Campaign launched to save veteran trees - including Darwin Oak - from Shrewsbury Relief Road threat
A campaign to save nine veteran trees – including the 550-year-old Darwin Oak – has launched in Shrewsbury.
Residents visited each of the trees – seven oaks, an ash, and one field maple – and decorated their branches with ribbons and ties to draw attention to their plight.
The Save The Shrewsbury 9 campaign is asking the public to help them choose names for eight of the trees before a "tree christening" ceremony takes place in January.
The nine veterans are destined to be felled and removed if the proposed Shrewsbury North West Relief Road goes ahead, even though they have been described as "irreplaceable" by the Woodland Trust. They are among the 1,100 trees and over 4km of hedgerows that will be destroyed if the road is built.
Campaigner Tina Teearu, an ecologist who lives in Shrewsbury, said: "People all over the world now know about the Darwin Oak after it featured in The Guardian and in the German press. We want to remind everyone about the other eight veteran trees that don’t have names yet. They are equally important and just as irreplaceable. Each of these trees has stood for hundreds of years and is a living ecosystem in its own right. These trees connect us to our past. They have witnessed some of the greatest moments in our collective history. That’s why we’re inviting local people to help us name them."
The trees include ‘T65’ on Shelton Way, the oldest of the remaining Shelton Oaks, around 342 years old. The tree was reportedly climbed by Owain Glyndŵr during the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. It is thought to have fallen in a storm in 1940.
At the other end of the road, trees ‘T2’ and ‘T3’ stand near Ellesmere Roundabout and are aged 361 and 281 years old respectively. They are sometimes referred to as The Restoration Oaks, because they date back to when Charles II was returned to the throne after Cromwell.
Save The Shrewsbury 9 campaigners say it’s important to draw attention to these veteran trees, especially because there is a chance that Shropshire Council could fell them before work properly begins on the NWRR.
The campaign team are planning a series of events, including a "Save Our Walks" dog walk to visit the trees on December 27. There will also be a community sign-making workshop on January 6 at the English Bridge Workshop for people to create signs and decorations ahead of the christening ceremony.
To suggest names for the trees, email the campaign at SaveTheShrewsbury9@gmail.com