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On your marks, get set...slow!

PUBLISHED: 11:09 21 March 2013 | UPDATED: 21:15 05 April 2013

SOMERSET families suffering with excessive garden snails due to the weather (March, 2013) are invited to put them to good use by entering free races at a garden centre in the county.

SOMERSET families suffering with excessive garden snails due to the weather (March, 2013) are invited to put them to good use by entering free races at a garden centre in the county.

Monkton Elm Garden & Pet Centre is hosting a Garden Pest Weekend on April 27 and 28 and as part of the event there will be snail races.

Norma Moore, General Manager of the award-winning, independent family-run garden centre, which is located at Monkton Heathfield between Taunton and Bridgwater, said: The weekend will include snail racing, which is a pastime that involves two or more snails racing across a track usually no longer than 14 inches long. The snails are marked with a number or colour to distinguish them.

We hope lots of children come in for the event and enter their snails in the races, which will be free.

The races will take place at 11am and 2pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Those entering competitors will be given a numbered sticker for the shell of their snail or snails.

Norma added: We will have few contenders from our gardens to race, but people are invited to bring in any snails from their own gardens to take part in these races, as long as they take them away again afterwards!

The Garden Pests Weekend also includes 50 things you did not know about slugs and the latest ways of banishing them from your garden or encouraging other wildlife to keep the population down.

Norma continued: Slugs and snails are two of our biggest enemies, as Im sure any keen gardener will agree.With the all year round climate change we are currently experiencing, we are getting more mild, damp weather, which helps the population to increase.

There will be in-house experts on-hand on both days to help answer any questions visitors may have about the nations most disliked garden pests.

The weekend also includes a guide to other common pests the gardener might encounter and how to stop them in their tracks. There will be a free pest clinic on both days where visitors can bring in their own plants or pests and the team will help identify and treat their problems.

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