Belfast Telegraph

Six trees vying to be crowned finest in Northern Ireland

By Donna Deeney

Six trees in Northern Ireland have been shortlisted for this year's Woodland Trust's Tree of the Year competition.

Two weeping ashes in Co Down, a spectacular cut-leaved hornbeam tree in Londonderry, two chestnuts - one in Co Fermanagh, the other in Co Antrim - and an oriental plane in the grounds of Belfast City Hospital were selected by a panel of experts.

The Armada Tree is a chestnut in Cairncastle near Larne that grew from a chestnut in the pocket of a drowned sailor washed up from the Armada in the 1588.

The Erskine House Tree in the grounds of the City Hospital is of Greek descent.

The Bicycle Tree is a horse chestnut in Lisnarick village in Fermanagh, while The College Tree is a cut leaved hornbeam in the grounds of Foyle College in Derry.

A weeping ash tree in Bangor Main Street and another in the Pauper's graveyard in Newry complete the selection.

Director of the Woodland Trust NI Patrick Cregg said: "We invited nominations for the country's best-loved trees - trees with stories - and were heartened by the response.

"Each has a truly fabulous story to tell, from the most poignant to the most entertaining.

"The Woodland Trust is calling for better protection for ancient trees and woodland.

"And this competition is just one way of putting our precious trees in the limelight, giving them the attention they deserve. By reminding people of their value, we hope they will continue to thrive for future generations."

People can help one of the six trees win the local leg of the competition by voting for their favourite from now until October 8 at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/treeoftheyear.

The winner will receive a care package of up to £1,000. This might fund a health check from a specialist, educational materials or a community event in celebration of the tree.

The winning tree from Northern Ireland will be shortlisted with the winners from England, Scotland and Wales to represent the UK in the 2018 European Tree of the Year contest.

Belfast Telegraph

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