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England’s Tree of the Year

An oak with royal connections and a mulberry at the centre of a local legend are up for the title of England’s Tree of the Year.

Members of the public are being urged to vote for their favourite tree in the Woodland Trust competition.

Among the finalists are the Parliament Oak in Nottinghamshire, where King John is thought to have summoned a parliament, and the Gilwell Oak in Epping, which inspired Robert Baden Powell.

Experts will chose a winner from the UK’s four finalists to go to the European top tree contest.

The Woodland Trust said all the trees have “truly inspirational stories”.

Last year, Wales’ Brimmon Oak was the runner-up in the European contest, which looks for the most-loved trees from countries across the continent. It was the best ever result for a UK entry.

The shortlisted trees are also in with a chance of winning a £1,000 care award, supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery.

The care award can be used to arrange an expert health check, provide educational materials or simply hold a celebration for the tree.

Tree of the Year nominees
  • Meavy Royal Oak, near Yelverton, Dartmoor, has stood in the village for almost a millennium, hosted gatherings to hear preachers and even provided a bijou dining experience within its hollow
  • The Witch’s Broom, Dorking, Surrey is an old beech thought to be 200 to 300 years old has drawn generations of children to clamber and hide among its branches
  • The Parliament Oak in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, stands where King John was informed by a messenger of a revolt by the Welsh, and of an insurrection in the north of England, in 1212. He then summoned a parliament to meet under the tree
  • The Gilwell Oak, Epping, Essex, was adopted by Scouts founder Robert Baden Powell as an analogy for the growth of the movement
  • Evelyn’s Mulberry, Deptford, London, is rumoured to have been planted by Russian tsar Peter the Great 300 years ago
  • The Courageous Tree, Coniston, Cumbria, is an ash split in half, likely by a lightning strike, half a century ago
  • Crowhurst Yew, near Hastings, East Sussex, is potentially the oldest yew in Sussex, and thought to have been here in 1066
  • Scotney Castle Hornbeam, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, was planted as part of a wood pasture around the 1400s
  • Derriford’s Plymouth Pear, Devon, is one of the UK’s rarest trees, thought to survive in just two wild hedgerows in Plymouth and Truro
  • Stratton Strawless Cedar, Norfolk, is thought to have been planted by Robert Marsham, Britain’s first phenologist, in the 18th Century

Votes can be cast at www.treeoftheyear.org until 8 October.