Hughenden's champion tree

Measuring the champion horse chestnut tree

Joe Mayled, National Trust ranger for Hughenden is pleased to announce that one of the veteran trees on the Hughenden estate has been named as the largest horse-chestnut tree in the country, and given the accolade of Champion Tree by the National Tree Register.

A champion tree

The tree, which stands in the Hughenden parkland, has a girth measurement of 7.33 metres (just over 24 feet) and it’s this enormous girth which clinched its championship status. Until the Hughenden chestnut tree claimed its crown, the largest known was at Whitchurch in Hampshire which is 13 centimetres smaller.

'We are so proud of our tree,' says Joe. 'It’s impossible to date precisely but it’s certainly over 300 years old, so it pre-dates many of the other trees at Hughenden which were planted by Benjamin Disraeli in the 19th century. It produces bucket-loads of conkers every year and if it could speak, it would have plenty of stories to tell.'

Conditions for special trees to thrive

Veteran trees need certain growing conditions to thrive and National Trust estates around the country are home to many of the country’s finest. The National Tree Register is a unique record of notable and ancient trees in Britain and Northern Ireland which publishes the official Champion Tree database.

Our estate at Hughenden with its open parkland, chalk stream and beech woodlands are one of the most popular beauty spots in the area, with beautiful walks through unspoilt Chilterns countryside. If you're a family trying to cover more of the 50 Things to do before you are 11¾ list, then its a perfect spot.

The cost of caring for the parkland and countryside

The parkland and countryside at Hughenden takes two members of staff and around 40 countryside volunteers to maintain, with additional costs of around £27,000. 'The National Trust is a charity so we rely on subscriptions, donations and legacies to fund our work,' says Joe. 'Our countryside volunteers carry out invaluable work on our behalf, and we are always keen to welcome more.'

If you'd like to join Joe's regular team of countryside volunteers or take part in a one-off countryside workout, contact Hughenden or search the event list.  Or come to Hughenden to enjoy the many glorious trees we have in our estate.

There are walks to suit all ages at Hughenden and our colour coded walks map will help you discover our champion tree or enjoy some of our panoramic views.