Trees must be listed like old buildings to save them from urban sprawl, farming and vandalism, say campaigners who have launched a drive to lobby the Government.
The Woodland Trust kicked off its campaign this week calling for laws to protect ancient trees as “green monuments” and tougher penalties for those who damage them.
“If a really ugly 1960s building can be listed then why can’t a similar status be given to a wonderful old Tree?” asked Anne Jappie, spokeswoman for the trust.
The campaign has been backed by English Heritage, English Nature and the Forestry Commission, which turned out in force to the launch at Windsor Great Park.
Britain’s oldest tree is thought to be a yew at Ashbrittle Church in Somerset, which is more than 3,800 years old.
The most historic is the 2,500-year-old Ankerwyke yew in Wraysbury, Berkshire. It was standing when King John signed Magna Carta in 1215 and Henry VIII is said to have courted Anne Boleyn in the 1530s under its evergreen crown.
Trees are classed as ancient depending on species.
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