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Geocaching

Geocaching is a treasure hunt using GPS (Global Positioning System). Equipped with a GPS device or smartphone, you can use online clues to find hidden containers called caches all across the world.

Geocaching is a great way of exploring new and familiar places and in an exciting way. There are thousands of caches across South Gloucestershire, and finding them can make a day out in the countryside more fun with all members of the family.

Playing

Players hide caches, which are usually waterproof boxes filled with inexpensive treasures and a logbook.

The player then publishes the GPS coordinates of the cache on Geocaching.com for others to view. Other players can search this website for caches near them and use these coordinates and any clues provided to locate the hidden treasure.

Once you find a cache you are welcome to fill in the logbook to record your find. If there are treasures in the box you can also swap an item for something else. The treasures are usually small toys, key rings and other low value trinkets.

You may also find items with a unique code that you use to track its location online. If you take a trackable treasure you should hide it in another geocache and register the new location so that both you and the owner can then watch its journey.

Equipment

Geocaching is easy to try. You don’t need any specialised equipment as you can download free or low cost geocaching apps to most smartphones equipped with GPS. Many manufacturers make dedicated GPS devices for outdoor pursuits and you can use these if you already have one.

If you already have a Smartphone then you can search for ‘geocaching’ in your apps store. There are a number of free and low cost apps for all the major Smartphones to get you started quickly.

Locations

Once you have registered on a geocaching website you will be able to enter your postcode and find the nearest geocache to your home. You’ll probably be surprised at how close the nearest one is! Why not try geocaching for yourself and discover parts of South Gloucestershire that you have never been to. All you need to try geocaching is a handheld GPS receiver, and a sense of adventure!

Easy Steps to geocaching

  1. register for a free basic membership at http://www.geocaching.com/
  2. click hide and seek a cache
  3. enter your postal code and click search
  4. choose any geocache from the list and click on its name
  5. enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS device
  6. use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache
  7. sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location
  8. share your geocaching stories and photos online

Setting up a geocache on land owned by South Gloucestershire Council

Once you have found a number of geocaches you’ll probably want to create your own geocache. Before you do though please take a moment to think carefully about where you wish to place one. If you want to create one on land that is not owned by you, you need to seek the permission of the landowner. To find out who owns the land you can undertake a land search by contacting the Land Registry. If the land is owned by us please follow these rules:

  • register your geocache. Email your contact details to us and include the co-ordinates of the geocache, its name, its type and a walk in description
  • if the location is designated as a local nature reserve or open space we reserve the right to consult any friends groups that may help manage the site and have an opinion. As a result of this consultation we reserve the right to refuse permission to site a geocache
  • ensure the cache container is clearly marked, stating that the content is harmless and giving the placer’s e-mail address or other contact method. Only items that would be deemed safe and acceptable for an unaccompanied child to find should be placed in the cache
  • no cache may be placed in such a way as to risk damage or disturbance to any Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) or Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM)
  • no items of food or drink of any kind should be placed in the cache
  • no lighters, matches or flammable objects should be placed in the cache
  • caches must not be buried and holes must not be dug in order to place a cache. Caches must not be hidden in animal holes or runs
  • trees, plants, fences, walls and other features should never be damaged when placing or seeking a cache
  • maintenance of the cache is the responsibility of the placer
  • when leaving the cache site, after finding or hiding a cache, there must be no visual sign of disturbance
  • all byelaws (where applicable) must be obeyed
  • failure to follow these guidelines may result in permission being withdrawn and your geocache being removed from the hosting website

Further guidelines can be found on the Geocaching Association of Great Britain website.

Local nature reserve designations are mapped nationally on the DEFRA Magic website.

If you don’t have access to a sat nav or other GPS device you can still enjoy a great day out in South Gloucestershire by visiting one of the two permanent orienteering trails, located at the Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve in Bradley Stoke and Warmley Forest Park in Warmley. Both sites have a series of courses for you to discover.

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