THE search is on for England’s 'tree of the year' and people in Herefordshire are being asked to help find it.
The winning tree will ultimately battle against Europe’s finest in the conservation world’s equivalent of Eurovision - the European Tree of the Year competition.
And with more than 3,500 trees across the county recorded on the Woodland Trust's ancient tree inventory – including the famous Eardisley Oak – the chances of finding the representative in Herefordshire are high.
Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust chief executive, said: “Many trees that we take for granted in our everyday lives have stood the test of time and have so many stories to tell. We want people to give these cherished trees the recognition they deserve by nominating them in this contest.
“This could be the first step towards providing these trees and the woods they inhabit with far greater protection to ensure they have a chance of standing long into the future.”
To be in with a chance of winning, the tree does not have to be ancient – a favourite tree of any age, size or species can be nominated as long as it is in England.
Later in the year, the charity will create a shortlist from all entries and the public will be given the chance to vote which tree to put forward for England’s Tree of the Year.
The Trust hopes that the competition will be a platform for individual trees of importance to be given greater protection and support, as many remain at risk from development, disease and vandalism.
The contest has already been launched in Scotland and Wales whose trees, along with the English winner, will be entered in the European Tree of the Year competition in spring 2015.
The competition has been running across Europe since 2011, with tens of thousands of votes cast every year.
To find out more about the nomination process or submit an entry visit woodlandtrust.org.uk