Hughenden's champion tree

Measuring the champion horse chestnut tree

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 trunk which clinched its championship status. Until the Hughenden tree claimed the crown the largest known was at Whitchurch in Hampshire, it’s just 13 centimetres smaller.

Whilst it is impossible to date precisely the chestnut is over 300 years old, pre-dating many of the other trees at Hughenden which were planted by Benjamin Disraeli in the 19th century. It produces an abundance of conkers every year.

Special trees at special places

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 and publishes the official Champion Tree database.

Ancient trees need open growing conditions, which can be found in places like parklands, old royal hunting forests and wood pastures. At Hughenden, the formal parkland was originally set out with limes, horse chestnuts, walnuts and sycamore, against a backdrop of the native beech woodlands.

Disraeli had a passion for trees and together with his wife Mary Anne they added to the estate’s panoramic beauty, bringing their favourite British trees together with significant trees from around the world.

With its open parkland, rolling hills and woodland walks through unspoilt Chilterns countryside, Hughenden is today one of the most popular beauty spots in the area. Visit with family and friends or your faithful hound and take on one of our four waymarked walks or simply see where the day takes you.

Caring for the countryside

The parkland and countryside at Hughenden has two members of staff and 40 volunteers working every day to maintain the 700 acres under our care.

The countryside team of volunteers carry out invaluable work helping to protect and preserve the habitats around the estate. If you'd like to become a countryside volunteer or take part in a one-off project, please get in touch with us.