Measuring 40 metres tall – the same height as 10 London double-decker buses stacked on top of each other – the conifer is Cragside’s fifth champion tree.
In total, the conservation charity cares for 200 champion trees across England, Wales and Northern Ireland including the UK’s overall champion tree, the Pendunculate (English or Common Oak), measuring 40.4m tall which can be seen at Stourhead in Wiltshire.
Other significant sites include Nymans in West Sussex which is home for 34 champion trees, including the Magnolia ‘Michael Rosse’, 21 at Bodnant in North Wales, including the 32 metre weeping Giant Sequoia, 11 at Rowallane in Northern Ireland and three champions at Trengwainton and one at Trelissick in the south-west, which both boast more modest, exotic champion trees.
Christopher Clues, Tree and Woodland Manager at Cragside, said: “We’re thrilled that Cragside is home to the tallest native conifer in the UK; it is a truly wonderful specimen.
“This Scots pine is not like other commercially grown Scots pine trees, which are usually grown and thinned out after 30 years; this one has been left to its own devices and has a deep bushy crown to it.
“I’ve been climbing and measuring trees at Cragside for 10 years and scaling this tree is both challenging and rewarding. With over seven million trees on the estate, including Noble and Douglas Firs, it’s really satisfying knowing that I’ve climbed one of the tallest ever recorded.”
The wooded landscape at Cragside was originally planted under the direction of the Victorian inventor owners, Lord and Lady Armstrong. Consisting of seven million trees and shrubs, it sprawls across this dramatic landscape creating a fantasy woodland garden.
This woodland is now the backbone of the landscape, compiled of native and exotic conifers, including the beautiful blue-green Scots pine, as well as dark green yews, Douglas firs and wellingtonias, securing its Grade I listed status as a landscape garden.
Brian Muelaner, Ancient Tree Adviser for the National Trust, commented: “This is a surprising result as you’d think the tallest Scots pine in the UK would be found in Scotland, but then Cragside is not that far from Scotland really.
“This exciting new record adds to the 200 champion trees already found on Trust land. It’s through the National Trust’s unique ownership that we can look to protect each of these trees, which are all special with their own stories to be told.”