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Give your vote to the grand old oak of Grantham

An iconic Grantham tree has been nominated as Tree of the Year – and it needs your votes to take the top spot.

The centuries-old Grantham Oak, in Belton Lane, has been included in the shortlist as part of an annual competition run by The Woodland Trust.

The competition, now in its seventh year, throws the spotlight on the nation’s best trees to help drive up interest in their value and protection.

Grantham Oak. Photo: Tessa Chan (41347523)
Grantham Oak. Photo: Tessa Chan (41347523)

There will be a winner crowned in England, plus winners in Scotland and Wales.

The Woodland Trust says the giant oak was here centuries before its neighbours.

Last year its future looked doubtful due to the impact of groundworks near its roots, but thanks to a swell of support from the district council and campaigners, the magnifient oak can live on for many years to come.

Trust chief executive Darren Moorcroft said trees are “easily overlooked and routinely undervalued”.

Grantham Oak. Photo: Tessa Chan (41345506)
Grantham Oak. Photo: Tessa Chan (41345506)

He added: “Trees deserve their moment in the sun. This competition is a very simple way to demonstrate our appreciation of trees.

“We had more than double the number of trees nominated by members of the public this spring compared to past years. This is perhaps no surprise given that lockdown had so many of us slowing down and taking more note of nature on our doorsteps, a boost for our mental health and wellbeing.

“At a time when we’re fighting both a climate and nature crisis, it is undeniable that trees are needed now more than ever. They are nature’s most powerful weapon in this fight. This competition is a very simple way to show that people do care about trees, so please visit our website and vote for your favourite!”

The process is simple – the tree with the most votes wins. As well as putting the nation’s best trees on the map, the awards – supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery – offer a £1,000 tree care award for each winning tree.

The Woodland Trust’s urban ‘Street Trees’ team has been working closely with South Kesteven District Council over the past two years to protect the tree, fondly known as Grantham’s oldest resident.

A protection zone was implemented around its roots last year after concerns were raised about residents parking on the tree’s roots and workmen digging a trench too close by.

Further measures included providing a protective surface over the surrounding wider area which now allows for vehicles to drive safely around the tree without causing impact to the roots beneath, which can easily be crushed.

An information panel was unveiled in March, just before lockdown began, as part of efforts to protect the tree.

The panel provides information to passers-by about the tree, its history and its surroundings.

Linda Wootten, Lincolnshire county councillor for the area on which the tree stands, urged people to cast their votes for the Grantham Oak, which is believed to be around 500 years old.

She said: “I am delighted the old oak tree on Belton Lane has been nominated for the Tree of the Year award.

“I have already voted and would encourage residents to go on to The Woodland Trust website and vote also.

“Belton Lane is blessed with an avenue of trees but the old oak is the jewel in the crown.”

District councillor Ian Selby agreed.

He said: “It would be great if the Grantham oak won the England Tree of the Year award, but if it doesn’t it will still be a magnificent tree, and it is our magnificent tree.

“All credit to the district council for the excellent work undertaken to help preserve it.”

The Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year competition runs in England, Scotland and Wales.Each country, thanks to the public vote, will have its own champion.Just one of the three national winners will be selected to represent the UK in the 2021 European Tree of the Year contest.

Voting closes at noon on September 24. Vote here .

There are 10 trees to choose from, whittled down from hundreds nominated.

By placing a vote individuals will also be entered into the Tree of the Year prize draw – the winner will receive a £100 voucher thanks to partner Joules, to use in any of their stores or online.

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