Duncton Red Horse Chestnut
This is one of The Tree Council’s 60 educational tree planting schemes with children that
were inspired by the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Each tree, provided by The Tree
Council, was chosen and planted by volunteers in the community.
Duncton is a small village in West Sussex, with a population of fewer than 300 but a very strong sense of belonging.
After much discussion of tree varieties, it was decided that we would ask for a red horse chestnut (Aesculus x carnea ‘Briottii’) as our Diamond Jubilee tree.
This was because it would match the mature tree diagonally opposite the proposed planting site on the other side of the main road.
The chosen site is near the children’s playground and the village school, the idea being that the parish council would buy and maintain a circular seat around the tree so that mothers of children playing could sit and talk.
The tree was delivered in mid-April 2013 – a magnificent specimen a good 11 feet
(3.2 metres) tall and already beginning to develop buds, so it needed planting quickly. It had to be transported to the village green tied vertically to the back of an old Land Rover, and made an impressive sight.
Pat Darley and Chris Davies, both parish council members, did the planting. We also added a wire mesh guard around the trunk – there are many rabbits in the area that just love young bark, as do the local deer.
Following the planting the weather was very dry, so the Tree Warden, Chris Davies, transported several rainbutt loads of water, again on the back of the Land Rover. More importantly, nearby residents carried many water buckets, especially during the very hot days.
Our village school, which is federated with Graffham School in the next parish, is a Forest School. This involves the children spending time each week throughout the year, regardless of weather, in the local woods, discovering the richness of the plants and animals that we are so lucky to have in the wild around this area.
Photographs - top to bottom:
- 1. Kestrel Class from Duncton C of E School beside the Jubilee tree.
- 2. The newly-planted horse chestnut, with its wire guard to deter rabbits and deer.