Warwickshire in the grip of conker shortage

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TRADITIONAL conker hunts may be tougher than expected this autumn with Warwickshire in the grip of a conker shortage.

The cold wet spring meant that insects which pollinate the horse chestnut trees were not around and the flowers were lost due to heavy rain.

Ken Simons, Warwickshire County Council’s County forestry officer, said: “The wet start to the year has had a severe impact, and this is coupled with many of our common horse chestnuts suffering attack from a range of pests and diseases, namely bacterial bleeding canker, leaf miner and leaf blotch.

“All of these are threatening to remove horse chestnut trees from the landscape in the coming years. Climatic conditions are also stressing these and other trees due to the irregular cycle of drought and flood years we have been experiencing over the last decade.

“What conkers there are this year will be generally small and sparsely distributed.

“The loss of these trees will have a significant impact throughout Warwickshire as many were planted in highly visible locations and as memorial trees.”