England's Tree of the Year
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These ten trees are the finalists in England's Tree of the Year, an annual search for the nation's best loved tree. The winner will compete against trees from all over the Continent for the title of European Tree of the Year, organised by the Environmental Partnership Association.
Read more about our shortlisted trees below.
Winner - Cubbington Pear Tree. Warwickshire
Believed to be over 250 years old, this beautiful tree is a local icon which has stood for generations at the top of a hill near South Cubbington Wood and is much admired by all who pass by. It is thought to be the largest wild pear tree in Warwickshire and the second largest in the United Kingdom. The tree sits on the proposed phase 1 route of the HS2 line from London to Birmingham and could be lost if or when construction gets underway.
Vote for the Cubbington Pear Tree in the European Tree of the Year
Old Man of Calke. Calke Park, Derbyshire
Calke’s oldest tree is called The Old Man of Calke and is thought to be between 1000 and 1200 years old (200 is about the age of the average large oak seen in Britain today). Put into context this means this tree could have been 200 years old when William the Conqueror arrived in Britain.
Ankerwycke Yew. Runnymede, Berkshire
Two thousand years ago, the ancient yew at Ankerwycke could have been used in ritual worship by the Druids, who are thought to have revered yews as sacred trees.
But its crowning glory and place in history came on 15 June 1215, when King John famously sealed Magna Carta – the closest these islands have ever come to a constitutional bill of rights – within earshot of this very spot, 800 years ago. The yew sits on Ankerwycke Island at Runnymede, a National Trust site, bounded by the Thames.
Martindale Yew. St Martin's Church, Cumbria
A churchyard yew reputed to be at least 800 years old. The church nearby has a bell with an as yet untranslated Nordic rune phrase cast into it. The altar is allegedly made of a meteorite and the locals used to sharpen their scythes and swords on the stone which still bears the marks.
Glastonbury Holy Thorn. Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset
Legend has Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus's uncle, sailing to Avalon who upon landing, thrust his staff into the ground at Wearyall Hill where it immediately took root as a Hawthorn tree. Chopped down by a Puritan soldier during the Civil War, a cutting was secretly re-planted, descendants of which survived until 2010 when the head of the tree was lopped off in the dead of night. Other descendants survive at Glastonbury Abbey, and notably St John's Church, from where a flowering spray has been sent to the English Monarch each Christmas since the seventeenth century.
Lime tree. Linford Manor Park, Buckinghamshire
The Linford Manor Lime Tree is located at Linford Manor Park in Milton Keynes. Treework Environmental Practice undertook a tree survey of the grounds to understand the age, range and condition of the trees, which revealed some trees are more than 300 years old. The age and possible relationship of certain trees to the designed 18th Century Grounds makes them of local significance.
Boscobel Oak. Boscobel House, Shropshire
Following the execution of King Charles I in 1649, his eldest son attempted to regain the throne. In 1651 his hopes were crushed at Worcester in the final conflict of the Civil War. Young Charles was forced to flee for his life. Initially the future King Charles II set out to cross the River Severn into Wales, but found his way blocked by Cromwell's patrols. He sought refuge instead at Boscobel, hiding first in a tree, which is now known as The Royal Oak, and then spending the night in a priest-hole in the house's attic. Today’s tree is a descendant of the original.
Tolpuddle Martyrs Tree. Tolpuddle, Dorset
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. The Sycamore still stands strong, its hollow trunk 5.9m (19.35ft) in girth, and estimated to be around 330 years old. It has become a place of pilgrimage for trade unionists.
Acklington Black Poplar. Acklington, Northumberland
The black poplar is one of the rarest native trees in the UK, with only 2,500 thought to be left. This tree is located in the grounds of Acklington C of E First School and is estimated to be between 250 and 300 years old. Earmarked for felling in 2010 the decision was reversed, much to the relief of locals.
Lime Tree. Litherland, Merseyside
The tree has sat outside the house of Judith Clark in Litherland on Merseyside for 27 years. Judith is housebound and the tree has enriched her life greatly. “I love to watch the birds living there, and I especially love to watch the tree changing with the seasons; the buds in spring, vibrant green leaves in summer, gold and russet in autumn which makes a lovely carpet and the stark beauty of the silhouette in winter.”