• Wildlife Friendly Otley

HORSE CHESTNUT


The nation’s Horse Chestnut trees are under serious attack from a disease called Bleeding Canker, so it’s been good to see the candle-like blossoms flourishing on the trees in the “Conker Park” next to Grosvenor Terrace. The bees will have been pleased, too, in their search for nectar and pollen. Once pollinated, the blossom gets its pink tinge, which alerts insects to not waste their time and energy on them. These chestnuts are so called because of the horseshoe-shaped marks on their twigs where the leaves fall off. During both world wars the government asked people to collect conkers to assist in the production of the explosive cordite, which requires starch. The trees also had a role in the development of the beer garden: in Germany they were planted over beer cellars because their canopies provided good shade, and their shallow roots didn’t threaten the cellars. In time beer came to be served in these gardens.

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