FARMERS and owners of woodland in Staffordshire are being asked to join the search for England’s most prestigious tree.
The Woodland Trust is asking people across the county to find a contender to become the English Tree of the Year, which will ultimately do battle with Europe’s finest in the conservation world’s equivalent of Eurovision - the European Tree of the Year competition.
More than 750 Staffordshire trees have been recorded on the Trust's ancient tree inventory, including Noddy's Tree near Rugeley.
But the chosen tree does not have to be ancient – a favourite tree of any age, size or species can be nominated as long as it is located in England.
Whether it has a personal connection, a link to a significant date in history, a link to historical figure, or for any other reason, all are eligible. The charity will create a shortlist later this year from all entries and the public will be given the chance to votefor the top tree.
The Trust hopes that the competition will be a platform for individual trees of importance to be given greater protection and support, as many remain at risk from development, disease and vandalism.
Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust chief executive, added: “Many trees that we take for granted in our everyday lives have stood the test of time and have so many stories to tell. We want people to give these cherished trees the recognition they deserve by nominating them in this contest.
“This could be the first step towards providing these trees and the woods they inhabit with far greater protection to ensure they have a chance of standing long into the future.”
The Trust has already launched contests in Scotland and Wales. The competition has been running across Europe since 2011, with tens of thousands of votes cast every year.
IKEA is supporting the Woodland Trust in its search to find England’s Tree of the Year. Find out more about the nomination process or submit an entry at woodlandtrust.org.uk