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The best places to find conkers in Norfolk this autumn

PUBLISHED: 10:21 17 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:59 17 October 2019

A mother is picking conkers with her husband and daughter. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A mother is picking conkers with her husband and daughter. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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You've either passed them by or have actively gone looking for them, but conker season has arrived and here is where you can find the best ones in Norfolk.

A  little girl with a handful of conkers. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoA little girl with a handful of conkers. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The classic childhood game has been a huge part of British culture over the years and collecting conkers is an annual tradition for many people.

The horse chestnuts have been used to play the popular children's game since 1848 and the first game using them was recorded in the Isle of Wight.

Norwich has had a strange relationship with conkers and back in 2001, Norwich City Council was criticised for wanting to chop down 20 trees in Bluebell Road as they believed that the falling conkers were a danger to cars and passers-by.

However, there are still plenty of places around the county where you can go and scout out the best conker in order to beat the competition:

Conkers (horse chestnut seeds) by a little girl. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoConkers (horse chestnut seeds) by a little girl. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

1. Blickling Estate

Offering over four-and-a-half thousand acres of wood, park and farmland to explore you are bound to find a conker or two. There is also the Jacobean Hall, a formal garden and family activities to entertain everyone.

2. Sheringham Park

This dog-friendly park is the ideal for family day out conker hunting and Autumn also brings an impressive display of colour as the leaves begin to fall and there is also a wide variety of fungi.

Conker exploding on a string. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoConker exploding on a string. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

READ MORE: 11 things to do over October half term in Norfolk

3. Sandringham Park

Autumn colours at Sandringham Country Park. Picture: Simon BamberAutumn colours at Sandringham Country Park. Picture: Simon Bamber

The only place you might find a conker fit for royalty in the Queen's Sandringham Estate, with the gardens originally opened by Edward VII. There is something for everyone with a tea room, transport museum, sculpture trail and outside play area.

4. Foxley Wood

Norfolk's largest remaining ancient woodland, located near Dereham, has plenty of pathways to explore amongst the trees with lots of conkers to collect.

5. Bacton Woods

Autumn arrives at Sheringham Park. Picture: Andrew TaylorAutumn arrives at Sheringham Park. Picture: Andrew Taylor

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Located near North Walsham, Bacton Woods is home to over 30 different types of tree and is perfect for a conker hunt, with a number of dog friendly walking and cycle trails.

Now that you have scouted out your strongest conker it's time to start playing.

Bacton Woods in the autumn sunshine. Picture: David HarperBacton Woods in the autumn sunshine. Picture: David Harper

This conker season, to make sure everyone is playing the same way, here are the rules used by the World Conker Championship...

1) Each player must use a new conker at the start of each game (ideally, a new lace as well). Players cannot re-use conkers from earlier games.

2) The game begins with the toss of a coin. The winner of the toss chooses to strike or receive.

3) A distance of no less than eight inches or 20cm of lace must be between a player's knuckle and their conker.

4) Each player takes three strikes at the opponent's conker before play switches to their opponent. The opponent then takes three strikes and turns alternate in this way until the end of the game.

5) Each strike must be clearly aimed at the nut. There can be no deliberate mis-hits.

READ MORE: 7 places you can pick your own pumpkins in Norfolk

6) The game is decided once one of the conkers is smashed.

7) If a conker is not completely smashed but so little of it remains that it cannot possibly mount a serious attack against its opponent, that conker is out.

8) If both nuts smash at the same time, the match must be replayed.

9) Any nut that is knocked from the lace but not smashed may be re-threaded and the game may be continued.

10) Any player causing a knotting of the laces (a snag) will be noted. Three snags will lead to a disqualification.

11) If a game lasts for more than five minutes then play is halted. Each player is allowed nine further strikes at their opponent's nut, again alternating after every three strikes. If neither conker has been smashed at the end of the nine strikes then the player who strikes the nut the most times during this period is judged the winner.

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