Liverpudlians face an anxious wait to see if the city’s beloved Allerton Oak will be crowned the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year, following the closure of the public vote.
The Tree of the Year result will be announced on October 23rd, and if experts proclaim it the best in the UK, it will then progress to the European Tree of the Year competition.
Located in Calderstones Park, the Allerton Oak has been shortlisted for the accolade.
It is reported as being more than a thousand-years-old, however Rosemary Brice, Chairman of the Friends of Hartshill and Calderstones Park, thinks this is not entirely accurate.
She told JMU Journalism: “We are told it is probably not more than four or five hundred years old.”
Friends of Hartshill and Calderstones Park committee member, David Brice added: “It is not as big as you would expect for a thousand-year-old tree, the trunk diameter – that is the problem.”
Despite their reservations over its true age, they both appreciate its arboricultural and historical significance.
Mrs Brice said: “It is absolutely essential to the park, it is such an important feature, and it has got some lovely little stories about it. For instance, during the war leaves were taken from the tree and sent in cards to men from the park who were serving overseas, because it meant so much to them.”
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Her husband, Mr Brice, added: “They were worried that the tree might get damaged, or worse still burned down, by bombing raids. They thought that this would be a good way of memorising the tree.”
Those responsible for the winning tree will receive a £1,000 Tree Care Award, which must be put towards either a health check from an arboriculturalist, educational materials, or a celebratory community event in honour of the tree.
Spokesperson for the Woodland Trust, Kevin Stanley, told JMU Journalism: “Preserving and protecting veteran and ancient trees can be difficult. The UK’s ancient trees have no automatic right of protection.”
He added: “We hope the shortlisted and winning trees stand as beacons for the need to protect our special trees and the wonderful tales they have to tell.
The competition is all about celebrating trees across the UK. The greater profile the trees have, the greater protection they will get.”