The Ribble Catchment is well used for recreation, however there are significant areas with amazing and interesting river heritage that are little known and little used. It is hoped that our geocaching project will increase the use and enjoyment of these hidden areas of the catchment and in turn create the sense of value needed to inspire people to protect and improved the catchment.
There are over 160,000 geocaches in the UK and hundreds already existing within the Ribble Catchment. Geocaching is a hunt for a ‘cache’ which may be anything from a matchbox size to the size of a lunchbox, all caches are labelled and contain a log book so cachers can log their find.
Geocaching promotes physical activity, gets people outside and can prompt people to think about the world around them.
This activity will have the potential to engage with the thousands of geocachers who already take part in these outdoor treasure hunts and help raise awareness of rivers and heritage amongst this group through an activity that they already have an interest in.
There are three planned activities relating to Geocaching, the first is the creation of six geocaches or ‘Ribblecaches’. These will be located at or close to interesting river heritage features. The caches will contain information about the site and, if mobile phone coverage permits, links to videos or websites. If the site is close to other interesting river features the information within the cache will encourage users to seek the features nearby. Participants will also be encouraged to share their photos on social media and to add their photos to our catchment map at flickr.com/groups/riverribble.
Four photo competitions have also been planned, two in the first 18 months of the activity and one per year after this, one competition will be linked to photos taken when finding geocaches, the second will be for the first to find all six Ribble Life Together geocaches and the third will be a mystery competition where participants have to find river locations that we describe. The final competition will be to photograph the best of the catchments hidden gems.
Finally, we will run one Cache In Trash Out (CITO) event per year, these clean up events will be organised with geocachers. The Cache In Trash Out are often organised by the Geocaching Association of Great Britain (GAGB), the events are very popular and take place across the country.