Become the greatest conkerer

conkers on a horse chestnut tree

Have you ever played conkers? The horse chestnut tree, or 'conker tree' is one of the most important and recognisable trees. In latin, they are known as the aesculus hippocastanum.

Did you know that the conker tree is not native to Britain? However, if you take a look around you, you will see that Shugborough has an abundance of conker trees. They are best known for their conker's, which are perfect for dueling. Is there anything better than finding a big shiny conker underneath its spiny shell?


Whats happening to our trees?
In 2002, a tiny little moth began to lay its eggs on the leaves of conker trees in Britain. Its caterpillars, known as leaf miners, burrow between the skin of the top and bottom of the leaves as they feed on its goodness. The damage they do reduces the trees’ ability to harvest sunlight, which it needs to make food for itself. 


As well as this, many of the damaged leaves around the estate have now become infected with horse chestnut leaf blotch fungus. This fungus can make leaves look like autumn has arrived as early as July. 

horse chestnut leaves with leaf blotch fungus

 
What are we doing about it?
At Shugborough we carry out regular safety checks on our trees and we are closely watching the health of our horse chestnuts. While we have removed some which disease made dangerous, there are still plenty of conker trees across the park and the woods.

So don’t miss out on the thrill of conker hunting. Will you be peeling back that spikey shell and revealing the beautiful shiny chestnut that could turn you into the greatest conkerer? Come to Shugborough and find out!