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Views over the lake at Hilton Gravel Pits nature reserve

Views over the lake at Hilton Gravel Pits nature reserve

This week we fancied a change and spotted a lot of caches we could attempt by bike in the Burton On Trent area. The first ones were along an old railway line stretching up the side of Derby and then there was a few round the village of Hilton, followed by a circuit of the Conkers Discovery Centre near Swadlincote.

View down the old railway line, now a great cycleway

View down the old railway line, now a great cycleway

The first cache was a very short distance down a track and so we parked at the end of the track. We were half way to the cache when someone shouted over at us from a passing car saying we were blocking the track (we were not) and that the track was in use “24 hours a day”. What total rubbish as it was very overgrown and clearly had not seen a vehicle in some time! Anything for a quiet life though and we moved the Jeep to a different parking spot.

Sitting cows - isn't that supposed to mean it's going to rain? Thankfully the cows had got it wrong and it was sunny all day!

Sitting cows - isn't that supposed to mean it's going to rain? Thankfully the cows had got it wrong and it was sunny all day!

Next, we parked up round the corner and got the bikes out for a ride to the caches along the old railway line. This is now a really well looked after cycle track and an absolute pleasure to use. We soon found all 10 or so caches, with a few being a bit sneaky but not *that* hard to find.

A very creative hide on one of the caches (I won't say which)

A very creative hide on one of the caches (I won't say which)

Once back at the Jeep, we headed off for a quick cache in fields by the local village before heading over to Hilton to do the numerous caches there. For such a small place it doesn’t half have quite a few caches ;-).

Hilton Millennium Clock

Hilton Millennium Clock

Our favourites of the ones round here were in this fabulously beautiful Nature Reserve which was hidden behind a very industrial looking lane, right by the side of the main A50. We’d never have known this area was here without caching as we did not seen any signs for it on the way. We had a real treat walking round the 4 caches in the reserve and saw tons of wildlife.

Great views over the nature reserve

Great views over the nature reserve

After that, we did a few more caches in Hilton before deciding to head over towards Swadlincote and the final big bike ride of the day. On the way, we could not resist a few more quick and easy caches around the lovely town of Tutbury. We’ve never heard of this place before and loved the castle on the top of the hill by the town. We’ve made a note to return for a closer visit sometime soon.

An old pit wheel is a fitting reminder of the mining that this area used to know

An old pit wheel is a fitting reminder of the mining that this area used to know

Once in Swadlincote, we parked up by Conkers Discovery Centre and got our bikes out of the Jeep. The trail of caches follows the Blue Route, which is a really nice cycle track round the perimiter of the Conkers Country Park. There were 12 caches spread round the whole circuit and it turned into a really enjoyable experience with a nice mixture of landscapes, caches and hides.

Conkers Circuit - Blue Route marker post

Conkers Circuit - Blue Route marker post

By the end we were ready for an ice cream each but despite it being a lovely day and the Discovery Centre car park being very busy, there was not an ice cream van to be seen. Someone is missing a very good business opportunity here methinks ;-).

Views over a lake on the Conkers Circuit. Hard to imagine all this area used to be used for coal mining.

Views over a lake on the Conkers Circuit. Hard to imagine all this area used to be used for coal mining.

We just had time for a few more caches before we had to go home, so opted for a set of 4 along the Trent and Mersey Canal in Burton, as we could do these by bike too. We DNF’d the first one (it’s since been checked by the cache owner and confirmed missing) but the other 3 caches were quick finds.

A very shady Trent and Mersey Canal in Burton

A very shady Trent and Mersey Canal in Burton

We then headed off to the A38 and the journey home, but not before we grabbed a final two caches.

A great play area near the last cache of the day

A great play area near the last cache of the day

46 finds in total for the day and a great day out with Isaac in a lovely area for caching.

Click here for a link to our route for the day on Everytrail.

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