Shropshire 'Treehunter' Rob's competition backed by Bianca Jagger

Shropshire 'Treehunter' Rob McBride has joined forces with none other than Bianca Jagger to launch a contest to find the most remarkable trees along Offa's Dyke.

Rob McBride with one of the ancient oak trees
Rob McBride with one of the ancient oak trees

July sees the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Offa's Dyke Path national trail, which links the north Wales coast to Chepstow, running the length of the Shropshire/Welsh border.

Rob from Ellesmere recently finished his pilgrimage along the path, charting all the ancient trees along the route. His book, Great Trees of Offa's Dyke, is due to be published later this year.

The founder of Treespect CIC, he has teamed up for the fun competition with Bianca Jagger, the human rights advocate and former actress, who is also ambassador for the Council of Europe and IUCN Bonn environmental centre.

Rob McBride with one of the ancient oak trees

Rob said: "We are looking for trees with a particular story to tell. We want to hear about beautiful trees that capture the imagination or mean something to someone. Are you particularly fond of a tree close to the Offa's Dyke Path or is there a tree that you enjoy seeing, a tree that has special personal memories for you?"

"To nominate a tree, send the details of the tree and photographs to Nominations are open until midday on June 30.

"You can nominate more than one tree if desired but please seek the permission of the landowner before submitting your nomination."

All the entries will be displayed at

A hand-made trophy, sponsored by Hartey Wealth Management, will be presented to the winner, and prizes will also be awarded to those who nominate the second and third-placed trees.

The Flying Oak of Llanyblodwel

Rob added: "To mirror the 12 chapters in the Great Trees of Offa's Dyke book a voting panel of 12 judges will choose their favourite top three trees from a shortlist drawn up from nominated trees in early July."

Judges include Mid Wales naturalist and TV presenter Iolo Williams, natural history writer, Patrick Barkham and Assisi Jackson - forest schools and climate change action advocate, as well other experts and a panel from Llandegla Primary School.

The winner will be announced at the 50th-anniversary celebration event at the Offa's Dyke Centre in Knighton on  July 10.

Mr McBride began the walk to record trees for the Woodland Trust on the Ancient Tree Inventory in 2008.

The oldest tree he found was a yew at Discoed churchyard, close to the dyke, which was between 2,500 and 3,000 years old, while the largest tree was the 11-metre wide Buttington Oak, near Welshpool, which fell in 2008.

The Offa’s Dyke path links Sedbury Cliffs near Chepstow with the coastal town of Prestatyn, crossing the border between England and Wales over 20 times.

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