A tree at the heart of the movement for workers’ rights, one of Game Of Thrones’ dramatic locations and an oak whose boughs shaded William Wallace and Rob Roy are among those shortlisted for Tree of the Year.
The public are asked to vote for their favourite tree in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year contest, with the winning one in each country entered into 2016’s European Tree of the Year competition.
More than 200 nominations for special trees from the public have been whittled down to shortlists for each country, with 10 on the list in England, seven in Wales and six in both Scotland and Northern Ireland.
In England, the nominated trees include: an ancient yew close to where King John signed the Magna Carta at Runnymede; Glastonbury holy thorn, linked to the legend of Joseph of Arimathea; and the Boscobel Oak where the future Charles II hid during the Civil War.
The Scottish trees nominated include the Clachan Oak where William Wallace is said have rested and Rob Roy Macgregor is supposed to have hidden, a giant redwood thought to have been sent back as a seed from the California Gold Rush and an oak which is almost all that is left of the Birnam Wood made famous in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
In Wales, the trees include one of the oldest yews in Britain thought by some to be at least 5,000 years old, a 1,000-year-old oak which has continued to grow after it collapsed in a storm in 2010 and a yew with a massive 33 feet girth.
And the six trees shortlisted in Northern Ireland include “the Dark Hedges”, an avenue of beech trees featured in Game Of Thrones as the King’s Road and said to be haunted by a grey lady and two lime trees which have grown together as one and have become a symbol of peace and unity.
Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust chief executive, said: “This contest reminds us how trees have been an integral part of this country’s history and play an important role in our lives today.
“We still need better protection for individual trees across the UK and we hope everybody who votes will also support our campaign to create a register for all our Trees of National Special Interest.”
Ray Hawes, head of forestry at the National Trust, which looks after three trees in the competition, said: “Competitions like Tree of the Year really do matter because they inspire people to take a closer look at trees and think about their importance to our national story.
The competition is supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery, whose head of charities Clara Govier said: “The competition links entire communities to the amazing trees that surround them and reinforces the importance of giving them better protection.”.
:: To see all the shortlists and vote for favourite trees, people can visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/treeoftheyear before October 12.