Eye spy an Earthcache
Earthcache is the perfect activity to enjoy the great outdoors, see some interesting geology, and test your knowledge. Why not have a go this summer…
Go to www.earthcache.org
Written by Dave Stadley, a Building Stones Volunteer.
A couple of years ago, we reported on the publication of our first Earthcache, a variety of Geocache. January 2016 saw the publication of our 8th Earthcache; actually the 9th we’ve prepared but more of that later. To complete an Earthcache you must go to a specified location and search for something interesting. You must then answer a series of questions to show that you have found the features and “log” your visit.
As at January, 2016, our published caches have enjoyed approximately 3000 unique page visits, from not just the UK but numerous countries abroad including Denmark, Australia, India and Canada. Already there have been almost 200 physical visits to the locations nominated and in excess of 200 photographs uploaded to the webpages, conveying the enjoyment experienced by visitors to the caches. The logs left on the web pages are generally very complimentary too, as visitors, often local, express their surprise about features they’d not previously observed or appreciated.
The majority of these visits are likely to be by people with little or no prior interest in geology or of Earth Heritage Trust, hence the challenge (the conditions for being granted permission to log a ‘find’ on the geocaching website) is kept intentionally straightforward to maximise the inclusivity of the sites. In completing the caches, visitors are introduced to topics covering local geology, local quarries and the types of stone used in the construction of local buildings.
However, it is not always plain sailing when setting up the Earthcaches. Our first foray onto Bredon Hill, looking at ‘competent’ stones and the King & Queen stones, has been disrupted by the disappearance of the information sign used by the visitor to answer questions about the location, whilst our attempt to publish a cache on top of the hill met with the discovery that it fell within the boundary of an ancient monument and consequently, we are mandated to seek the permission of the landowners. These are both currently works in progress.
Looking forward, as we try to resolve the challenges on Bredon Hill, we have started planning our next pair of Earthcaches around the town of Kington. Here we are hoping to use one cache to highlight some of the natural features along the disused Tramway and the other to showcase some of the notable features of building stones used in the town. Together they should comprise a leisurely and enjoyable walk of a little over a mile.