Think about the following for a second:
* You enjoy visiting Dartmoor.
* You and your family have enjoyed letterboxing on Dartmoor.
* You love gadgets and in fact are now the proud owner of a Garmin GPS which allows you to join the world of geocaching
* You want to round off the Easter holidays with a day out
* You’ve heard that Dartmoor National Park Authority have set up a geo-caching trail at Haytor and you can reach the start by bus!
Well with that in mind I set off with a another family (and their GPS as well!) last Saturday and caught the train from Exeter to Newton Abbot and then jumped on the 10:55 Haytor Hoppa taking us from the train station directly onto Dartmoor. The children loved the journey from their elevated position upto Haytor and after a quick pit stop and a visit to the National Park Information Centre to pick up some ‘prizes’ for the children and extra information, we were off with our first geocaching clue.
I had downloaded the locations from a geocaching website on to our GPS units earlier that day and with a quick first find near the Information Centre we knew what we were looking for and had our co-ordinated for clue 2! The children raced ahead with one gps unit and the joy is that you go directly to the geocaches, so no veering off into bracken and gorse, and then have to locate the box or cannister under a rock or similar hiding place. The hour it took us to find the remaining five clues flew by and had taken us out around Haytor with visits to the granite tramway and also the quarry and importantly left everyone looking forward to when we could do another geocache trail.
Finishing our last clue just below Haytor Rocks, we climbed up to enjoy the magnificent panoramas and then had a well deserved treat of an ice cream before catching the next Hoppa back to the train station. But its not like any normal journey home, as we went into Widecombe with that incredible landscape stretching out in front of you from the top of the hill, then via Hound Tor, Jays Grave and Bowerman’s Nose where Neil our bus driver inspired the children and adults alike, by recounting some Dartmoor Legends.
So plans are afoot to download the next set of geocaches, to get out on the Hoppa again and also to take advantage of some of the evening excursions that we have heard will be running on the Hoppa from May onwards including a visit to a medieval longhouse, a photography masterclass and of course a Dartmoor legends trip.