Odds and ends

11 04 2014

It may seem strange putting a visit to England’s oldest cache under the heading of “Odds and ends” but that’s how it worked out. zelger and I made a Saturday trip to the North east of his home location through Princes Risborough and the nearby Coombe Hill then on to Studham in the county of Bedfordshire. There were two goals for the day – find England’s oldest cache for me and finds some caches in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire for zelger. I had found some caches in Bedfordshire in 2005 on a trip to England that brought me in through Luton. OK, I admit it – I flew with Ryanair – please forgive me.

The drive to Princes Risborough was cross country for a fair part so we enjoyed some great scenery on the way. The first cache of the day was the earthcache The Prince’s Pudding!. This was a block of the fascinating Hertfordshire pudding stone that is prevalent in the area.

Hertfordshire pudding stone

Hertfordshire pudding stone

From there it was just a short drive up to the top of Coombe Hill where GC171 – View from Coombe Hill is located. The cache was placed on 2001-01-14 making it the oldest cache in England and the 13th oldest cache that I have found.

Welcome to Coombe Hill the home of England's oldest cache

Welcome to Coombe Hill the home of England’s oldest cache

ds8300 with England's oldest geoache

ds8300 with England’s oldest geoache

Half of team zelger at the site of England's oldest cache

Half of team zelger at the site of England’s oldest cache

A creative traditional cache on Coombe Hill

A creative traditional cache on Coombe Hill

We found a couple more caches at the top of the Hill and DNF’d a couple more before driving on towards Hertfordshire. We just had to log the virtual cache Fly By at RAF Halton as they are so uncommon then another pudding stone earthcache. A minor detour was made to log “Flat Cache” – No.3 -> Speeding Ticket just to see what the cache looked like. The log was completely full so the CO will need to make a maintenance visit. It was more or less as expected but fun none the less. The earthcache and this traditional cache gave zelger two caches in Hertfordshire.

We failed to find Entology but later read that it wasn’t at the posted coordinates. How smart is that? At least we saw plenty of wildlife in the woods.

Wildlife in Rail Copse, east of Tring

Wildlife in Rail Copse, east of Tring

From there we drove the five kilometers into Bedforshire where we joined a couple of trails together for a couple of hours walk in the countryside. The trails were the Studham Church Circular (link is to #1) and Our Common Goal (link is to #1).

More wildlife north-west of Studham.

More wildlife north-west of Studham.

For those of you not familiar with the wildlife or the geography of England the wallaby and joey are natives of Australia 🙂 and were in a field at the rear of Whipsnade Zoo just up the road from where we were caching. They were quite unconcerned about us passing by

Perhaps all the above belong to the “Odds” so now on to the “Ends”. The day after I moved location from Berkshire to Nottinghamshire where the day out was to find an earthcache but ended up not only finding oil but 50 thousand year old dinosaurs.

Whilst browsing for caches near to where I was staying with my other brother in the village of Barlborough, I reacted to the name of an earthcache not too far away. The UK’s first Oil Field. In my mind all UK oil was offshore so this sounded interesting, and it was. We walked the muddy track to GZ passing a few small nodding donkeys on the way. The history for this site and the geological formation that lead to the oil deposits was fascinating. Well worth the visit.

Nodding donkey at site of Englands first oilfield

Nodding donkey at site of Englands first oilfield

The oil formation at Dukes Wood

The oil formation at Dukes Wood

On the way back to Barlborough we decided to visit Creswell Crags (link to #1) where there was a short circular trail and half a dozen caches to be found. Most were standard fare but this one was a real teaser.

Creative cache at Cresswell Crags

Creative cache at Cresswell Crags

Man wasn't first on-site at the crags

Man wasn’t first on-site at the crags


We opted not to go into the caves but found it fascinating to think that they had been inhabited by both animals and people for many thousands of years. More can be read of the history of the crags and caves in the cache description. A well thought out visitor center has been built for EU money.

In all my long weekend in England netted sixty six finds of which a dozen were really creative traditionals, seven were letter-box/hybrids and four were earthcaches. Last but not least, we found England’s oldest cache. Yes!

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