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Take a bough for Tree of the Year 2017

Earlier this year a UK entry was but a leaf's width away from being crowned European Tree of the Year. The Brimmon Oak near Newtown in Wales finished second, just 1,300 votes behind the eventual winner from Poland, Oak Josef. Now we want to go one better!

Once again we want you to nominate your favourite individual tree (not species!) from across the UK which deserves to be crowned our 2017 Tree of the Year. Your tree could be linked to a historical figure or event, at the heart of your local community or one which is just well loved. We're looking for the most spectacular, quirky, controversial trees, ones which make you stop in your tracks and fill you with inspiration.

From all the nominations we receive we'll then create four shortlists, one for each region, from which the public will vote for a winner. This year we will then be selecting just one tree from the four regions to represent the UK in Europe.

We also hope that the contest will remind those in power the value of our special trees. In February the Government recommended changes to national planning policy which specifically put ‘aged and veteran trees’ (and ancient woodland) on par with other protected habitats like National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Combined with the opportunities which our departure from the EU will provide in relation to regulations we really hope to see our ancients given much stronger care and protection. 

To help give you some further inspiration here's a reminder of some of the UK's most iconic trees and nominations from previous years...

Brimmon Oak, Newtown, Wales

The Brimmon Oak (Photo: WTML/T Williams)

This giant oak, with a girth of over six metres, first hit the headlines in 2009 when plans emerged to fell it to make way for the planned Newtown Bypass.

Local landowner Mervyn Jones cared for tree, as had many previous generations of his family - so he clearly objected! He commissioned his own expert report and gave evidence at an inquiry for two hours. And with the help of Tree Hunter Rob McBride and 5,000 supporters, petitioned the Welsh Assembly. Finally the Welsh Government agreed to 'bend the bypass' around the tree.

Fortingall Yew, Perthshire, Scotland

The Fortingall Yew in Pertshire (Photo: Ancient Tree Inventory)

Supposedly the oldest tree in the UK, this yew tree is thought to be anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 years old. In 1769 the circumference of the yew’s multiple trunks was measured at 52ft, but this has vastly reduced over time and what remains are the relics and offshoots of the original tree.

Gowk Tree, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

The Gowk Tree (Photo: WTML/N Benvie)

The Reverend John Walker, known as the ‘Mad Minister of Moffat’, was local minister from 1762-1783. His reputation for eccentricity stemmed from the fact that he carried seedlings in a pouch and planted them wherever he went.

The Rev. John planted an umbrella fir near an oak tree which was a favourite ‘calling post’ for cuckoos. As he did he remarked to the oak, that it would still be standing after the fir was long gone. His words rang true as 200 years later the tree is still standing.

Holm Oak, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

The Holm Oak in Rostrevor (Photo: STV Productions)

This wonderful evergreen Holm Oak has been much loved by many generations of Rostrevor locals. It has a girth of over three metres and typical snakeskin bark for a holm oak.

It is distinctive because of the 45° angle at which it leans, making it safe and easy for young children to climb. Unfortunately one of the huge boughs has become enormously heavy with age and is now in need of some assistance. Kilbroney Park is home to many remarkable trees, but this tree was unanimously chosen as the favourite by members the local community group.  

Cubbington Pear Tree, Warwickshire, England

Pear Tree at Cubbington Woods in South Cubbington, Warwickshire.
The Cubbington Pear Tree in Warwickshire (Photo: WTML/F Wilmot)

Believed to be over 250 years old, the Cubbington Pear Tree is a local icon which has stood for generations at the top of a hill near South Cubbington Wood. It is thought to be the largest wild pear tree in Warwickshire and the second largest in the United Kingdom.

The Cubbington Pear Tree is one of 20 ancient, veteran or notable trees within the HS2 Phase 1 construction boundary according to Woodland Trust research and could be lost if or when construction gets underway.

Tolpuddle Martyrs Tree, Dorset, England

The Tolpuddle Martyrs' Tree (Photo: WTML/J Hight)

In 1834, six agricultural labourers from Tolpuddle in Dorset were sentenced to serve seven years transportation – hard labour in Australia from which few ever returned.

The men met beneath a large sycamore tree on the village green and formed a trade union – which worried the local squire James Frampton enough to have them charged with taking an illegal secret oath.

However, there was a huge public outcry at the unjust treatment of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, and the six men were eventually granted full pardons in 1836. To commemorate the centenary of the Martyrs in 1934, Sir Ernest Debenham gave the village green to the National Trust, in whose care it remains.

Once again winning trees will also benefit from a tree care award of up to £1,000 thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. This can be used for arboricultural surveys or other maintenance, interpretation or even to support a community event in celebration of the tree.

If any of these trees inspire you to nominate one of your own then fill in the nomination form before the end of July and tell us all about it