Geocaching around one of the oldest trees in the UK!

A mini Geocaching adventure around Wraysbury and Ankerwycke…

 

Geocaching between Berkshire and Surrey we found ourselves situated in the beautiful olde-worlde village of Wraysbury. Technically Wraysbury itself lies in Berkshire but our Geocaching route took us back into Surrey, although generally the area is known as the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. It’s also, at one point, been part of Buckinghamshire. Confused? Yup, us too! Whichever county this mystery location is, it has some great Geocaches! 😉

Wraysbury has also had many different names over the years including; ‘Wyrardisbury’, ‘Wirecesberie’, ‘Wiredesbur’ and ‘Wyradesbury’, and before that, who knows? Recent archaeological digs have suggested that it was a popular spot during neolithic times with many flint artefacts found there. I wonder what it was known as back then?!

Magna Carter…

Legend has it that Wraysbury is also the place where the Magna Carta was sealed in 1215, on ‘Magna Carter Island’, although this has never been proven. The charter itself indicates Runnymede as the location but there is nothing to suggest that ‘Magna Carter Island’ wasn’t in Runnymede at the time. One thing that is certain is that in 1217 King Henry III met Louis (later Louis VIII) there and therefore it was obviously worthy enough to be the location of a royal meeting place, so who knows?

Ankerwycke Yew…

The Ankerwycke estate is famous for its Benedictine nunnery, now sadly in ruins, and one of the 50 oldest trees in the UK, approximated to be at least 1,400 and possibly up to 2,500 years old. Known as the Ankerwycke Yew it has one of the widest bases for a yew tree that I’ve ever seen. It’s quite an impressive sight and, of course, the Geocaching trail take you right past it so you won’t miss it! 🙂 The base is so wide that, according to Wikipedia you could hide a Mini Cooper behind it without knowing it’s there. More legends suggest that Henry VIII met Anne Boleyn under there…thinking about it I bet she wishes she’d been like the Mini Cooper and hidden from him around the other side now!

Anyway, onto the caches…

The Trail…

We parked up near AW1 Easy find for starters and it was, as the name suggested, a nice easy one to start, we then headed clockwise around the circuit with our next stop at WrAnk 3 (Wraysbury to Ankerwycke). The trail continued through a nice field full of horses before taking you through the picturesque village of Wraysbury.

We were impressed by Wraysbury which, although small, has a lot going on. We stopped at the Church, to find the multi-cache clues for Church Micro 5666…Wraysbury – Baptist, and were invited in for coffee, but with muddy boots and our thirst for exploration we politely declined and finished gathering the required information from the Church building before heading down a little secret footpath to find the cache. Finding this cache, which wasn’t on the circuit, actually worked out quite well as it was in the same direction that we were heading.

On reaching the train station we quickly found the path we needed to take, but our plans for picking up any caches along that stretch were thwarted by an army of people who were cutting down the overgrown branches and bushes from the sides of the footpath. They allowed us to pass but warned us that access further down the path might be difficult as some of the nettles had gotten out of control! We took it on board but decided to give it a go because it would’ve meant a long walk back in the same direction, which neither of us fancied!

We had to walk past the nettle strimmers at the Wraysbury Reservoir cache and so there was no chance to look there, and by the time we’d battled our way down to Coal Post #82 we really couldn’t get anywhere near it as we came face to face with a massive wall of nettles! 🙁

Wall of nettles

About 15m from the cache!

The strimmers would certainly have had their work cut out with that lot…if you’ll excuse the pun.

The remainder of the path swung back over the train tracks and down past the reservoir. It was actually really nice around that section of the walk, although I can imagine the warnings on the cache page about the mossies being true as there’s a lot of stagnant water around.

If only Jemima knew! was out on a bit of a limb but perfect for a quick cache and dash off the motorway if you’re in the area. On the home straight we awarded a favourite point at AW4 Yew’ve Got to be Joking which took us an age to find. Plenty of DNF’s on this one and it’s easy to see why. The hint, and a few other people’s logs, really helped us on this one and I eventually spotted it just as we were about to give up!

Ankerwycke

Ankerwycke

Looking straight up through the trees we spotted an unusual rainbow, which has several different names including a circumzenithal arc or a cloud rainbow…some may dispute it was a chemtrail of course…I suppose we were near Heathrow so who knows?!

circumzenithal arc

Circumzenithal arc

Either way it was very pretty 🙂

Next up was Church Micro 2844…Ankerwyke Priory (AW3) which was in between the priory and the old yew tree…I’ve got to admit it’s quite an impressive tree, and definitely worth a trip to if you live nearby…my photo doesn’t really do it justice I’m afraid, you can just see MrBizkitz stood behind it so you can get an idea of its width!

Ankerwycke yew

Ankerwycke yew

We spent a long time searching for the penultimate cache in the trees, where the hint had suggested, however when we couldn’t find it I decided to look for it on the ground where I eventually spotted it amongst the grass. I signed the log and replaced it according to the hint for the next finders.

Our last cache was a nice quick find before we headed back to the car with a lovely 5 mile walk under our belts.

Definitely a worthy walk, and not too far from Heathrow if you’ve got some time to kill before a flight.

Happy caching! 🙂

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