St Andrews apricot tree is absolutely champion

Some of those who attended the launch of the Champion Tree Trail
Some of those who attended the launch of the Champion Tree Trail
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Where would you be able to see the largest apricot tree in country? Well you may be surprised to learn it is right here in St Andrews at the award-winning Botanic Garden.

One of Fife’s top visitor attractions, the garden has now launched its own Champion Tree Trail during a special ceremony attended by staff, Friends of the Botanic Garden, volunteers and supporters.

Champion trees are the tallest, stoutest, oldest or rarest of their kind in Britain. The Tree Register of the British Isles is a valuable national archive of over 150,000 trees, continually added to and updated.

The apricot tree, the Botanic Garden’s claim to fame, is located in the car park, while 11 other champion trees can be found across the 18.5 acre facility which attracts thousands of visitors every year.

The launch of the new trail was celebrated in the Glass Class and was followed by a walk around the garden using the visitor guidebooks, which are available to borrow from the Gatehouse.

The unveiling ceremony was also attended by the facility’s honorary curator, Bob Mitchell, and his wife, Felicity, and other contributors to the new trail.

Education officer Nikki Macdonald told the Citizen:”The trail takes visitors to the pond and back through some of the most beautiful parts of the garden.

“To help visiting families to enjoy the trail more fully we now have activity backpacks available from the Gatehouse for a small deposit.

‘‘They are full of exciting things like bugpots and magnifiers and compasses for children to use as they go around the trail.”

The trees are all accessible from paths and there is also a route for wheelchair users.

Nikki added: ”We encourage visitors to enjoy these special trees. They can get up close, feel the texture of bark and gather fallen plant material from the ground.”

The guidebook is also available free to download from the garden’s website at www.st-andrews-botanic.org.

For the record, the tallest tree in Britain is a Douglas fir in Argyll and in 2010 it was 64 metres (210 feet) high, which is equivalent to 16 double-decker buses stacked one on top of the other.