Overview of the teams worming - Credit: Submitted

Worms turn again as festival returns after two-year break

Torbay Weekly

Blackawton International Festival of Worm Charming returned after a two-year break as part of a multitude of events with a Village Day packed with activities for all of the family.
The day celebrated the worm, as well as raising funds for Devon Air Ambulance and other local good causes and charities……..and having fun. Other events included a dog show; entertainment; model car racing in the Village Hall; live music at the George Inn; and a massive charity auction.
However, the main event was without doubt the 36th Blackawton International Festival of Worm Charming with separate categories for adults and under 11’s.
A ‘Toast to the Worm’ at the George Inn was followed by a procession to Secret Field with folk musicians, a Samba band and fancy dress.

Teams worming - Credit: Submitted


The big build up to the event started with the ‘worming up’ period for five minutes, followed by fifteen minutes of worm charming, all under the watchful eye of the Worm Master and other Worm officials.  
Much fun and revelry ensued amongst the fifty plus entries before the results could be announced. The recent long spell of dry weather ensured that there was little chance of beating the 1986 record of 149 worms.
The under 11’s class was won by the Worm Raiders team of George Tucker, Ella Steele, Indigo Dean and Arthur Dickinson with 27 worms. Second were the Worm Terminators with 22 worms and third were the Wriggly Rileys with 15 worms.
The Pirates team of Paul, Sophia and Ali Girardot were winners in the adult class with 30 worms. Second were Team Wiggles with 18 worms third was team Judith Charmers with 15 worms.
Worm charming, worm grunting, and worm fiddling are methods of attracting earthworms from the ground.  Most worm charming methods involve vibrating the soil, which encourages the worms to the surface. In 2008, researchers from Vanderbilt University claimed that the worms surface because the vibrations are similar to those produced by digging moles, which prey on earthworms. The same technique is used by many species of bird, which devour the worms as they appear above ground – lovely!