Geocaching along the Gipping

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the Geocache (container) hidden at that location using either a stand alone GPS unit or a Mobile Phone “App”

In 2013 a group of us walked the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation which has over 100 Geocaches along the route which inspired me to do a similar but much smaller series of 25 along the a 4 mile stretch of the River Gipping between Gt Blakenham and Needham Market.

I knew there was an organization that looked after parts of the Gipping and I very quickly got in touch with Spencer via the River Gipping Trust web site and arranged to meet up at Pipps Ford and discuss the project. Spencer and other members were very interested in what I was proposing especially as it would increase “traffic” along the footpath and gave their approval.

We planned to lay out the hides in October but then we had the storms followed by floods and then Christmas so mid January was chosen. The weather was not to bad so myself and a friend Ian put them all out on the 18th January . In this case each hide is identical – an old 35mm film tub with a paper inside which is the log – each finder logs the find on the hide and on the Geocaching Website thus increasing the number of finds. Each hide is held in place so will not cause damage and are also well hidden from public view – a clue is supplied with each hide to help find them. There are many rules and regulations with Geocaching and each “hide” has to be approved by a Reviewer as to it’s suitability and fortunately all was well and they went “live” on the evening of the 21st January.

The hides on the Gipping are represented by the Stars

Within a few hours I started to get emails of found logs and within 24 hours they had all been found and by the weekend of the 25th January 5 sets of Geocacher’s had walked the entire route path – quite unusual for a cold wet week in January I’m sure you’ll agree.

We are really pleased with the response to these hides and as the weather improves more people will walk the route and as they log each find I can supply the Trust with a monthly count of users of the path something which is difficult to equate normally. Also Geocacher’s are generally an Environmentally friendly bunch and often pick up litter and I’ve also asked if they can report any issues with the path or River to me so I can pass this on the the Trust.

For various reasons it’s not possible for the general public to see where each hide is as on the level I have recorded them you need to pay a yearly subscription to Geocaching to see them but below this article there is a map showing the approximate locations. The hides on the Gipping are represented by the Stars – the Smiles are other Hides nearby which I have found.

Thanks so much for the interest in Geocaching from the Trust and hope that this project will continue to be to out mutual benefit.

Mark Ward