In the Pleasure Grounds by the Lower Lake at Nostell, the bark of some of the old sweet chestnuts twists to the right while others twist to the left but on the majority of these old trees the fluting on the bark goes straight up, often dotted with knobbly swellings on the swollen bases of the trunks.
The two scars where the bark has been stripped from the lower trunk (above) might be the result of a lightning strike. The tree’s sap is instantly converted into steam, with explosive results.
The horse chestnut, which isn’t a close relation of the sweet chestnut, has scaly bark. This section of bark on the bough of an old horse chestnut, growing out towards the lake near the Cascade Bridge, has been worn and polished by generations of adventurous children so that it’s come to resemble the skin of a reptile.