Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
It was the Saturday before Christmas, and we had loads of things we *should* be doing. So – obviously – we found ourselves in Crowthorne, parking the geocar for a morning’s geocaching. As the December days are short, the paths are now muddy, and we had (ahem) loads to do, we chose somewhere local, and likely to have good paths. The venue was Buckler’s Park, a new housing development in progress on the site of the old Transport Research Laboratory http://www.landghomes.com/developments/bucklers-park The houses are/will mostly be on the side of the site where the TRL buildings were, and a large part of the rest of the site, where the test track was, has been turned into a country park. (Editor’s note: The name comes from Buckler’s cars, which were made in Crowthorne in the 1950s-1960s.)
There’s parking here, overlooking the new houses on one side and the park on the other, and we started the morning by finding a puzzle cache based on the history of the TRL, which we had looked up before setting out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_Research_Laboratory After reading some well put-together noticeboards telling us about the history of the site (among many other things, part of the film ‘Quadrophenia’ was filmed here), we set off along a well surfaced and unmuddy path into woods.
There are two new cache series here, ‘New Buckler’s Forest TRL Series’ parts 1 and 2, both placed during the autumn of 2018. The caches are set at regular intervals, close to well surfaced paths, and all are made of/hidden in materials derived from the site or chosen to blend in with the places they are hidden; there are no ill-disguised film canisters or out-in-the-open plastic boxes to be found here; I’m trying not to spoil it by giving away exactly what we found, or where. The country park has retained some parts of the old test site, and there are loads and loads of newly planted trees, lots of varieties, several ponds, and streams newly unearthed from being culverted under the concrete. On this morning, at probably at many other times, this park is hugely popular with walkers, runners, cyclists of all speeds, and dogs in all sizes, shapes and muddiness; it’s hard to find a quiet moment to search for a geocache!
We walked past the site of ‘The Pan’, which makes for both interesting signposts and some old and obvious jokes, past ‘Hill Start Hill’, and on to a section of old tarmac which must have been an experimental cycle lane junction, complete with road signs (they were tested on this site), and on towards the northern edge of the park.
The trees thinned, and we emerged onto a wide section of tarmac which turned away from us, the ‘Banked Curve’. This is part of the test circuit from the TRL, where cars used to hurtle around at very high speeds. It’s 10m from bottom to top of the banking, and we both tried, and failed to climb it, though, annoyingly, dogs have no problems. Around the edges of the banking are small green boxes (a bit like telecoms boxes), monitoring boxes left over from testing days, and these have all been kept, some re-used as minibeast hotels, some to become mini-museums or libraries.
Turning back towards the car park, we passed the old fire ponds and fire tower, plus a relic of something automotive … a winner’s podium … strange.
After a few more minutes we were back at the car park, and two hours had vanished in a flash. Ten caches attempted, ten found, and an interesting country park. It’s good now, though very, very new. Come the spring, with new growth, it’ll be lovely, and even better with a few year’s maturity, a good place to return to as it develops.