Our top trees
We look after thousands of trees in gardens, parks, woods and countryside so it’s not surprising that some are ‘Champion Trees’ – the tallest or thickest of their particular species – as recorded by the Tree Register of the British Isles. We also care for many ‘Notable Trees’ with connections to historical events and famous people. Some of our trees have even had a star turn on the silver screen.
Best for climbing
The nootka cypress at Wallington comes top of the charts in our list of great trees for climbing thanks to its trunk height and branches. The 'phoenixing oak’ at Dinefwr also makes a good climbing tree for beginners with a branch that reaches the ground for a starting point.
The beech avenue at Kingston Lacy is the longest tree avenue we look after. It stretches for 2¼ miles and originally had 731 trees, just over 500 of which are still standing. Although not quite as long, the double lime avenue at Clumber Park is equally impressive. With 1296 trees, it's the largest lime tree avenue in Europe.
Some of the trees in our care play a poignant role. Edmund Blyth created Whipsnade Tree Cathedral in memory of three friends, two of whom died during the First World War. The beech woods of Sharpenhoe Clappers was left to the National Trust by W.A. Robertson in memory of his brothers who also died in the conflict.
The tree at Sycamore Gap alongside Hadrian's Wall is iconic in its own right but also had a starring role in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. We also look after the apple tree at Woolsthorpe Manor that inspired Isaac Newton’s thoughts on gravity and the original Irish Yew at Florence Court.
The 2,500-year-old Ankerwycke Yew near Runnymede is thought to be the oldest tree in our care and may have witnessed the events around the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215. The Old Man of Calke at Calke Abbey is our oldest oak and is thought to be 1,200 years old.
Some of the nation’s loftiest trees can be found at places we look after including England’s tallest grand fir which stands at 58m high in Skelghyll Wood near Ambleside in the Lake District. We also care for some of the tallest trees in the UK for their species:
Stourhead – English oak (40m)
Cragside – Scots pine (40m)
Killerton – tulip tree (37.5m)
Prior Park Landscape Garden – Norway maple (36m)
The yew at Shugborough has the widest crown circumference (the spread of its branches) of any tree in Britain at 175m. Many of the trees we look after also have the greatest ‘girth’ (the distance around the trunk) in the UK for their species:
Florence Court – common lime (1078cm)
Hughenden – horse-chestnut (733cm)
Coniston – common alder (647cm)
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden – wild cherry (581cm)
Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve – buckthorn (160cm).