The Woodland Trust announces the results of its annual competition to find Britain’s best-loved tree
The tree, which stands in the city’s Calderstones Park and was once home to a medieval court, received an impressive 34 per cent of more than 11,000 votes cast in the Woodland Trust’s annual competition, and will now represent the UK in the European Tree of the Year contest which begins in February 2020.
Adam Cormack, Head of Campaigning, at the Woodland Trust said:
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“The Allerton Oak is a spectacular example of a city tree. It has stood in Calderstones Park for centuries and has an intriguing story. Trees are an important part of the urban landscape helping to make our towns and cities better places to live. We are keen to increase understanding of their value and promote their protection. We are currently working with partners to help increase tree cover in the city and make Liverpool a greener place to live.”
The Colchester Castle Sycamore, which grows on top of the mighty Essex stronghold, came second while the mythical Dragon Tree on the Isle of Wight was a close third.
Award winning horticulturalist and TV personality David Domoney who has been supporting the competition throughout said:
“Working with The Woodland Trust on its Tree of the Year campaign is a real pleasure. The entrants this year have been outstanding and illustrate perfectly the unique nature of our native trees. The Allerton Oak from Liverpool is a worthy winner, from its historical links to the Domesday book, to the local legends of how the crack in its side appeared. I wish the tree the best of luck as it enters the European Tree of the Year competition. Please vote for the British tree.”
The Allerton Oak has a spellbinding story and is clearly a favourite of the public of Liverpool. Legend has it that in medieval times the local court, known as a ‘Hundred Court’ would meet under the branches of the tree, as they lacked a courthouse. Today the tree is fenced off to protect it, and its heavy boughs are supported by metal poles.
Liverpool City Council has been working in partnership with The Mersey Forest to preserve the lifespan of the Allerton Oak. This project will secure a new propping mechanism with built in flexibility to adapt as the tree continues to grow and sustain it long term. The council is investing up to £80,000 in this project but the value of the tree is conservatively estimated at over £500,000.
Cabinet member for environment and sustainability, Councillor Laura Robertson-Collins, at Liverpool County Council, said:
“The Allerton Oak is a much-loved and cherished tree in the heart of one of our beautiful parks and is hugely popular with visitors. It is fantastic it has received this recognition and our thanks go to the many people who voted for it. We are determined to make sure it stays healthy for as long as possible, which is why we are about to start work replacing the supports for the tree limbs. We’re committed to planting thousands of trees over the next few years and our hope is that at least one of them may last as long as the Allerton Oak.”
The competition is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. The winning tree will be awarded, subject to eligibility, a £1000 Tree Care Award aimed at protecting, supporting and celebrating a better future for the tree. Awards of £500 will also be made available for the trees that placed second to sixth.
Sanjay Singh, senior programmes manager with People’s Postcode Lottery said:
“We’re delighted players of People’s Postcode Lottery have supported the Woodland Trust’s search for 2019’s Tree of the Year, a competition highlighting the need to ensure our ancient trees are valued and protected. There were many fascinating entries with incredible stories behind them. The Allerton Oak is a worthy winner steeped in history and intrigue. We wish it well in the European Tree of the Year vote!”
For more information on the Woodland Trust visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk
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