Vote British in tree contest, urges charity

Brits are being encouraged to vote patriotically in this year’s European Tree of the Year contest.

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Since the contest launched in 2011, UK trees have been outvoted by European opponents – but now it’s time to rally round the flag, says Jill Butler of the Woodland Trust.

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“The UK is renowned as a country of nature-lovers, but we never get anywhere near enough votes for our trees in the European contest. Let’s hope this year we can turn things around.”

Visitors at Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort, Northumberland. This is one of the Roman Empire's best-maintained outposts in northern Europe.
The Sycamore Gap Tree featured in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – credit John Millar

Four of the 12 trees competing in the 2017 final are from the UK.

England’s Sycamore Gap tree stands in the heart of Northumberland among the stones of Hadrian’s Wall, and The Holm Oak in Northern Ireland grows on the banks of the Kilbroney River in Rostrevor. In Wales, The Brimmon Oak survived destruction when a proposed bypass was forced to divert its route, while the Scottish “Ding Dong” tree, a copper beach, is the centrepiece of Prestonpans Primary School.

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The Holm Oak, Northern Ireland is 200 years old – credit Paul Clerkin

The European Tree of the Year contest aims to promote the value of old trees. Unlike other competitions, which reward size and beauty, the contest emphasizes the trees’ stories and cultural importance.

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The Brimmon Oak, Wales was saved by a 5,000-word petition in 2015. Credit Melvyn Williams

The Woodland Trust, which has organised the British leg of the contest, believes that a strong vote from the UK will help raise awareness of the importance of protecting notable trees.

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The “Ding Dong” Tree in Scotland
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The competition closes on 28 February – voting only takes a few seconds.