You might have heard of geocaching – it’s a term and a trend that has been around for a few years now, and today there are more than 3 million caches hidden around the globe.
Perhaps you’ve heard it described as a fun family activity, or as a good way to get outdoors with friends?
Well, both are true! Interested? Read on for our brief guide to geocaching in the Forest of Dean.
What is Geocaching?
Essentially and as the name suggests, geocaching is a worldwide, GPS-based, treasure-hunt! Perfect for kids and those young at heart, it works by participants following GPS coordinates to a location, then searching until you find the hidden cache.
It encourages people to get out and explore their local areas, as well as those they are visiting – and it’s a hugely popular phenomenon.
Once found, visitors are encouraged to sign the logbook inside the cache – so that subsequent treasure hunters can see who came before them. Additionally, the caches might contain items: it’s suggested that you take what you like and replace it with something else.
How do you start geocaching?
First, you need a way to start navigating to the caches. For this, you’ll need coordinates from the Geocaching website and a device (or map) to show you where those coordinates aim to send you.
Predictably, there’s an app for that: the official Geocaching by Groundspeak, which is available on both Apple and Android devices, is probably the most comprehensive. The Premium version allows users access to more difficult caches, while the free version limits it to the easier options.
And there’s always the option of going a little more old fashioned and getting a handheld GPS – or even a paper map.
Once you know where you’re going, it’s pretty straightforward! Get outside, appreciate the beauty of the area around you, and get searching!
Where should I go geocaching in the Forest of Dean?
There are several caches hidden all over the Forest of Dean, so the choice is really up to you!
One we love near Clearwell is ‘Trees on the Rocks’ (N 51° 46.571 W 002° 36.841), which invites visitors to explore the area around Lambsquay Woods and discover the incredible pre-Roman scowles that mark the landscape.
Another (N 51° 44.197 W 002° 38.049) is just a quick stroll from St Briavels Castle, so a day out could easily combine a stroll around the ancient walls with a little adventure!
There are as many activities to do in the Forest of Dean as there are people to do them – so you’re almost guaranteed to find a cache that lines up with something you’d already like to do. Whether that’s strolling through the picturesque landscape or popping into local artisan delis, it can only be enhanced by the joy of a treasure hunt.
If you’re looking to start your adventure in the Forest of Dean, check out our site for more ideas of what to do and where to see.