind this year's winners demonstrate just how much people love trees, and the time and energy they are prepared to invest in protecting them," according to Will Humpington, of the lottery.

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The tree beat off competition from five finalists, including the Monmouth Catalpa Tree and the Chirk Castle Sweet Chestnut.

Trees of the year have also been announced in England and Scotland and an overall UK winner will be chosen later this year.

The UK winner will be entered into the European tree of the year competition.

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