Getting outdoors doesn’t always mean heading off in to the wilds of the British countryside, no matter how much I wish it did. Sometimes, just being out in the fresh air of your local town or even city is enough to recharge the soul. Raising your lazy backside off the sofa, and exploring the area around you, can be enough to reinvigorate you for the days ahead. Today, as a family, we headed off to the local town of Wolverton and its downhill neighbour in search of a few well hidden geocaches.
Geocaching Wolverton and New Bradwell
Starting out in Wolverton. An old Victorian town built exclusively for the railway between London and Birmingham, and just down the road from us. We began our long walk around these two historic and interesting towns.
Everything started off well, our first find, hidden in a wall cavity of all places, was found in record time; and with very little notice of us by “muggles”. In fact even though it was sat opposite an evangelical church (formerly Wolverton Cinema), and a local pub, there was little footfall passing, as we ducked into the bushes to search.
|Craufurd Arms Pub in Wolverton|
|View up Cambridge Street|
|Finding the Cache|
Things started to go downhill a little from here.
Curtailed Caches and DNFs
Our next cache was meant to be a quick pick one. If you are driving by Wolverton Tesco you can just pop in. However… the road/carpark it was likely in was VERY busy today, and we didn’t really want to risk the kids on the pavement-less road edge, so we decided to skip it.
Next we headed to Wolverton station and another “quick” find. After about 20 minutes looking suspicious hanging about below CCTV cameras, and around the bins, we gave up; deciding cutting our losses was easier than risking arrest for loitering, or worse!
|Tubs against a Victorian Wall|
Crossing the busy road we headed off downhill into New Bradwell.
Nearing the allotments, we ducked into the tall trees, looking resplendent decked out in the browns and reds of autumn; As we crunched and kicked through crackling, sulphur coloured leaves, littering the floor; we began yet another fruitless search. No matter how hard we looked today (see photo below of Tubs deep in the brambles) we couldn’t see for looking, when it came to caches.
|Tubs searching the brambles|
|Autumn Comes to New Bradwell|
|Trees of Orange|
|Hunting in the “tall” trees|
Multi-Caches and Lost Dogs
Getting desperate now for a little success we wandered on through New Bradwell; heading past the war memorial clock tower, in all its 1960’s glory. It does stand out as odd in this town made up of Victorian terraces. And aimed for the church yard and a multi-cache, something we have had good successes with in the past.
|New Bradwell Clock Tower War Memorial|
|St James Church, New Bradwell|
We quickly worked out the clues for the final location, but rather than head straight there popped to the local Co-op for a bite of lunch.
Having sated our appetites, while sat by the local swings and roundabouts of a local park, we once again dived into the caching. Soon we found ourselves deep in the surrounding bushes, caught between park and river and had the cache in hand.
|Geocaching Wolverton and New Bradwell|
Leaving the park we were confronted by a rather large and loose tan coloured dog. Heckles up, teeth bared, the beast barked at us from down the road before rapidly approaching. A break in traffic on the busy through road allowed us to cross sides before the dog arrived, but rather than just rush off and leave the kids of the park to have to face such a large dog alone, we stayed over the road keeping an eye whilst phoning the local police.
Sadly with the dog not obviously being a danger (it wasn’t hugely aggressive once we were over the road and didn’t look too much like it would attack), we were passed on to the dog wardens. However in probably the most ridiculous situation I have ever heard; I was informed if the dog was loose and not cornered or being held by someone they couldn’t send anyone! Fortunately while I was picking my jaw up off the floor at this, another lady recognised the dog as being a “guard dog” for a local garage, the dog was in front of the closed yard when it first barked at us, and called the owners. By the time they arrived the dog had found its way back into their yard, thankfully no-one was hurt, but it could have been so much worse with a kids park so close!
Windmills and Canals
We headed back through New Bradwell and onto the Grand Union canal, and our route back home.
At the edge of New Bradwell there stands an old windmill. Built in 1803, by Samuel Holman, to mill the locally produce grain ready to be dispatched to London, down the Grand Junction Canal (now known as the Grand Union). It is believed to have ceased operation in 1876, the last miller being Robert Saxby. It has been restored (1970 – 1990) by Milton Keynes council, and in 2014 was once again made operational (through the use of an electric motor).
|Windmill at New Bradwell|
|New Bradwell Windmill|
|New Bradwell Windmill|
Of course we learned this today, thanks to the volunteers having the windmill open. We even managed to buy a little flower, milled from the old structure, a nice strong flour that I hope will make excellent Yorkshires!
There was one last cache to locate on our long walk back along the canal, and thankfully this was another success story. We quickly located the, largish, tub and not only signed off on our 40th geocache, but also found a new home for the trackable owl we had collected on a previous hunt.
Grand Union Canal
Our geocaching may have been done for the day but our walk was not over. There were still some 2 km between our current position and the home end of the canal, so we set off once more. Walking alongside the slow moving, green waters of the canal. We headed around the back of Wolverton, and passed the historical old railway buildings, once home to the queens train and building works for many a locomotive, now lying in semi ruin, broken windows and crumbling bricks.
|Grand Union Canal|
|Refurbished Buildings in Wolverton, by canal|
|Grand Union Canal behind Wolverton works|
|A Cheeky Fox – I really love this bit of local graffiti|
|Grand Union Canal Old Wolverton|
Our final tally was 3 Geocaches found, 2 Did Not Finds and 1 skipped due to traffic. 13 kilometres walked and a good deal of fun and chat had by us all. Not quite as successful as our trip the Cosgrove area of the canal but still, any day spent outside is better than one spent on the sofa.
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One Final Photo
My daughter stole my hat today and I couldn’t resist showing this sassy photo of her in it.
|“Yeah, I stole you hat! What you gonna do?”|
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