Seeds of The Horse Chestnut or Conker Tree (Aesculus hippocastanum)

Conkers (Horse chestnut seeds)
Horse chestnut seeds are called conkers

While not a native tree, characterful flowers, leaves and seeds have made the horse chestnut tree so wildly grown that it is (or should be) part of every British childhood. Tough, spiky cases with an inner layer of padding protect large, polished chestnut-coloured seeds (conkers) while they form.

One of my memories of Autumn ’22 will be standing under the canopy of the biggest horse chestnut tree in Bold Venture Park to see if any fine conkers were left in the leaf litter underneath, a habit that dies hard. Better than that, I soon discovered, turn and turn about, conkers tippling their balance from unreadiness to ripeness in a decisive instant were slowly, heavily, falling around me. Continue reading “Seeds of The Horse Chestnut or Conker Tree (Aesculus hippocastanum)”

Attack on Nature: Do We Care?

Metal owl, back alley, Darwen, Lancs

Recent government announcements have united the UK’s leading nature charities in protest. Issues include:

  • Proposals that weaken our Habitat Regulations.
  • Creating large enterprise zones which will reduce the need for planning permission in areas that currently include, for example, Special Protection Areas for birds.
  • Rolling back the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) that encourages farmers to protect nature in favour of the old, often criticised method of paying landowners a set amount per acre of land owned.
  • An ongoing drought is drying up rare chalk rivers and all of our rivers fail to meet the chemical standards set for them.
  • British Woodland is becoming less diverse.
  • The UK is one of the most nature depleted countries, in the bottom 10% globally and last among the G7 group.

The Royal Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Birds (RSPB) has been leading the response. I’m not a bird photographer, so I’m using owl art for this post, owls being an old symbol of wisdom. And because art might be the only way future generations know some of the wildlife our society takes for granted.

Continue reading “Attack on Nature: Do We Care?”