5-23 Carisbrooke Road Leicester LE2 3TQ


More Recent Works

Thursday 2nd November 2023

Earlier Works

The Old Man

Further down the arboretum and situated in the central area stands a very old and grand Horse Chestnut tree. It is currently surrounded by a wooden fence and lots of brambles.

I always think of this tree as being the 'Old Man' of the arboretum. During the last tree survey it was estimated to be about 150 years old. It certainly pre-dates the arboretum.

Richard and David Attenborough had a reputation for climbing trees during their youth.

It is easy to imagine that during the father's residency at Knighton Hall, they must surely have spent many an afternoon in the branches of this chestnut.

It has been fenced off for many years. This is due to health and safety concerns. Old trees may suddenly drop a branch.

It seemed such a shame that this beautifully shaped and still healthy old tree should be hidden away from public gaze and access for such a long time.

After having taken expert advice, it has been decided that better views and some restricted access can be afforded this lovely specimen.

This has been a pending project for a while, and now seemed an appropriate time to make a start.


With loppers, secateurs and a good turnout of volunteers a start was made today. Some of the brambles alongside the path were first to be cut back.

After that our attention was focused on clearing the interior of the fencing, this being the restricted area immediately surrounding the old tree.

Once again it was amazing how the combined team effort made an incredible difference.

I hold my volunteers in high esteem and with good reason. It is on days like this that one really sees what a difference a group of enthusiastic individuals make.

By the end of the day the tree was already viewable and accessible. I am quite sure that regular visitors will be surprised by the difference that this has made.

Once again we have managed to add some more pleasing value to a stroll in the arboretum.

Last year there was quite a stunning display of spring flowers around the old chestnut, but they were not really visible to the public.

Cutting back the undergrowth and self-set saplings has created more space and light.

Fingers crossed that spring rewards us with a more abundant and visible display of early flowers.

The first volunteering session took place in November of last year. The exact date is not known, but this month marks our first anniversary. The year has passed so quickly when I look back. Volunteering will close down during December across the Christmas break to restart again in mid January.

Thank you all for your efforts and positive can do attitude. More importantly thank you for the warmth and humour you bring every week.