Saturday, 30 April 2011

Shifnal, Telford and Stourbridge

Shifnal Butts Walk, Manor Walk and Lodge Hill Walk

21 + 7 caches - 6 mile walk

We woke up to another beautiful sunny morning so really looking forward to a good walk .  Our son Steve (aka drempels) had asked if he could come along with us today (anything to get out of revising ), I was really pleased as it's not often we all go out caching together these days.

Decided to start the day off with this new series in the small market town of Shifnal, which is situated about 3 miles East of Telford.

We parked at the co-op which has free parking all day and set off, starting at  #6, then we were soon out into countryside.  An enjoyable walk, all caches were fairly easy to find with good co-ords.

We met cachers Spekey and Anniepeg on our way round and bumped into them a couple of times after that too, towards the end of the walk we bumped into BrilloBrigade, it's always great to meet new people out caching.

Towards the end of the walk it got a little confusing, some of the routes weren't obvious on the map and we probably ended up walking further than we needed to but we got there in the end and after 3 hours we were back at the car for our lunch.


View from 'Telford Town Park'

Then it was off to Telford.  A few weeks back a new series had come up - Goosey's Trail and Wild Goosey series, we had read mixed reports on whether the series was bikeable so thought we'd go and reccy the area for suitability ready for our return another day.  We plotted a short circular walk of 2 miles and found 10 caches.  We have to say that the park is very pleasant to walk in and is very popular with dog walkers and families and looks great for cycling.  A lot of the caches were very well hidden and took quite some searching and were hidden well off the main paths, we can appreciate that a lot of thought and expense has gone into setting this series all with great containers.  Part of the walk takes you very close to Wonderland a theme park aimed at young children, you can see dinosaurs and gnomes sitting in the trees as you walk by.  We completed this part in about 2 hours then everyone was getting hungry so we headed off to McDs for a well earnt cachers tea.

Arboreal Adventures

On our way home we stopped off at Bunkers Hill Wood near Stourbridge to do the Arboreal Adventures caches, our son wasn't able to join us on our last visit so was really keen for a spot of tree climbing to round off the day.  All the Arboreal Adventures caches we'd done previously had been archived and republished so we decided this time, for the ones that required climbing or anything else extreme, Steve could find and retrieve the caches.

Eeek a bull!

A thoroughly enjoyable walk around Bunkers Hill Wood until the sun went down then it was home. A great way to finish off a fantastic family day out.

The end of a great day!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Church Westcote

St Mary the Virgin Church, Church Westcote

Westcote Wander

A series of 20 caches on a 5 mile circular walk

We were really keen to do this series as we love the Cotswolds and have enjoyed many walks here over the years.We parked near the church in Church Westcote to start this walk.

Church Westcote is a pretty little village near Stow on the Wold.   The walk starts at the church and then into beautiful countryside, downhill with great views, through lovely woodland, along good footpaths, eventually the walk brings you to the village of Icomb then back up towards Church Westcote which incidentally is home to Kate Winslett and movie director husband Sam Mendes, they live in the Manor house in the village and the walk takes you very near to their house.

Most of the hides are easy to find but some were quite tricky.  A lot of thought has gone into this series and our favourite hide of the series was Hillside Plantation, a very clever hide that I found by pure determination, very good and not one we've ever come across before, no spoilers here of course but if you do it we're sure you'll agree it's a good one.

The only cows we saw on the walk were in the last field, luckily they weren't a problem for us, they were down the far end and were lying down and seemed to hot and sleepy to move (thank goodness )

All too soon the walk was over and we were back at the car, a thoroughly enjoyable walk in beautiful weather which we completed in 3 hours.

Westcote Wander

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Wychbold and Droitwich

Wychbold Wander

19 caches on a 5.3 mile circular walk

The children have gone back to school today after the Easter break, a real shame as it's our daughter's 15th birthday today and she'd have loved a nice walk ...... she never misses a chance to tell people how we made her walk 12 miles on her 12th birthday , if she'd been off school then we'd have arranged a nice little 15 mile walk....... Anyway just the two of us today to do this fairly close to home walk in an area we know very well but we've only walked on some of these paths before.

We parked on the verge next to Wychbold Wander - The Finishing Post and had intended on doing the series in reverse order but our searching was interrupted by some guys from the Wildlife Trust informing us that we needed a permit to walk in the nature reserve, it was difficult to explain that we weren't actually going for a walk in the reserve but just mooching around for tupperware so we decided to cross the road and continue on to Wychbold Wander - Start, nice easy find to start us off and then we were on our way.

We really enjoyed our walk which we completed in 3 hours, this included stopping for a picnic at the railway bridge and taking a wrong turning at Wychbold Wander - Bridge 41, not sure what happened but we weren't paying attention and didn't read the instructions properly once we were on the right road it was obvious where to go.

Wychbold Wander

Then it was off to Droitwich to do a couple of caches, one of them was Droitwich - St Peter  we pulled into the car park and were immediately blocked in, the small car park was complete grid lock, we've never seen anything like it, the car park is right next to a primary school but not actually owned by the school.  Realising we were going to be stuck for a while we left the car and headed off to the cache.  On our return to the car park we spoke to a dog walker, she was furious as there was no way out of the car park for her, she said she'd already been stuck for over 20 mins, luckily our car was closer to the exit so we didn't have to wait too long but it should be a warning to anyone attempting this one around school times.

On our way home we stopped off at Gateway Park a lovely little spot by the recently restored Droitwich canal. then it was off home after a fab day out in beautiful sunshine.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A mini break in Wiltshire

We had been planning a family Easter break away in Wiltshire for some time but other commitments meant we had to shorten it to just two days away, our son wasn't able to join us due to work so it was just the three of us, we even left Poppy and Whisper at home, they are getting to the age now where they need a rest day after a longer walk.

Our main reason for our trip to the area was to tackle the Corton Ring which is the last of the big trails in the area.  So we pencilled that in for the Tuesday but headed down on the Monday to do the North Urchfont Series and Bratton Ring en route to the Travelodge in Warminster.

North Urchfont Series

Crossing the tracks

17 caches + 2 on a 4 mile circular walk

The walk starts in the small rural village of Urchfont which is about 7 miles from Devizes and takes you through very pleasant countryside.  All caches were well hidden but easy to find.  A very enjoyable walk which we completed in 2 hours.

North Urchfont

Bratton Ring

Bratton Ring
11 caches + 2 on a 2.9 mile circular walk

We parked in Bratton which is a small village on the outskirts of Salisbury Plain and then it was a steep climb to the top of Combe Hill where the views were absolutely stunning.  The walk takes you around the top of Combe Hill and then back down via some very interesting steps to the church then back to the car.  A lovely walk with great views all around which took 2 hours to complete.

Bratton Ring

On Monday evening we realised that we were only about 10 or so miles from Dorset so nipped down there for a couple of caches to colour in that county on our UK counties stats map.

Corton Ring

The end of the walk

44 caches + 2 on a 12 mile circular walk (which can be split into two 6 mile walks if preferred)

Tuesday morning we set off fairly early to do the Corton Ring, a very chilly start and very cloudy so we were expecting wet weather but in fact before we were even halfway round the sun was shining, it was a blazing hot day and we were a little over-dressed.

The paths were all well marked and there were no encounters with local livestock.  All the caches were a variety of hides and sizes and easy to find, just the sort of caching we like.

Book Swap

When we arrived back in Corton we walked past this very unusual use of a telephone box, it was the village bookswap, what an excellent idea, our bookworm daughter said she would love something like this near us

A very enjoyable walk which we completed in 7 hours, this included 2 short refreshment breaks.

Corton Ring

Then all too soon it was time to set off home.  A thoroughly enjoyable couple of days of walking and caching!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Another trip to the Northampton area

After dropping our son off at work this morning we headed up to the Northampton area to do the Little Cachers Trail, Big Cachers Trail and FD's Trail.  The forecast was for yet another hot sunny day so we were really looking forward to the walks.

Cedar of Lebanon

The Little Cachers Trail and Big Cachers Trail could be joined together and done as one walk so that was what we did.

Little Cachers Trail

Big Cachers Trail

18 caches on a 4.8 mile circular walk

A very enjoyable walk in lovely countryside, only 1 dog proof stile and plenty of streams for our dogs to have a drink and cool off in.

There was 1 field of cows to walk through but we stuck right to the edge and the whole way round I was performing mental trigonometry to ensure at all times there was an escape route even if that meant jumping into a bramble bush and over a barbed wire fence .  Also a field of horses that were no problem at all, just a little inquisitive.

All in all a fab walk that we completed in 3 hours, then back to the car for our butties

East of Northampton Again

FD's Trail

15 plus 2 extra caches on a 4.3 mile circular walk

FD's Trail follows the footpaths and byways in the Nene Valley near to Earls Barton. The trail runs parallel to the River Nene incorporating some lakes that were formed from previous sand and gravel extraction and also incorporates an old green lane.

Some of the caches were easy to find but others had no hints or very cryptic hints and took a lot longer to find which was hard going in the heat of the day.  Also the stretch of the walk that took you along a green lane was strewn with fly-tipping, in fact it was some of the worst we've seen on a cache series, what a pity it's been allowed to get in such a poor state and has become one big dumping ground.  Once off this track the walk was quite pleasant.  We met cachers Stucuk and TT at Danger Overhead and Below, enjoyed a chat in the shade of the trees then continued on for the rest of the series together.

There were no dog proof stiles on the walk, plenty of places for dogs to cool off and have a drink, only one field of cows at the end and they weren't any trouble at all.

Completed the walk in 3 hours then it was back to the car and off to McDonalds YAY!!!!

FD's Trail

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Caching Around Redditch

.......... and still the great sunny weather continues! Had to stay closer to home this weekend due to work commitments so decided to clear up some of the local unfound caches.

Lover's Walk

7 caches on a 1.75 mile circular walk

A very pleasant walk that takes you around the perimeter of Bordesley Meadows.  It was nice to walk around the meadows again, we used to come here regularly when our children were very young and we lived not all that far away in Webheath.  All the caches were easy to find apart from Spooky Tree, we found the spooky tree and the wasps nest but no sign of the cache, reading the logs on our return home it sounded like it should've been an easy find but one of the logs did mention that the cache was 'pushed well in' so we'll return another day after it's been found.

You can also visit Forge Mill Museum and Bordesley Abbey Visitor Centre, it's definitely worth a look, I remember taking the children there a few years ago and it was really interesting.  The needle museum tells the story of needle making in Victorian times.  There is an entrance fee into the museum but if you're a resident of Redditch then you can get in for free on Wednesdays.

We completed the walk in 1 hour and 25 mins.

Bordesley Meadows, Redditch

Then it was off to another area of Redditch to complete some more of the Brockhill Circuit caches before heading home.

Evening Dog Walk from Morton Underhill

Wild Garlic

It's great now the lighter nights are with us again, it's given us a chance to do some of the caches we've been saving over the winter for evening dog walks.  Parked in Morton Underhill and walked to Badger Copse and Underhill.  Both sides of the track on the way to Badger Copse were lined with Wild Garlic, I don't think we've ever seen so much of it in one place before.  The views at the top of the hill were stunning, a very peaceful walk in lovely countryside, we didn't see another soul just the sound of birds and other wildlife.  A couple of the stiles were dog proof and a bit of a struggle with our dogs.  Just made it back to the car before dark after a 2½ mile walk with bats flying low over our heads.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Sunny Sunday

Decided to make the most of the sunny weather this weekend and get out caching again.  A new series had come up in Beoley during the week so thought we'd do that in the morning then complete the Special-Ops series in the afternoon.  Just the two of us caching today, Beth was taking part in a D of E walk and Steven was at home revising hard for upcoming exams, no Poppy and Whisper either, they had a long walk yesterday so we'd given them a day off today .

Unlucky for Some by The Webbies

13 caches on a 4¼ mile circular walk set in the countryside around Beoley and Holt End.  The series has been set to celebrate Master Webbie becoming a teenager.

We decided to start the walk near #9 as Mark had already been out and got FTF on #8, #12 and #13 on Wednesday night.  It's lovely to be out caching in just shirts and not worry about layers, waterproofs and gloves, the weather really was perfect for caching.

There weren't any cows when we did the walk but did note in a previous log that there were cows between #5 and #6, they must've been in a different field this morning.

All caches were easy to find with good hints.  All in all a very pleasant walk which we completed in 2 hours.

Unlucky for Some/a>

Then it was off to complete the Special-Ops series by the Mwahppets.  We'd completed Delta during the week and enjoyed it so  much we vowed to be back very soon to complete the rest of the series.  Took lots of great photos of our mission but unfortunately we can't use any as it would spoil the fun for everyone else but safe to say we had a fabulous time doing the series, a great deal of thought and effort has gone into setting this series which we really appreciate.

Is this the rogue agent?

Saturday, 9 April 2011

A Sunny Day Caching in Bozeat

Not a cloud in the sky

Beast of Bozeat Series

12 caches on a 2.3 mile circular walk

Spotted this new series come up last weekend just south of Wellingborough, intrigued by the 'Beast' so decided to return to the area today as there were still lots of caches we hadn't yet found.

The forecast was for sun today so we even packed the sun cream into the caching bag!  Parked at the suggested parking to start this walk.  The caches were all well hidden and at the start quite tricky to spot but once we realised what we were looking for they got much easier.  Quite a bit of work has gone into setting up the caches for this series. There were no dog proof stiles on the route and no cows to contend with, all in all a very pleasant walk on good paths which we completed in 1 hour 25 mins.

Then it was back to the car for a quick bite to eat.  When we returned to the car park there were two familiar cars, TAG's and Stag Ramblers' , we did have a quick chat with Stag Ramblers on the phone but unfortunately we didn't meet any other cachers today.

Beast of Bozeat

Bozeat Baker's Dozen

13 caches on a 4 mile circular walk

After lunch we set off on the second series of the day, it had really warmed up now so no fleeces needed, after such a long winter it's lovely to get a few days of sunshine.  A thoroughly enjoyable walk in very pleasant countryside, once again no dog proof stiles and no cows!  Walks are so much more relaxing when there are no bovine beasts to contend with.  There was even a pond half way round for Poppy & Whisper to cool off in.
Cooling off in the pond

All the caches were once again well hidden but not too difficult to find.

We passed a very handy little Spar shop near the end of the walk so popped in to get ice lollies.

Ice lollies!

Completed the walk in a little under 2½ hours.

Bozeat Bakers Dozen

Then it was time to head home after a really fab day, picking up a few drive-bys on the way, ticking off another 4 'Just Northamptonshire' caches and stopping off at McDs for a cacher's tea.  There are still loads more caches in the area so we'll be back very soon.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Rowney Green & Bordesley

The last couple of weekends we've been spending time doing the things we used to do before caching took over our lives .  So we decided to take a day off work today to get some caching done and we certainly picked the right day as the sun was already shining when we set off at 9.30.  A couple of new series had come up just north of Redditch so that was where we headed off to.

Rowney Green Loop

16 caches on a 3.4 mile circular walk

A very pleasant walk in the countryside around Rowney Green along good footpaths, some that we'd walked before and some new ones.  Completed the walk in 1 hour and 20 mins.

Rowney Green

We were about to head over to Bordesley for our second series of the day when we noticed we were not far from Special-Ops - Delta.  Intrigued by the cool name we decided to see what it was all about.  A very clever cache which we can't say too much about as it would definitely spoil the surprise for other cachers.  It reminded us of some caches that we did in the early days of caching, excellent narrative on the cache page and great final location.  Looking forward to completing the rest of the series very soon.

Bordesley Park Loop

18 caches on a 4.5 mile circular walk

Parked on the verge next to Bordesley Park Loop #1 and off we went.  We were glad we'd left our dogs at home today as there were quite a number of dog proof stiles. (although they weren't too impressed when we went off with walking boots and caching bag without them ).

All caches were easy to find with good co-ords and hints.  Once again a very pleasant walk which we completed in just under 2½ hours.

Bordesley Park Loop

Decided to make the most of such a beautiful day and do a spot of evening caching too.  It's great now the lighter evenings are here at last.  We headed over to Feckenham after tea with the dogs and found five caches starting at Wylde Moor, a lovely evening walk in very peaceful countryside.