Oak tree in Chirk nominated as Europe's finest

The Great Oak at the Gates of the Dead It is the first time a tree in Wales has been nominated for the title

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One of Britain's oldest oaks has been nominated for the European Tree of the Year award.

The Great Oak at the Gates of the Dead, near Chirk, Wrexham, is believed to be over 1,000 years old.

The tree gets its name from when Welsh forces ambushed an invading English army in 1165, and the dead were buried nearby.

The Woodland Trust, which nominated the oak, said the competition aimed to find the most "lovable" tree.

It added that it wanted a tree with "a story that can bring the community together".

The oak is thought to date to the reign of King Egbert in 802, and is near the 1165 Battle of Crogen site.

In 2010, a tree protection order (TPO) was placed on the oak, which split during cold weather.

The TPO was granted by Wrexham County Borough Council and permission is needed before any repair work is carried out.

Rob McBride, a volunteer for the Woodland Trust's ancient tree hunt project, said: "One of the most amazing things about this tree is its location.

'Well satisfied'

"It stands on Offa's Dyke, at the gateway to the Ceiriog Valley, on the site of the Battle of Crogen and just below Chirk Castle.

"It's also the younger cousin of the Pontfadog oak that we lost so sadly in April.

"If the entry of the tree into the competition helps persuade everyone, including the Welsh Assembly, that we need to look after our ancient trees better, then I'll be well satisfied."

It is the first time a tree in Wales has been nominated in the competition and it will be up against trees from France, Ireland, Scotland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

The winning tree will be announced in Brussels in June next year.

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