I have wanted to visit the old railway Tunnels on Windsor Hill for ages, there are lots of geocaches around the area so it was a good place to go.
We decided to do some of the Ham Stroll series and a couple of tunnel ones. On the map it all looked so easy. The actual terrain is a different matter, fields, quarries and woodland on the side of hills with a valley in the middle.
We found Ham Stroll #1 with no problem at all except the field was full of corn and we had to walk around the edge and not across the field where the footpath goes, onto #2 which looked like a short stroll ahead.
We then came to a gate and the cache was off to the right but we found we were at the top of a quarry and the cache was on the quarry floor. As the footpath is part of the East Mendip Way there were steps (sort of) and in places rails to hold onto down to the quarry floor, it was very steep and I slipped down on some wet leaves leaving me with a bruised hip and sore hand.
After reaching the bottom we walked across the quarry floor which was very pretty with the autumn colours and soon found Ham Stroll #2.
The next nearest cache was Ham Wood Viaduct but the footpath was too steep to go down and we looked across and it was very steep on the other side and as it was slippery underfoot from rain yesterday we decided to go back. That meant going back up the steep steps and round the cornfield.
We got back to the road and back to the car which was parked near the footpath and stopped for refreshments. Onward to the tunnels and Tunnel Vision. We walked back along the lane and found the footpath, the GPS was pointing to the left but that was because there was a steep bank in the way, we had to follow the footpath to the bottom and double back. We found the trackbed and followed it until we came to the tunnel – at last! We went into the tunnel and looked for the hint (57.1) painted on the wall. We went right through the tunnel and counted the yards back to where the cache should be. We looked and looked but couldn’t find it. The GPS didn’t work in the tunnel but outside it was all over the place due to tree cover. I used my mobile phone and we came to a point where it said the cache was, we then by reading previous logs realised that there were two tunnels, so we walked back and took the smaller footpath which widened to another trackbed and another tunnel. This tunnel was much longer with a bend at the end. We walked through carefully checking the west wall where the cache was. Eventually we came to the 57.1 on the wall and above was a hole in the brickwork and inside a clip-lock box. We were so pleased to have found it. We signed the log and carried on through the tunnel, when we looked back we could not see the other end of the tunnel due to the bend.
We then found an gateway to Windsor Hill Woods which we went through as I could see some houses. Just along the path we came to a lane with a house and it led back to the lane where the car was parked. If we had known about this route we would have gone into the correct tunnel the first time, but by reading logs it seems most people do go the way we did and make the same mistake. On the way back to the car we collected Turbine View – close by.
There are more caches in the area so we will be going back, probably avoiding the steps into the quarry!
Four caches found but an exhausting walk.
Total caches: 178