23. Jun, 2017

Mill Meadows and Zeppelins

Today I decided to have a visit Mill Meadows, a local nature reserve, in Billericay. I went there last year to find a cache that had been placed by the Peachicks. Now that cache has been joined by others  to form a series. So I'm back.

The problem with the reserve is that car parking is limited so I know that I have to park some way off. Luckily the nearest road to park in is near Zeppelin L32, a trad placed near a plaque signifying the shooting down of a Zeppelin, a German bomber airship carrying 22 airmen by the Royal Flying Corp during WW1. I remember seeing a plaque near Smithfield Market in London, on some buildings damaged by bombs dropped from a Zeppelin in October 1916. I wonder if there is a connection here. By the way, the cache was an easy find.

I've just remembered that the CM at Little Wigborough near Colchester has some Zeppelin pieces on display there. This one was L33 and was in the same raid on London as L32. L33 was damaged by anti-aircraft fire and tried to get back over the North Sea but came down near the church. How many other geocaches have a WW1 Zeppelin connection?

As I was walking up the road to the entrance to the reserve, I heard a rustling in the bushes. Crouching down, I espyed a Muntjac Deer feeding, however, it spotted me and was gone in the flicker of an eye.πŸ™

Once I was on the reserve, I worked my way through the woods to the first cache, Peachick's Puzzles #2 - Here Be Faeries, on my list. Whilst I was searching, a sage of the woods appeared with his dog. He was interested in what I was doing so I shared a bit of geocaching lore with him and we soon found the clever cache. Sensing that he knew a lot about the local area, I asked him about an old building that is/was nearby. Unfortunately he'd never heard of a maternity home, The Retreat, where I was born but he'd make enquiries. How's that going to work?

The next one was #4, a 4/2 trad but I had no luck here.πŸ™ I have since heard that the coords are about 100' out so no wonder that I had no luck. Moving on towards #5, I had to navigate around a herd of Red Poll cattle. These rare breed cows spend the spring and summer here, feeding on the lush meadow grass. Once at GZ, I found a plastic mini hippo, a 3/2 trad tucked in some tree roots, containing a nice little cache. I'm back on track, peeps.πŸ˜‡

I made my way up to #6, which was a 3/2 trad with a similarity to #4. I found this quite quickly and it confirmed my suspicions of what I had been looking for at the DNF! So I made my way back there but still no luck. I didn't know that the coords were so far out at this time though. I moved on to the final cache of the day which was #3, a 2/2 trad. I'd worked out what I was looking for in advance but it was trickier than I expected.

Whilst I was here, a chap arrives and passed through the gate. He looked back and asked if I was inspecting the gate. I told him what I was doing and had he heard of geocaching. He said that he had heard of it and introduced himself as the Chairman of the Mill Meadows Society. Apparently the Billericay Youth Council had recommended that the society should place some caches on the meadow to encourage younger people to visit. They could learn about the benefits of the reserve whilst geocaching. Strange what you find out by chatting to strangers!πŸ˜€

So five trads and one DNF with an idea of where it is for the future. Happy Days!😎

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