Beautiful oak tree in Leamington shortlisted for UK's Tree of the Year
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An oak tree in Leamington has been shortlisted for the UK's Tree of the Year.
The holm oak is thought to be about 175 years old and leans over the lake at Jephson Gardens.
The beautiful landmark is one of 13 trees in the running to be crowned Tree of the Year in the latest round of the competition organised by the Woodland Trust.
This year’s contest shines a spotlight on ancient trees in urban locations, with every shortlisted specimen able to be visited free of charge by the public.
“Ancient trees in towns and cities are vital for the health of nature, people and planet,” said Naomi Tilley, lead campaigner at the Woodland Trust.
“They give thousands of urban wildlife species essential life support, boost the UK’s biodiversity and bring countless health and wellbeing benefits to communities.
“But most ancient trees aren’t protected by law, and those in urban areas are particularly vulnerable, like one of this year’s nominees – which narrowly escaped being cut down by Sheffield City Council in 2017.”
The Woodland Trust’s panel of tree experts has shortlisted 12 fascinating urban contenders from across the UK for Tree of the Year 2023 – with one additional tree voted for by the public.
In the voting information for the lakeside holm oak in Leamington - which has a girth of five metres - the Woodland Trust says: "Leaning lazily over the lake at Jephson Gardens, this holm oak may date back to the 1840s.
"The newly created gardens were planted with holm oaks, a species well-suited to urban areas for its ability to tolerate shade and air pollution.
"The tree has witnessed many events in the town park since then, including its heyday as a pleasure ground for wealthy Victorians and a period of post-war decline. The local council carefully restored the park in the early 2000s."
The winner will represent the UK in the European Tree of the Year competition.
Voting for the Woodland Trust’s 2023 Tree of the Year is open now until Sunday October 15 at https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/tree-of-the-year/
The winner will be announced on Thursday October 19.