Heritage status should be given to ancient and valuable trees, the Woodland Trust has said as it released its nominations for “tree of the year”.
Among the 12 shortlisted include one in a landscape thought to be the inspiration for Narnia – and a rowan that looks like a portal to another world.
They were compiled for the annual contest from the charity’s “hall of fame” for very old and important trees, the Ancient Tree Inventory (ATI).
This year, the Woodland Trust is using the competition to highlight the importance of rare ancient and veteran trees, which they warn mostly have no legal protection.
The Woodland Trust is calling on UK governments to give them heritage status, introducing strong, consistent policy protection for old trees and increasing support for land managers and farmers to care for them.
Woodland Trust head of campaigning Adam Cormack said: “We believe that now is the time to give these living legends the legal status they deserve.
“We all want to be able help to protect these wonderful old trees for centuries to come.”
Competition judge and ATI lead Tom Reed said: “The enthusiasm for ancient and veteran trees and the growing number of records being submitted to the ATI in the past couple of years showed just how much people love and value their trees.
“We selected the trees based on their size and significance for their species and also looked for trees steeped in history as well as trees that had high ecological, aesthetic or cultural value.
“It’s over to the public to pick a favourite from that impressive list.”
The public can now vote for their favourite tree to win the Tree of the Year competition for 2022, and go on to compete for the UK in the European Tree of the Year contest next year.
To see all the trees and vote for your favourite, you can visit the Woodland Trust website. Voting is open until noon on Monday 31 October.