NATURE lovers have reacted with devastation after a centuries-old tree of "considerable historic and cultural importance" burnt to the ground.

Firefighters battled through the night to try and save the Whiteleaved Oak, near Eastnor Castle on the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border, but the blaze could not be stopped from destroying the tree important to druids.

The iconic tree which was reportedly on ley lines, those that criss-cross the globe dotted with monuments and natural landforms, had attracted visitors from around the world in the past, according to one local man who nominate it for England's Tree of the Year in 2014.

The Environment Agency's Dave Throup said the tree, thought to be more than 500 years old, was irreplaceable.

"Such a shame the famous Whiteleaved Oak on the southern Malverns is no more," he said on Twitter.

"Of considerable historic and cultural importance. Can’t be replaced."

John Hancock, a lecturer who focuses on the management of trees and shrubs, has visited the charred remains of the oak tree after the blaze on Sunday evening.

Crews from Ledbury and Upton fire stations attempted to save the tree, but were unable to do so. They still don't know the cause of the fire.

Mr Hancock, who lives in Pershore in Worcestershire, said the landmark tree was likely to have died three years ago, but it still remained important culturally.

"What a sad sight, a monumental, awful and horrible sight," he said.

"People – hippies, New Age People, druids – they would visit the tree and hang things from it like ribbons and coins. Last time I came up I'm pretty sure I saw the odd candle.

"I hope this hasn't been caused by someone placing a candle in the tree. Trees don't spontaneously combust, we haven't had any storms, we haven't had any lighting, so something has caused it."