Conker players forced to import from Germany for World Championships as heatwave

Conkers have been significantly smaller this year Conker players have been forced to bring conkers over from Germany for the World Championships after the heatwave coupled with strong winds caused horse chestnut trees to be bare.The conkers which have survived the unusual weather conditions are too small to play with, organisers have said, worrying they will have to start importing the nuts en masse.The Scottish championships, due to be held in Peebles next month,  have already been cancelled because the harvest was too poor and they were unable to locate enough in time for the event.The trust looked at importing chestnuts from Germany but has been unable to find a supply ahead of the contest.Similar fears have hit the World Conker Championships, which will be held on the 14th October in Northamptonshire.St.John Burkett, one of the organisers, told The Telegraph: “We are asking people to collect conkers for the World Championships now. Whilst we’re hoping that some will still be on the trees nearer the time, and will have time to grow a little larger, we can’t be sure. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “We imported conkers from Germany following the drought in 1977 and may need to do the same again this year – we are not yet quite sure. Conkers have been significantly smaller this yearCredit:Geoff Pugh “We have checked the restrictions on importing plant materials into the country, and conkers are unrestricted from the European Union, providing they are from healthy trees.”We already have one offer of conkers from Germany, where apparently there are many healthy and fruitful trees. George Embleton, from the North West, has just returned from Germany and has brought some conkers back with him, as he found them large and dropping from the trees in the area he stayed.”The committee said that trees are already empty after last week’s storms stripped the young horse chestnuts from branches.Playing conkers is usually an activity which takes place in the middle of autumn, and there are worries many will not think to collect them until it is too late.Mr Burkett said: “The impact is that by the time children remember to collect and play with conkers, many will be gone, fallen from the trees and sunk into the soil or covered with falling leaves.”The great joy of collecting the beautiful objects will be missed, and the impact of playing with smaller conkers will not be nearly as satisfying.”

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