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Dorset tree on shortlist for Britain's best

Tolpuddle Martyr's Tree has made the shortlist Credit: Woodland Trust

A tree at the heart of the movement for workers' rights is among those shortlisted for Tree of the Year.

In 1834, under Tolpuddle Martyr's Tree, a sycamore in Tolpuddle, Dorset, six agricultural labourers met and formed a trade union, prompting a charge of taking an illegal secret oath and leading to a sentence of seven years hard labour in Australia.

They were pardoned in 1836 following public outcry and the tree is a place of pilgrimage for trade unionists.

The public are asked to vote for their favourite tree in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for the Woodland Trust's Tree of the Year contest, with the winning one in each country entered into 2016's European Tree of the Year competition.

More than 200 nominations for special trees from the public have been whittled down to shortlists for each country.

You can vote for your favourite tree by visiting the website here.


Activists walk 128 miles to Tolpuddle Festival

The procession is an annual highlight of the festival Credit: Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival

A group of activists has completed a 128-mile walk to Tolpuddle in Dorset in memory of the founders of the trade union movement.

The Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival celebrates six farm workers who started the first trade union in 1834.

A group of activists, co-operative farmers and artists walked from Plymouth Harbour to the festival.

The Tolpuddle Pilgrims walked from Plymouth Credit: Tolpuddle Pilgrimage Facebook

Thousands of people are expected at the festival, which runs until tomorrow.

The Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival remembers six agricultural labourers who formed a "friendly society" - a forerunner to a trade union - and swore an illegal oath to protect their falling wages.

They were sentenced to seven years' transportation to an Australian penal colony but were given a complete pardon after nationwide protests and returned to their homeland.

The main stage Credit: Tolpuddle Festival

Lock your windows - asbestos warning after barn fire

Residents are being urged to lock their windows after asbestos was discovered in the roof of barn which is on fire. More than 20 fire fighters are tackling the blaze at Creech Holding near Tolpuddle in Dorset. The barn is just to the south of the A35. Crews were called at 11.53am.

Dorset Fire & Rescue said the asbestos risk was currently minimal, but as a precaution residents are advised to remain indoors and close windows.