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Tree of the month and England’s Tree of the Year

England’s Tree of the Year has been chosen after a public vote. However the winner, The Cubbington Pear might soon be lost.

True wild pear (Pyrus pyraster syn. Pyrus communis subsp. pyraster) are considered rare and confined to ancient hedgerows and woodland in England. Notoriously difficult to differentiate from some seedlings, growing from cast aside cores of cultivated pears, this tree ticked all the boxes when inspected by Steven Falk, then working for the Warwickshire Council’s Museum Service. Small leaves, spiny young branches and small, hard, rounded fruit are key features.

The tree arises from the ground as a fusion of stems, creating a solid short bole, before dividing into three stems that form a magnificent crown, looking simply stunning when in full flower during April.

The reason The Cubbington Pear has gained such support for England’s Tree of the Year is that this rare tree is threatened. It grows in a hedgerow near Cubbington Wood, directly within the path of the proposed High Speed 2 rail link, just north of Royal Leamington Spa. Currently, the south end of Cubbington Wood is likely to be lost, which is considered, by environmentalists, to be the best end of the wood, including stools of Wild Service Tree coppice. The route also goes straight through the middle of the nearby Stoneleigh Deer Park, which is Warwickshire’s most important concentration of veteran and ancient trees.

Recording all notable trees along the proposed HS2 routes is valuable to help assess the environmental and ecological impact of their potential loss. If you know of any trees threatened by HS2 record them now!

The other UK winners are the Suffragette Oak from Scotland, Peace Tree in Northern Ireland and ‘Survival at the cutting edge’ from Wales. The four UK winners will now be entered into the European Tree of the Year contest alongside 12 other countries in February 2016.