England's Tree of the Year candidate could be lost to HS2

A tree threatened by the government's proposed HS2 high-speed rail link is among the four home nations' entries into next year's pan-European Tree of the Year contest.

Image: Woodland Trust
Image: Woodland Trust

The Cubbington Pear Tree in Warwickshire is one of the country's oldest and largest wild pear trees. It received over a third of the more than 10,000 votes cast by members of the public in the contest organised by the Woodland Trust and supported by the People's Postcode Lottery.

It is one of 20 ancient, veteran or notable trees within the HS2 Phase 1 construction boundary. Another 18 lie within 200m of the proposed phase 2 route.

The other UK entries, all oaks, are:

  • Scotland: the Suffragette Oak, planted in Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park by suffrage organisations in 1918 to commemorate the granting of votes to women;
  • Northern Ireland: the Peace Tree, an oak planted in Belfast on Empire Day 1919 as a tree of remembrance and peace. After apparently being forgotten for almost 50 years, it was "rediscovered" in 2006;
  • Wales: A 75 year old pedunculate oak in the National Botanic Garden of Wales, which narrowly avoided destruction when the garden was created.

Woodland Trust chief executive Beccy Speight said: "These four trees all demonstrate the intrinsic way our lives are linked to the natural world. Sadly many iconic trees do not have the levels of protection they deserve and this contest highlights the need to ensure they remain for future generations to enjoy and memories to endure."

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