October 31st 2013
By: Melanie Hollidge

Say the word conkers and if you are over a certain age, pre-health and safety, you’re immediately taken back to your childhood and the school playground.  Days of soaking conkers versus baking them… which was the most effective?  Solid round conkers or ‘cheesers’? Everyone had their preference and the competition was fierce, even at the age of ten! 

The Conker World Championships have been held in October in a village in Northamptonshire since 1965.  There are different categories and competitions for men, women and children.  Since its conception, it has grown to an international competition which is open to all.

There’s an old wives tale which says that conkers keep spiders away, it is believed that the conkers contain a chemical which spiders dislike.  This year there are plenty of spiders and not as many conkers.  Due to the extra sunshine in June and September this year, there are many more spiders than usual. By contrast, this year has seen less conkers because of the horse chestnut leaf miner moth.  This has weakened the trees, making their leaves turn brown and then shrivelled over the summer months, and this resulted in a smaller yield that normal.

Autumn sees the falling of the beautiful shiny brown conkers from the horse chestnut trees which are plentiful in our local parks.  Why not take a walk, and collect a handful.