We first started geocaching in the September of 2012 when we were finishing our walk along the 87-mile long-distance footpath, The Ridgeway. Today was our first return visit to part of that route.
We decided on combining two circular walks together Turtle’s Trail (16 caches) and Bluebell Loop (8 caches), and the Nuffield Church Micro.
The effect of joining the routes together, and parking in a reasonable place, meant we walked both these circuits the wrong way. This sometimes has advantages, as caches are often ‘behind’ something when approached in order and ‘in front’ when approached from the rear!
It also meant our walk started by walking 3 miles along Grim’s Ditch.
When we walked the Ridgeway previously we HATED Grim’s Ditch. Grim by name and Grim by nature. It was very muddy, the Summer canopy of trees made it very dark and its was… well.. Grim.
Today was different. The canopy hadn’t closed in, and although it had rained in the previous 24 hours, the path was not muddy. In fact the whole footpath was a Spring delight. Rabbits, squirrels, kites, and bluebells – loads of them.
The caches were fairly easy to find (well most of them, there was one we didn’t find, and another we took 15 minutes to find!). Most were simple plastic pots hidden under/in stumps/log or flint.
Our return took us through farmland (where the farmer was washing his tractor), and some managed woodland where many trees had recently been felled. By counting tree ring rings we estimate most of the trees were 25-50 years old.
After the last cache we embarked on the Bluebell Loop. After passing through farmland and a smithy (with a metal elephant in the garden!), we had a final mile or so in a glorious woodland with millions of bluebells.
We ended up at Nuffield Church, where we collected the clue for our location of our final cache of the day. For a small village church it’s remarkable that there are 2 famous people buried there – the founder of Morris Motors and David Frost. With hindsight we should have collected the clues first as we then had to walk half a mile back round our original route.
A brilliant and exhausting days caching – about 8 miles, 24 caches and millions of bluebells!