Coniston tree shortlisted in favourite tree contest

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Undated handout photo issued by the Woodland Trust of The Courageous Tree (England) which has been shortlisted for the Woodland Trust Tree of the Year Contest 2017
Undated handout photo issued by the Woodland Trust of The Courageous Tree (England) which has been shortlisted for the Woodland Trust Tree of the Year Contest 2017
10 September 2017 7:47PM

Members of the public are being urged to "root" for their favourite tree as new shortlists for the annual Tree of the Year competition are unveiled.

Among this year's shortlisted trees is The Courageous Tree at Coniston. An ash split savagely in half, likely by a lightning strike half a century ago, it overlooks Coniston and is a potent symbol of hope in the face of adversity.

From across the UK other trees on the shotrtlist include are a sapling pulled from the mud of Passchendaele in the First World War, a tree which has inspired the scouting movement, and yew trees which "bleed" or have served as pulpits for preachers.

Some 28 trees have been chosen from nominations for four shortlists, 10 for England and six each for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, with the public urged to vote for their favourite.

This year, for the first time, one tree will be chosen by experts from the four national winners to go forward to represent the UK in the 2018 European Tree of the Year contest.

Last year, Wales' Brimmon Oak was the runner-up in the contest, which looks for the most-loved trees from countries across the continent. It was the best result so far for a UK entry.

Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust chief executive, said: "Once again, the public have nominated many fantastic trees with truly inspirational stories, which highlight how intrinsic trees are in peoples' lives.

"It's a reminder of why we need to care for individual trees and that they still need true protection in law from development or mismanagement."

The Woodland Trust wants to see better protection for ancient trees and woodland, including through changes to planning policy in England.

As part of the competition, the shortlisted trees are also in with a chance of winning a £1,000 care award, supported by the People's Postcode Lottery.

The care award can be used to arrange an expert health check, provide educational materials or simply hold a celebration for the tree.

Clara Govier, head of charities at People's Postcode Lottery, added: "We are delighted that with our players' support, the Woodland Trust is able to provide this opportunity for communities all over Britain to celebrate and care for their fantastic trees."

:: To vote for a tree in the Tree of the Year contest, visit woodlandtrust.org.uk/treeoftheyear

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