Liverpool’s lofty Allerton Oak has been crowned England’s Tree of the Year.
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: “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 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 City 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 £1,000 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.