A yew where Magna Carta is thought to have been signed, the apple tree that inspired Newton’s theory of gravity and an 800-year oak believed to have sheltered Robin Hood are among the candidates for England’s first ‘tree of the year’.
Experts at the Woodland Trust and other nature groups have drawn up a shortlist of 10 trees that is open to a public vote to declare a winner based on their cultural and ecological value – and perhaps simply which one is the most-loved.
On the list is the Kett’s Oak in Norfolk, where farmer Robert Kett’s men met over five hundred years ago to lead the Norfolk Rebellion of peasants against robber barons, which was quashed and saw him executed at Norwich castle.
Other history-laden trees in the running include the Ankerwycke Yew at Runnymede where King John sealed the Magna Carta, and the Flower of Kent apple tree at Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire, that Isaac Newton sat under.
They face the tree with the widest span in the whole of the UK – the Shugborough Yew in Staffordshire – and the Allerton tree in Liverpool, which would have been the last sight of England for many migrants leaving the docks for America.