Distance: 7 Miles
Location: Wildhern, Hampshire
First in Series: GC4XXZ5
Walked on: 17th February 2014
Weather: Blue skies and sunshine all day, was it really February
Terrain: Footpaths, byway and quiet lane
Total Ascent: 194 Feet, easy 2% hill
The REM loop, named after the indie rock band is a new series in Hampshire, starting from the village of Wildhern. By the time that I arrived at the village hall, the recommended parking place for the series, the sun was shinning brightly and the skies were a perfect shade of blue, stark contrast to the week that had just passed.
Overall this was a very pleasant and enjoyable walk through some lovely countryside. There were several nice views along the way. The trail was really easy to navigate, you’ll want to wear your walking boots in winter, but that said the paths were amazingly dry and in good shape following a lot of rain. This is Goddardsmeadmafia’s first series and they have done a really fine job. Personally, I lack the patience for anything that takes more than a few minutes, so I dnf’d on a couple of more challenging caches towards the latter stages that I struggled with. However, overall the caches were quick and easy to find just as you would want them to be on a longish walk. A lot of effort has gone into including a variety of fun and different caches.
The series leaves the village hall and after a short walk along the road we take the long straight roman road up White Hill. Surprisingly the byway was in excellent condition not at all muddy or wet.
This section is very popular with local dog walkers, we passed several on the way up the gentle hill. Parallel to the track is a circular gallop belonging to the Hatherden House estate, there were no riders out though when we passed it.
The blue sky today was amazing, reminiscent of a spring day, other reminders that spring is around the corner were the masses of snowdrops along the grass verges including the those in the photo at the top of the page.
A small detour, well worth doing and which appears popular with other geocachers, is a visit to St. Thomas of Canterbury Church at Tangley. Here you can pick up at least three additional caches and a fourth if you want a slightly longer detour.
The walk continues along Holt Lane, this road doesn’t see much traffic judging by the amount of dirt and leaves that cover most of it, yes this is picture of the road not a footpath.
At the end of Holt lane the trail turns and starts the heading back home, along this part of the walk we met several other cachers out enjoying the wonderful weather and of course the new series. The first half of the caches were straight forward and we moved quickly along. I lost the momentum a little between numbers 23 and 25 as a result of some seemingly tricky hides, but we put that behind us and soon picked up the pace again. Some forestry work was in progress just past Doles Farm and it was interesting to watch the big machinery for a while lifting the heavy logs as though they were matchsticks.
As we walked down hill back to the village there were several fallen trees across the path that had been blown down in the recent gales. A short walk through the village brought us back to our car and the end of a fabulous series.