The glossy brown seeds of the horse chestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum) ripen at around the same time as the start of the autumn term. When I was a child the walk to and from school at this time of year often involved detours to find the largest conkers. They are actually poisonous to horses but deer can eat them. In the past they were used to make a kind of natural detergent and some people believe that the smell of fresh ones can deter spiders. This conker came from one of the large mature trees near the Wincanton depot that are beginning to show their autumn colour.
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