Driving past a large mature blotchy looking conker tree this weekend in Cwmbran reminded me of a national survey for the non native horse chestnut moth (Cameraria ohridella). It seems these trees are under attack from a micro moth, first recorded in the UK in 2002, where its mines sometimes causes extensive discolouring of the leaf and early defoliation. This got me thinking of all the conker trees I knew as a kid, and as a grown up kid, so give Abersychan Park a quick visit just to check if the tree that produced the mega 'hundred and oner' in 1971 was, a) still there, and b) was it supporting the dreaded moth.
Sure enough I was able to confirm both positively. However it appears the moth has only recently found this tree as mines were infrequent and present in low numbers. If you know of any horse chestnuts where you live why check them out for the very distinctive leaf mines. For some excellent photos see the British Leaf Miners website.