Charity’s plea to protect historic Kett’s Oak

Kett's Oak is in the running for England’s Tree of the Year

Kett's Oak is in the running for England’s Tree of the Year - Credit: Archant

For centuries it has stood as a reminder of a key moment in this region's history.

Now, a charity wants to add Norfolk's Kett's Oak to a register of nationally significant trees, to guarantee they are all safe from planners.

The Woodland Trust believes there is a need to classify and protect such sites, to preserve them for future generations.

Current planning guidance says ancient woodland and veteran trees must be protected – but does not cover nationally important trees.

Kett's Oak was made famous by Robert Kett who, in 1549, led peasants from Wymondham to Norwich to protest against the enclosure of land by landowners.


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It was under the oak tree, which stands on the B1172 near Hethersett, that the rebels were said to have met in what became known as the Norfolk Rebellion.

A national register would enable developers to locate special trees when preparing planning applications and then seek to protect them.

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Jill Butler, ancient tree specialist at the Woodland Trust said: 'No systematic approach to identify and formally register important trees in the UK has ever been undertaken, and many of our nationally important trees go unnoticed and are unprotected. Our campaign is a call to create a formal register of nationally important trees like Kett's Oak.'

The register would list trees which meet agreed criteria, recognising their historical, ecological and/or cultural value, as well as offering a useful tool for planners and landowners. It could help tree owners access support such as specialist advice and grants.

'Once lost, we cannot resurrect these trees like man-made objects but so much depends on their survival – they are part of our history, our culture, and are vital for a whole variety of wildlife,' Ms Butler said.

'Hundreds of specialist species from fungi to invertebrates and lichens can only survive in old trees.'

The Woodland Trust is working with Country Living magazine on the campaign and is asking people to get involved by visiting www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/vitrees

Do you have a story? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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