Top trunks battle it out for Tree of the Year

The Wesley Beeches in Lambeg, Lisburn, is just one of six trunks shortlisted in the Tree of the Year contest

The Wesley Beeches in Lambeg, Lisburn, is just one of six trunks shortlisted in the Tree of the Year contest

Two beech trees intertwined to symbolise the unity of the Anglican Church and Methodist movement have made it onto the shortlist for Northern Ireland’s Tree of the Year.

A total of six trees, chosen by experts, are in the running for the title, which is decided by public vote.

One of the more unusual entries in the Woodland Trust competition is the historic Wesley Beeches at Lambeg, Lisburn.

In 1787 Rev John Wesley – an Anglican cleric who is known for co-founding Methodism – twisted together two beech saplings.

These grew into a majestic tree with two trunks joining to form a contorted arch and then separating again into two great limbs.

This impressive tree is visited by people from around the world.

Northern Ireland’s other splendid specimens battling it out for the crown include:

• The Holm Oak, at Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor;

• King George VI Coronation Tree, horse chestnut, Abbey Street, Bangor;

• The Great Ardmore Altar Oak, Ardmore, Londonderry;

• The Picnic Tree, sycamore, at Cloughbane Farm, Pomeroy;

• The Belvoir Oak, at Belvoir Park Forest, Belfast.

The Woodland Trust is now urging the public to vote for their favourite tree.

Patrick Cregg, director of the charity, said: “Northern Ireland certainly has its share of well-loved trees, each with a story to tell.

“Some have seen centuries come and go; some make our landscapes unique.

“While no two trees are the same, we have one important aim: to give our amazing trees the attention and recognition they deserve.

“By reminding people of their value, we hope they will continue to thrive for future generations.”

The winner will receive a a £1,000 tree care grant and go on to represent the Province in the European Tree of the Year competition in early 2017.

To cast your vote, visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk before the October 9 deadline.