The best places to find conkers in Norfolk this autumn
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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.
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:
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.
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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.
3. Sandringham Park
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
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.
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.
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.