Yesterday I was itching to get out in the fresh air and try to find some new geocaches, so we set off on foot to have another go in a local park where there are a series of caches which we didn't have much success with at all the last time we tried.
On the way, we discovered a new play area so we stopped for a while.
Then we wandered along a lovely green pathway next to a lake and had a first easy find, stuck under a strategically placed bench. (It's amazing that this lovely green landscape is just yards away from a motorway - you can see it in the background actually !)
We moved into the next field and had a look at the vertical archery equipment - I still have no idea how this works !
While Pierre and Juliette used the steps as a climbing frame, me and Sophie found and logged cache number two. So far so good !
We followed the path around to the next cache, spotting dozens of rabbits on the way - this took us down a bank to a lower pathway that we had never discovered before and this trailed us around to a bridge that led us under the motorway. A very handy find because I didn't know this area was accessible on foot so that's just opened up lots of new places for us to explore on the other wide of the morotway (even if there aren't any more geocaches around there !). After a bit of hunting and a very close encounter with a big green grasshopper and a ladybird, we found and logged our third geocache.
We doubled back to the park and the younger Madhouse Mini-testers went chasing rabbits !
This is our favourite wildflower meadow - there was much rolling down banks and daisy-chain making here last year but the ground was far too damp today !
Pierre stopped every few metres to dig about in the puddles with a stick !
On to the next cache that we'd failed to find last time. It has been found since so it's still there apparently. This is a magnetic one, attached to a bridge, and as far as I can tell, you have to go halfway down the bank to find it on the underside of the bridge. I scrambled about like a mad woman, looking in all the nooks and crannies, but still didn't manage to locate it. We did find half a torn logbook on the ground though so we were definitely in the right place.
We may not have found the cache but we did find some very intriguing animal skulls under the bridge. Not sure what this one is.
But this one is almost definitely a duck or a swan. I'd never thought about a beak being made of bone before but I suppose it's obvious really ! Sophie - who is fascinated by fossils and owl pellets and all that kind of thing - thought that these gruesome finds were fantastic and carefully packed them away in an empty biscuit box to show them to her biology teacher at school !
On to the next play area and we saw a very cute little duckling, swimming extremely fast whenever its parents got a little too far away !
Sophie found a pretty feather to add to her collection of nature finds.
We spotted a heron on the far bank.
We went looking for another geocache which we didn't find, but we did find a bird's egg - something else to add to the special finds box ! The kids were so excited, it was even better than finding the cache !
Our luck had obviously dried up - we ended with two more "did not finds", one in the brambles so I didn't look too hard and one in a tree that I'm sure was staring me right in the face but I just couldn't see it. Maybe there are more leaves now than when it was hidden ! (It was a micro too so was probably tiny.)We had a quick read about the fort - it was built from 1906-1908 and ended up being used as a resting place for exhausted soldiers in the First World War before they headed back to the front, as well as a shelter for the terrified civil population, then at the end of World War 2, it was used to accommodate prisoners of war.
One final find on the way home - this huge plastic bee in the middle of a roundabout !
We didn't even find half of the caches that we were looking for, but we did have a lot of fun and make some rather surprising discoveries !
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