Autumn is the time when items fall from trees with great regularity. Acorns and conkers can be caught in great numbers. In Ludlow in the first week of October there’s a festival that tests contestant’s catching stamina to the full.

This is the Ludlow Catching Acorns and Conkers Festival a contest that takes place between the hours of 6am and 7pm on seven consecutive days. The trees used in the festival are either English Oak trees or Horse Chestnut trees and a different tree is used each day.

The number of contestants is limited to 30 people each year, so that they can all fit comfortably under one tree. These people comprise the top 20 catchers from the previous year’s contest plus 10 others who have come through the regional pre-qualifying rounds. Competitors can only wear a smock without pockets during the event and are always strip-searched before competition begins just so they aren’t concealing any acorns or conkers about their person. Acorns and conkers are referred to as tree fruit at the festival.

Extract from 40 Humourous British Traditions