Mighty 'Invisible' oak crowned Northern Ireland finest thanks to 950 votes
A tree in County Down has been crowned Northern Ireland's Tree of the Year in a UK-wide contest organised by the Woodland Trust.
The impressive Sessile Oak, known as the Invisible Tree - located at the entrance to one of the island of Ireland's last remaining ancient woodlands, Rostrevor Oakwood - secured 950 votes from the public.
Other Northern Ireland finalists included English Yew at Crom Estate, Newtownbutler, Fermanagh; the Nobbly Tree at Brooke Park, Londonderry; the Big Oak at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down; the King Tree, Armagh; and Botanic Gardens' Oriental Hornbeam in Belfast.
Rostrevor Action Respecting the Environment (RARE) was behind the County Down winner, with its nomination entry saying: "For generations the tree has greeted visitors to this magnificent woodland and provided a habitat for hundreds of species, including the welcome return of the red squirrel."
The group said when the Invisible Tree came under threat, it inspired a campaign preventing its removal: "News of this special tree has spread far and wide, with visitors from across the world expressing their support of the campaign."
Ian McCurley, Woodland Trust director, said: "Thanks to the public vote, our Northern Ireland winner is Rostrevor's Invisible Tree. Our congratulations go to the Rostrevor Action Respecting the Environment group who have worked tirelessly to put their tree firmly on the map."