Concrete Jungle

Concrete Jungle, 60 caches, 10 Miles, Shropshire

First in the series GC3QJK0 walked on 01/06/2013

It’s been a busy summer of geocaching for me including caching in Turkey and Mallorca and I’ve got behind with my blogs. I can’t believe the last one was in May! There just aren’t enough hours in the day. On the other hand it’s been good looking back over where I’ve been caching over the last few months and reminding myself of some great series I’ve done since the spring, including the Concrete Jungle series.

I remember walking this series at the start of June when there were still some really top class displays of bluebells carpeting the floor of the woodland sections of this series and it was a good reminder of how late spring was this year.  The series starts from a place called Steeraway, there wasn’t much there just a row of houses and a farm from where the trail began.  It was a bad start to the series with a DNF at the first cache, but in hindsight I put that down to me not appreciating what I was actually meant to be looking for.

From the descriptions on the cache page, I don’t think that you get a very good idea as to what the series is about and what lays in store for the intrepid geocacher.  In fact, I had avoided the series thinking it was an urban series but it is far from that, trust me!

Bluebell Wood

A terrain rating given to each of the caches, but I hadn’t paid any attention to them before arriving, so, boy was I in for a shock.  The average terrain rating is probably about 2.5 – 3 star overall. I thought that I was just going for  a nice easy walk through some woods and along some footpaths. Well you do walk through some woods but the sting in the tail was that they don’t necessarily have paths!

It really did feel like I was trekking through a jungle at times, especially the first dozen caches.  I really should have thought that something was going to be different when I was back at home planning the walk.  There were some woodland sections where no paths were shown on the map.  I just assumed that the paths would become clear once I got there. Wrong! Any planning that I did do was pointless, just follow the arrow to the cache and bushwhack! Try to avoid fallen trees, holly bushes, nettles, streams and bogs on the way.

So, what’s the link to the Concrete Jungle, well, I’m not going to spoil the surprise. All I’ll say is the Nozi Parkerz who set out the series deserve a medal for the monumental task of laying out these caches.  For all those who think that power trails are just micro’s chucked in bushes need to do this series as this is nothing of the kind.

The first dozen caches were the most challenging and a few at the end are just as tricky, so wear long trousers and good boots.  The first section took us through Short Wood and Black Hayes Wood to Huntingdon. From Huntingdon it was straight forward walking across fields to Little Wenlock.  I stopped here for lunch using a convenient bench outside the village church, but I should have carried on a little further to cache 24 where there was a nice seat in memory of a guy called billy over looking some great views.

After lunch there was a section of overgrown footpath, it was totally impassible, so we took a detour down the side of a farmers field until we could rejoin it further along. Once again it was like being back in the jungle, the path was sunk below the level of the nearby fields and enclosed by tall trees and with nettles that had grown over the path I got the feeling this path was not well trodden!

The path lead to Morell’s Wood farm at the most southerly end of the trail and from here we turned for home. First I had to go through Gibbon’s Coppice where some woodsmen were working hard and when I emerged from the trees I found myself at the bottom of the impressive hill known as The Wrekin. It is quite a feature at 1,335 ft above sea level and apparently the source of much folklore.

There was another great view of Bluebells at no.45 as we headed back towards Black Hayes Wood for the second time coming close to a path we had walked earlier in the day. Finally through Limekiln wood where, once again, we left the beaten track behind for a bit of bushwhacking through the trees and feeling a bit like an adventurer.  Oddly, I spotted a couple of tents in the middle of the wood, some kind of wild camping I guessed.  The path back to the car was straight forward enough collecting the last of the caches.

Don’t under estimate the amount of work that has gone into this series or indeed how much time it will take you to get around, allow double your normal pace.  As I say, the terrain in parts is very tough going and some hides are not your standard QEF,  but despite all this I felt a sense of big sense achievement once I finally made it back to my car.