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Posts Tagged ‘Swadlincote’

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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Beautiful methodist chapel in Barton In The Beans

Beautiful methodist chapel in Barton In The Beans

I was going to go caching with Isaac on Sunday this weekend but the weather forecast did not favour Sunday, so I opted to go on my own on Saturday instead. As it turns out, we had beautiful weather on Sunday too, so I could have gone caching them in the end. Typical!

Part of the walk is along the Leicestershire Round - a network of paths round the edge of the county

Part of the walk is along the Leicestershire Round - a network of paths round the edge of the county

My main target for the day is the Burgo and Beans series, which is a figure of 8 walk between two villages with the very unusual names of Newton Burgoland and Barton In The Beans. After that I had two options:

  • another circular walk of about 4 miles near Ashby De La Zouch
  • as many other caches as I could find in the area, picking on easier caches
Battlefield Line old railway - looks great with lots of old diesel locos going up and down the old tracks

Battlefield Line old railway - looks great with lots of old diesel locos going up and down the old tracks

I parked up in the lovely village of Barton and set off on foot. Nothing too taxing caching wise on this series, with all caches having spot-on co-ords and sensible hides. Quite a few of the hides were either fun containers or well thought out hides which added to my enjoyment. The walk was an excellent variation of different terrain and scenery too :-).

Which way next?

Which way next?

My only failure was on the penultimate cache of the series, which was a small bright green bison tube hanging on a fence. How could I miss it? Try as I might I could not spot it and after 15 minutes looking for it I gave up and moved on. I see it was found later the same day and in the days following this, so I’m not sure what I was missing. Oh well, you can’t find them all…

The very pretty canal section of the walk

The very pretty canal section of the walk

I’d not been feeling 100% at the start of the day as I’ve got a mild cold so opted for the easy option for the rest of the day and set off to find some drive-by’s and shorter walk caches. Ordinarily I would have done the next walk as I was looking forward to it, but was just not feeling full of energy at this stage.

Not many buses stop here! A sheltered seat looking out over the fields.

Not many buses stop here! A sheltered seat looking out over the fields.

I did a few caches near to Barton, including a great one at the site of an old Gibbet. Here’s a link to the cache concerned as the history of the place makes gruesome reading :-).

The Gibbet Post near to a cache

The Gibbet Post near to a cache

I was wondering where to head for next as I still had tons of time left so spent a while scouring the possibilities on Memory Map. The area just to the south of Swadlincote looked promising and was an area we’ve enjoyed caching in before, so off I headed.

Quite a few more quick and easy caches followed, including one on a lovely longer walk up a hill called Hanging Hill. What is it with these parts and gruesome places? First a gibbet and now a hanging hill! All good fun now, but I bet they were not places you’d want to go anywhere near in years gone by :-(.

The Moira Wilderness - an area where coal pits once were and it's not quite given itself over to nature yet

The Moira Wilderness - an area where coal pits once were and it's not quite given itself over to nature yet

After I’d done in this area, I had another look at Memory Map and the area towards Bretby looked promising. We’d had a DNF in this area ages ago but there are now quite a few other caches to keep me interested. A short drive later and I was at the first one.

Great views from the hills in the Bretby Estate

Great views from the hills in the Bretby Estate

A couple of the Bretby caches were in some lovely bluebell carpeted woods on the Bretby Estate and an absolute pleasure to walk to. One of the fab things about this time of year and caching is being taken to beautiful places like this :-).

It was now time to start heading for home, but with 49 finds for the day I just had to find at least one more…

Lovely bluebells near to one of the caches

Lovely bluebells near to one of the caches

On the way to Burton On Trent I passed through an area called Briz Valley, which had quite a few new caches in it. Perfect :-).

I managed a final three caches here, including one that the specimin bottle cache container had been found by a muggle and used for it’s real purpose. Needless to say when I opened it, I thought it was water and shook the container to get rid of the water. I ended up with someone’s wee all over my hands and t-short – yuck! I’m so glad it’s at the end of the day and not the start of the day as I can go home and take a shower now.

Views from the 'wee' cache - not bad at all, shame about the cache though

Views from the 'wee' cache - not bad at all, shame about the cache though

Just before I got on the main A38 to home, I could not resist one last cache at a TB hotel just by the junction.

53 finds in total for the day and another great day out (apart from the wee incident). Here’s a link to a plot of my route for the day on Everytrail.com, including photos from along the way.

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