GEOCACHING- a popular modern day treasure hunt led by GPS or mobile device- is putting Merthyr Tydfil firmly on the map and leading followers to local tourist attractions including Cyfarthfa Park.
Thanks to a new partnership between Come Outside!- a project supported by Natural Resources Wales, Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust and the 3G’s Men’s Project, permanent caches (treasure hunt finds) have now been introduced at various sites, including Cyfarthfa Park.
Such is its success and its popularity with geocachers of all ages, that there are now plans to launch a pilot scheme in the Spring giving tourists the opportunity to hire geocaching devices from Cyfarthfa Castle Museum itself.
Ian Thomas, Regional Coordinator for the Come Outside! Programme, led by Natural Resources Wales, is an advocate for geocaching as a means to increasing outdoor activity and improving well-being.
He said: “Geocaching has grown considerably over recent years and centres on followers tracking map coordinates to uncover hidden caches. These can be waterproof boxes containing facts, trinkets to be traded and signing in books or magnetic caches which can be tracked and recorded as finds.
“It is the ideal activity to encourage people to increase their level of physical activity while also raising awareness of local sites which have important historical significance.
“It’s very encouraging to see people using their local green space for recreation and leisure."
Several trackable items have passed through the Park from as far afield as Norway, Germany and Utah, USA, and comments indicate that geocaching in Merthyr is encouraging intergenerational walking, seeing new parts of Cyfarthfa Park being explored and people accessing the park for the very first time or the first time since childhood. Most recently a unique Brecon Beacons National Park geocoi,n which was donated to Hafal Cwm Taf by Mountain and River Activities, started its journey at Cyfarthfa Park when it was included in a cache there. This coin has its own unique code and its movement across the globe, as it is found and traded within the geocaching community, will be tracked with the aim of raising awareness.
If you would like to discover more about geocaching please contact Ian Thomas on firstname.lastname@example.org