6 iconic trees to visit in the UK

The UK recently lost one of its most iconic trees in the Sycamore Gap at Hadrian’s Wall, with the 50-foot staple of Northumberland National Park being cut down overnight in an act of vandalism that authorities described as deliberate.

At CaravanTimes, we are choosing to look at the positive side. Although we have lost one of the country’s most famous trees, we’re lucky in that there are thousands of others to visit.

With the help of the experts at StressFreeCarRental.com, we’ve compiled a list of six UK trees that should definitely be on your radar for your next caravan or motorhome staycation.

John Charnock, CEO of StressFreeCarRental.com, commented: “As well as being stunning to look at, trees are a wildlife sanctuary and great for mental wellbeing, so consider taking a trip to enjoy them in their full glory this autumn.”

So, from Argyll’s Wishing Tree to the Horror Tree of Suffolk, here are some of the best Britain has to offer.

Major Oak, Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire

The second most famous resident of Sherwood Forest, following Robin Hood himself, Major Oak is one of Britain’s oldest trees. 

Although nobody knows its true age, it’s estimated to have been standing for between 800 and 1,100 years. That means it’s outlived the Vikings, the birth and death of Shakespeare, two world wars and more than 50 monarchs.

The Horror Tree, Stowlangtoft, Suffolk

There are no prizes for guessing the Horror Tree is rather unsightly. With its wonky eyes, crooked teeth and twisted snout, the 70-ft beech is not for the faint of heart.

The tree is known for its terrifying face, creepily reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s Scream, although others say the beech tree is very similar to the Whomping Willow in Harry Potter. 

So, If you’re planning a caravan or motorhome holiday over the Halloween period, this is definitely a spot that should be considered. Trees don’t often come as unsettling as this one.

The Ankerwycke Yew, Berkshire

Thought to be 2,500 years old, this yew is said to be the oldest tree in England and is steeped in history. Impressively, it is documented to be the tree where Henry VIII proposed to Anne Boleyn, so it’s a historical and romantic spot… despite the tragic fate of Boleyn.

In addition to the fantastic tree, which boasts wonderful views of the Berkshire countryside, visitors will also be able to wander through the ruins of Ankerwycke Priory. First erected in 1160, the site was home to Benedictine nuns for hundreds of years, until being finally dissolved in 1550.

Although the priory has been repaired several times, it has been in decline since the 1800s and only a small number of walls remain to be seen today.

Boscobel House English Oak, Stafford

King Charles II famously refuged in The Royal Oak Tree in Boscobel House, following the 1651 English Civil War battle to evade capture. 

The tree standing today isn’t the original, which is known to have been destroyed by tourists, but a 200 to 300-year-old descendent of the iconic Royal Oak – aptly named ‘Son of Royal Oak’. It is protected by iron railings, installed back in 1817 due to the prestige and significance of the tree. 

Birnam Oak, Dunkeld, Perth and Kinross

Celebrated in the play Macbeth, this ancient tree is a survivor of Shakespeare’s Birnam Wood. Located just outside the Perthshire village, it serves as a final reminder of the once bustling forest, which spanned the banks and hillsides of the River Tay.

Birnam Oak and its neighbour, the Birnam Sycamore, have a medieval feel. The lower branches of the oak rest on the ground, with the first three metres of its trunk being hollow. The sycamore is thought to be more than 300 years old and boasts especially impressive buttress roots.

Ardmaddy Wishing Tree, Argyll

Situated half a mile south of Ardmaddy Castle, the Wishing Tree has long been associated with rituals and magic. The nearly dead fallen hawthorn has hundreds of coins embedded in its bark.

This tree has an extensive history of being considered sacred, with thousands of visitors having surrendered coins in exchange for the chance to make wishes. Now, the Wishing Tree is fenced off to protect it from damage.

Photo credit: Luke Galloway / Unsplash