Underground, Overground, Wombling free…


After Christmas I headed down to Wiltshire to find my favorite caches once again, it was of course the Below Aboves. This time around it was to accompany The Wombles, Womble Jr, and Buddha_Belly along with the CO, BareClawz whilst they found The White Bird, The Fallen Monarch, and Multi 2.

Although visiting the quarries for the 3rd and 4th times, I still enjoy the underground exploration very much. As always, I enjoyed sliding through a section of one of the quarries through a section called “The Letterbox” which meant sliding head first on my belly down a mud slide. Dave of The Wombles grabbed a picture of me doing it this time around and has kindly said I can add it to my blog entry:

Me sliding through the letterbox

Me sliding through the letterbox about to travel down the mud slide

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Below Above – Bath stone quarries (again)


Ever since we visited the Bath Stone quarries in June for the Below Above series of Geocaches I’ve been slightly obsessed with underground caching. It was really just the most magical experience, and after failing to complete the series having only managed to find 2 out of 5 of the caches I was desperate to return to complete the set. The CO, Bareclawz, had kindly offered to be our guide for the visit. I asked quite a few cachers we knew if they wanted to join us on our adventure, but unfortunately most Geocachers were at the UK MEGA in the Lake District that weekend. We were however very fortunate to have the company of Foxscout and The Black Rabbit for our second underground journey in to the quarries, which proved to be a great adventure for everyone. Many thanks to Foxscout for letting me use a few of her photos for this blog entry. She managed to capture a lot more “group” shots than I did. I’ve noted on the photographs which ones are hers. Over the weekend we found 4 geocaches and spent close to 10 hours underground…

Saturday 11th August

The Fallen Monarch/The White Bird

We left home early on the Saturday morning and arrived in the area around mid day just in time to meet the CO and to stop at The Swan pub near by. As the pub is in the area near the quarries the inside was impressively decorated with old tools which hung from the walls.

Old miners tools hanging up in The Swan

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A real underground adventure – The old Bath stone quarries


Our trip to Wiltshire was spurred by one particular cache series, BearClawz’s “Above Below“. We’re very fond of underground caches and this series was a step further than we’d been before with the other subterranean caches we’d attempted. The caches are hidden in old Bath stone quarries just to the East of Bath. We’ve visited a cache in a cave, in a quarry, and been in bunkers before, however these presented much more of a challenge because you have to travel a considerable distance underground to retrieve the caches. Much more of an adventure!

The quarries in the area were producing stone as far back as 1833. When exploring the quarries with modern day high-lumen torches and taking pictures with cameras with powerful flashes it’s easy to forget that the miners With just candle light or the light from home made oil burners to see whilst working down in the tunnels. The work was all manual with the blocks of stone being sawed by hand. Some quarries in the area were modernised with a rail system, however others used horse and cart to transport the cut stone up out of the quarries. More photos and information about the quarries can be found on Derek Hawkin’s website.

In order to work out the entrances for the quarries you first have to solve a puzzle. You also have to decipher some text to work out the route through the quarry as you obviously can’t use your GPSr down there. I’d solved 5 out of the 6 puzzles so we headed to Wiltshire to see what we could find!

Just for starters

In the series there is one cache that isn’t in a quarry… well, not anymore!: Above Below – The Steps With a lower d/t rating we decided to head there first to warm us up, so on a rainy Sunday we left the campsite and headed to GZ. It was a simple cache, however it was situated near a derelict site: Monkton Farleigh Ammunition Depot. This used to be Monkton Quarry, however it was converted into a sub-depot of the Central Ammunition Depot by the War Department in the build up to WW2. It was used up until the 1950’s. The ammunition dump took thousands of men 7 years to construct and it became Britain’s biggest ammunition store with the capacity to store over 12 million tons of ammo. It was constructed in a way so that it would not be obvious as an ammo depot to enemy reconnaissance. It is accessible from the transit shed where The Steps lead down underground with remains of the conveyor belts that transported ammunition either side of them. We only explored the entrance to the old store, but after seeing pictures online I wish we had ventured deeper in. It’s definitely a place I’d like to return to for a better look.

Looking down the steps

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Jubilee caching in Wiltshire


After our underground adventure for our 10,000th cache at Schrödinger’s Ghostly Wormhole Paradox we decided it would be fun to have a few more underground adventures. I searched the caches in the UK to try an identify a “Must do” underground cache. Instead I found a cluster of 6 in Wiltshire, just on the outskirts of Bath. The long weekend we had ahead of us gave us the perfect excuse to get away and do them, so we booked a campsite for 5 days and headed to Wiltshire. I was absolutely bowled over with the quality of caches around the area. I’m not talking about nice big circuits and long walks (Although there are loads of them too!), but single caches full of favourite points! As I had knackered my foot last weekend, we decided to take it easy on the walking and just focus on single high quality caches. It would have been easy to spend our trip walking grabbing 70+ caches a day, however instead we found just over 70 in total including easily the best cache that we have ever found…

Woodhenge

Our trip down to Wiltshire started the way that we meant to continue with finding a few odd “Must do” caches. The first point of call was Woodhenge for a virtual cache of the same name. Woodhenge is a timber circle. It was discovered in 1925 after an aerial photograph was taken of the area. It’s thought to have been created around 2,000BC. There are 168 post holes around the henge with most of these once holding wooden posts and some possibly holding sarsen stones and a grave in the centre which was discovered to be that of a child. The original stones and logs are not at the site anymore, however concrete posts have been constructed in their original positions to show how the henge used to look.

Woodhenge

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