A unique record of Notable and Ancient Trees in Britain and Ireland

Notable Tree Collections in Britain, Ireland and the islands

Here you will find a compilation of gardens and arboreta where you will discover most of the publicly accessible champion trees. Further details about these special trees can be found on the Members Champion Tree Database by searching by the property name. A full list of notable trees for each site, recorded for the Tree Register, may be acquired by Members on request to the Registrar.

Some indication is given if sites are known to open to the public but as arrangements can alter from year to year these are not intended to be comprehensive. The Good Gardens Guide, the NGS's 'Yellow Book' and Hudson's Historic Houses and Gardens provide annual details. Many of the Champion Trees in open gardens will not be and are often hidden in out of the way places.

A few gardens have made a particular feature of their Champion Trees: at Wisley Gardens they are specially labelled, and Westonbirt Arboretum floodlights theirs towards Christmas.

At least 75% of Champion Trees are either in the public domain or accessible on open days; the others will be on private property and the owners permission must be gained in order to see them.

A two-star ** grading system has been used to indicate the accessible parks and gardens which will most interest people who are hoping to see a variety of large and rare trees.

England

Scotland

Champion conifers have become increasingly concentrated in the Highlands, whose cool humid climate allows them to thrive for longest. Some prefer the east's cold dry winters, while others need the mild, wet conditions of the west coast. Many of these Champions are in private estates where the use of non-native conifers for forestry was pioneered in the 18th and 19th centuries; they should prove long-lived, though few have been revisited in recent years.

Scotland

Ireland

Ireland's Champion Trees are concentrated, even more than Scotland's, within the demesnes of big houses; only in recent years have more of these trees become accessible to the public thanks to open days and the conversion of old mansions into hotels. Particularly in the west, the well-timbered great estates contrast dramatically with often treeless farmland and mountains; trees have acquired a political dimension, being associated with or even come to symbolise past oppression, so that often the will has been lacking to plant or protect trees. Ireland has the lowest proportion of semi-natural woodland of any European country; in only a few mountains did interests such as iron-smelting ensure the preservation of managed woodlands. Most of the country's remaining 'holy trees' are thorn bushes, and there is evidence that Ireland's ancient yews were destroyed comparatively recently; only a few big examples survive in private parks. Only in parts of the south-east is there a tradition of preserving big field and hedge trees.
The climate is predominantly mild and humid: conifers thrive throughout, and very tender trees can be grown all around the coasts.
The south and east coasts are also quite sunny, to the benefit of heat-loving trees. Most places are within sight of a mountain, but as these stand singly or in short ranges, they tend not to provide pockets of deep shelter of the kind which have grown the many tall trees of Highland Scotland and the Welsh Marches. Rich and well-watered limestone soils predominate, particularly in the midlands, and these superb growing conditions help to explain the high proportion of the Champions of common trees which have been discovered in Ireland's old parks. These parks are most numerous in the more 'civilised' Leinster, while the especially mild conditions of Cork and Kerry attracted many gentleman gardeners.

A high proportion of the trees featured here were first noted during the course of the Tree Register of Ireland project in 1999-2000; many more presumably await discovery.

Ireland

Wales

Most of the finest trees are in the populous south-east, and along the Marches where the shelter of the mountains combines with rich soils derived from the Old Red Sandstone to grow huge oaks, an abundance of ancient churchyard Yews, and some of Britain's tallest trees. Conifers also thrive in the lea of Snowdonia in the north. The rural west is mild but often exposed to Atlantic gales; some notable trees here probably await discovery.

Wales
Islands