AN ELLESMERE tree expert has admitted his ‘pride and delight’ at playing a role in the name of a Wrexham chestnut tree as the best in the country.

The news was announced on BBC’s The One Show on Wednesday that the tree, in Acton Park, was named Tree of the Year (TOTY), much to Rob McBride’s delight.

Rob was asked to film and take pictures of people by the tree by the Woodland Trust for the show and he admitted that he was delighted to document the love that others shared for a tree whose past and future he says reflects the city it resides in.


Rob said: “The Sweet Chestnut has had some tough times, just like Wrexham itself. 

Whitchurch Herald: James and Hadleigh Ellis at the sweet chestnut tree. James and Hadleigh Ellis at the sweet chestnut tree. (Image: Rob McBride.)

“So for this unique old tree to be winning UK TOTY is obviously brilliant news for Wrexham, a city that is on the up in so many ways. 

“What with Wrexham AFC and Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney doing so well and back in the league and the Disney Plus documentary, the town is booming, people are walking tall and proudly around the town and area once again.”

Last Saturday, October 14, Rob was out in the park carrying out his work and said he was able to speak to a variety of people.

He said: “On Saturday, I met many people under and around the great chestnut tree.

“With the chants of the Wrexham crowd at the Cae Ras echoing across the park I interviewed several people as they gathered chestnuts in the autumn sunshine.

Whitchurch Herald: Hadleigh Ellis holds a flag with Lily Davies-Culham. Hadleigh Ellis holds a flag with Lily Davies-Culham. (Image: Rob McBride.)

“Emma was walking her brown labrador Murphy, in the park. She told me about how she uses the park to help her deal with losing her mum and dad and other everyday problems. ‘It’s a peaceful place’ she emphasised.

“A Chinese family gathering chestnuts, told me they take them home to cook. Just ten minutes the mother emphasised to me. 

“Bumping into little Hadleigh James Ellis and his dad James Ellis, we chatted about the chestnut tree as Hadleigh held the Welsh flag along with Lily Davies-Culham (16) from Ellesmere.

“His dad said Hadleigh nestles into a hollow in the tree trunk to escape when rain showers come.”

Whitchurch Herald: Lily Davies-Culham and Sue McBride pose in front of the winning tree. Lily Davies-Culham and Sue McBride pose in front of the winning tree. (Image: Rob McBride.)

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Rob added that Cliff and Carol Jones from Llay, were picking chestnuts too and would visit Acton Park three times a week and pick chestnuts to take home and that they had voted for the tree also. 

He said the win was recognition for Wrexham’s trees, coming 10 years after the area lost one of the most iconic trees on the planet with the 1,400-year-old Pontfadog Oak, which blew down in a storm.  

Rob added that the tree will now go on to what he calls the 'Eurovision for Trees': The European Tree of the Year 2024 contest which runs during all of February.