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London Royal Parks - Geocaching refused


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Surely it's the owner's responsibility to clear up the geolitter and rescue any stranded bugs, rather than just assuming the caching community will do it for him?

Absolutely... I couldn't agree more. :P If it's the cache owner that archives his/her cache, for whatever reason, it certainly wouldn't be too much to expect them to do just that but I know with some certainty that there are cache owners that have archived a cache and just couldn't be bothered to go a collect it. However, if their cache is archived by a reviewer in somewhat less than pleasant circumstances, I wouldn't be too surprised if an attitude of 'You archived it, you go and get it' prevailed. I'd be a little disappointed, but not surprised :unsure:

 

All the reviewers are doing is reviewing caches that are submitted for listing on Groundspeak - to ensure that (as near as they can do) the caches comply with GS's guidelines.

They are not responsible for hiding caches on our behalf - or retrieving caches that are no longer listed (archived).

 

If a cache is archived, the reviewer already has tidied up the only part of it they have had any involvement in - the cache is no longer listed as an active cache!

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How on earth did they get the idea that they are buried ????

Given the semantic twisting that I've seen on occasion in other parts of these forums over the precise meaning of "buried", it doesn't surprise me that someone who isn't party to that, and/or doesn't like caching in the first place, might idly toss out such a word.

 

You and I know that if our cache is under a big pile of leaves, we should probably avoid writing "it's buried under leaves" on the cache page, because the "b" word is the Worst Word In The Geocaching World. But if you were to take a newbie, show them the spot, tell them to extract the cache, and then ask them when they got home, they'd be quite likely to say, "Yeah, it was fun, the box was buried under a big pile of leaves".

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Thanks for sharing the reply with us. It highlights some interesting points which I think should be checked and clarified.

... I can understand your disappointment that we do not allow geocaching in the Royal Parks. This is a longstanding policy and is not, as you imply, a new restriction. ...

Is that so? Are all the people who claim to have "written permission" for caches in the Parks simply lying? Someone here is either fibbing or has been misinformed. If the policy was so long-standing, surely all Royal Parks officials would have been well aware and would never give permission.

...There are security and environmental reasons why we maintain this. This agency does not hold details of the number of stop and searches that have taken place relating to this activity, as enforcement issues are a matter for the police. However the police fully support the policy and agree that to allow geocaching in the estate could present security risks and resource pressures....

Bearing in mind that geocaching is pretty much on a par with playing frisbee or collecting conkers, what exactly are these security concerns unique to the Parks? I'm not really wanting to argue with them, but it's useful for us to know what trouble is actually perceived as being caused by people strolling around and inspecting the odd pile of leaves or park bench. It can't just be in the Parks that this causes nuisance and expense, so perhaps we should be aware from the point of view of ensuring cache activity is less troublesome in general.

...You mention Richmond and Bushy Parks. Richmond Park is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserve and as a European Special Area of Conservation. Burying a cache in the Park is actually an offence both under the Royal Parks Regulations and the Wildlife and Countryside Act. ...

As has been mentioned above, and we're all well aware, caches are not buried. This wording infers that the writer is not familiar with the nature of the game nor the guidelines or common practice of geocaching. I don't think that he means buried as in "covered with sticks". Also, caches within SSSIs, Nature Reserves etc. are quite common and in many places positively encouraged. Was the RP representative not told about that?

...Earlier this year park staff discovered a large geocache which had been left at the base of a veteran oak tree. Whilst the person who put it there probably thought they were doing no harm, disturbance to this sensitive habitat is not acceptable. We are seeking similar protective SSSI designation for Bushy Park....

Which cache was this? Was it really a "large" geocache, was it placed with permission, and how so, if it was (presumably) behind a barrier and off-limits to the public (as inferred - otherwise why would a cache cause more disturbance than the usual visitors, dogs, kids and so on)? I'm not doubting that something like this took place, but it would be educational to be familiar with the example. I'm sure the local reviewer would remember the incident.

 

I really think that the GAGB should immediately check the facts and then be in contact with the Royal Parks CEO. At the moment we seem to have been the victims of someone taking decisions based on false, misleading and inaccurate information. Of course, I don't expect the decision to change, but perhaps we could accept the ban more easily if we were convinced that it was backed by evidence and knowledge of the subject rather than what appears on the face of it to be assumptions based on faulty understanding and dubious assumptions.

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Just adding a two penneth into the mix; dunno if it is relevant or not, but it does concern an access issue I had in one of the Royal Parks.

 

Background; many of you know already, but I use a wheelchair and have an assistance dog.

 

A few years back I turned up at Princess Dianas Memorial Fountain, not lomng after it opened, wanting to pay my respects. (We had actually met back in 1994 when I was in hospital after my accident, but that's another story).

 

When the fountain was new, and now at busy times, it has a jobsworth on the gate.

 

I was refused entry as Caesar, my assistance dog is not a Guide Dog ... now you, me and the man in the moon know that they have equal status in the UK but the jobsworth on the gate did not know.

 

Even the signage backed him up. Entry was refused in spite of my protestations.

 

Eventually, a queue built up and some kind American gentleman pointed out no matter what the dog helped with, he was still a helping dog. Entry allowed, but I was stalked by another jobsworth.

 

I was so annoyed by this treatment, that when I left the compound, I sent a text to my MP. Now, this is when you know your MP is really listening to you, she sent a text right back telling me to take names, photos, witness details etc.

 

I followed instructions and forwarded the information to her, and within 6 weeks, she had received an apology to pass on to me, signage was all changed and all registered assistance dogs were then allowed in to the Memorial Fountain.

 

...and why do I tell you this? Well, clearly at that stage, my MP ... and I'm sure she could have been any MP, was able to bring about change in a Royal Park. It also shows, Royal Parks can, and do, get things wrong sometimes.

 

Admittedly, banning geocaching is probably not against the law in the way that the blatent discrimination against me was ... but who knows?

 

I wonder what the Mayor thinks?

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A gentle reminder......

 

In my original post I asked that those caches affected by the RP's decision not to allow caching in the parks should be archived and removed. I did not give a 'deadline'. I hoped people would be sensible about this and deal with the caches themselves. Many people have indeed done so and thank you to them for their quick response. There are some cache owners who have not responded to emails and looking at their profiles it may be they are no longer actively caching and so not aware of the issue. There are also some caches still active and in place owned by people who are aware of my request.

 

Wednesday 25th will be 10 days since my original post which I think is time enough for people to have dealt with the caches themselves. I shall be going through all the affected caches and if they have not been archived I will archive them myself. Please note that I did post in this thread that any multi/mystery caches that were archived may be unarchived if the owners want to move the containers out of the parks. The reviewers will be happy to do this subject to the new location meeting current guidelines.

 

Chris

Graculus

Volunteer UK Reviewer for geocaching.com

UK Geocaching Information & Resources website www.follow-the-arrow.co.uk

I am active, and responded immediatley by archiving the caches which could not be saved. the one which could be relocated I emailed you and asked for a stay of execution whilst i sorted it out. I DID DISABLE IT and state on the log that no one was to seek it until I had sort it... So was quite upset that despite this you still archived it.... WHY?????? :unsure::PB)

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I am active, and responded immediatley by archiving the caches which could not be saved. the one which could be relocated I emailed you and asked for a stay of execution whilst i sorted it out. I DID DISABLE IT and state on the log that no one was to seek it until I had sort it... So was quite upset that despite this you still archived it.... WHY?????? :unsure::PB)

 

You have mail :D

 

Chris

Graculus

Volunteer UK Reviewer for geocaching.com

UK Geocaching Information & Resources website www.follow-the-arrow.co.uk

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If you go to any cacher's profile page and click on the "Geocaches" tab you can see a listing of all caches found (on the left) or hidden (on the right), including archived caches.

 

I do realise this (and did it on Kewfriend's caches myself to see if I'd found any other than the Iona one) - my point is you have to be a pretty dedicated cacher to find them, and you have to read this thread to realise they're probably still there. Relying on such dedication to get TBs picked up from caches that you yourself have chosen to archive (for whatever reason) isn't very acceptable.

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You know keehotee hit the nail on the head.

 

Geocaching.com is a listing site, therefore it's essentially a notice board to tell people where your cache is and that they can go seek it.

 

Now since mentioning Geocaching to friends at church or work, I've heard of one instance of a friend of a friend who has been hiding things in parks for years and setting challenges for groups of friends to go find them.

 

This person has never been a "Geocacher", but they've been doing it all along. I assume that they've never asked for permission either since they've just been doing it for friends but that's really the kicker.

 

I notice that there is a legalistic approach by some to this activity - but last time I heard Geocaching was not an official sport or regulated in any way by any authority - inasmuch that officials visit cache sites or ban cache sites.

 

It seems a bit like this, if you planned a picnic with your family in the park, no-one would bat an eyelid. But if you were to plan a mass picnic and invite hundreds of people - well then it would be classed as some sort of event... even though the same amount of people might go to a park whether they all arrived at random or if you actually invited them, it seems there is something that becomes OFFICIAL when the invites are more open.

 

What am I trying to say here? Well, one is that maybe we shouldn't be trying to make geocaching some kind of official activity, and maybe if you enjoy it so much, hide your own, don't use a listing site, invite friends nonetheless or post it on your own blog.

 

If you think about it, it's almost as though the authorities are really against the assembling of groups, not against casual, friendly activities at all.

 

Is it better to always seek some kind of permission for things which by common sense tell us are harmless? Or should we assume permission until someone points out it's wrong (and happily comply)?

 

I notice more and more in UK society (and I don't know about other areas of the world), that there are so many rules that govern every little aspect of our lives, when we come across a situation that there are no rules posted, we tend to invent a rule because it seems like there should be one.

 

I can cite a specific example that happened to me recently. I can't give too much detail but I was in a voluntary role which put me into contact with the general public. A woman fell over onto her back, I went over to help her up but was stopped by a colleague who told me specifically not to. The reason? Not health and safety or anything like that, but the risk of a claim of sexual harassment. Yep, that's right - don't help or touch a member of the opposite sex in need in case it's perceived as a sexual advance.

 

I queried this and stated that if I had not been 'wearing the uniform' I would have done it automatically as an ordinary member of the public. When I stated this and asked what the difference was... I got a pause and a "hmm".

 

That's right, no policy, just a rule that someone invented that sounded like a real rule.

 

OK I digress. But I hope people get the point. I really think that, simply as human beings, we should be slow to make judgements and slow to rush into stamping officialdom and sweeping rules on everything just because of a few exceptions.

 

I'm thankful there are areas in the UK that are free for us to access, walk and play. If someone explicitly says I don't want you here, and they 'own' the land, then fair play, I'll just go somewhere else. I'd hate to see a world where permission must be granted to walk outside your front door and get your ID scanned before being allowed to leave your street - but perhaps it's headed this way unless more than a few of us use common sense.

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I am active, and responded immediatley by archiving the caches which could not be saved. the one which could be relocated I emailed you and asked for a stay of execution whilst i sorted it out. I DID DISABLE IT and state on the log that no one was to seek it until I had sort it... So was quite upset that despite this you still archived it.... WHY?????? :unsure::PB)

 

You have mail :D

 

Chris

Graculus

Volunteer UK Reviewer for geocaching.com

UK Geocaching Information & Resources website www.follow-the-arrow.co.uk

Thanks Graculus, I will sort it as soon as I can, thanks for all your hard work. Cheers M :DB)

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OK ...

 

I havent posted for a while to let the dust settle and a sense of proportion, including my own, return.

 

There are lots of separate issues - my own hasty fury being one of them, and I apologise.

 

I have proposed a compromise to GC.COM. I am in direct discussions with the CEO Royal Parks. I have greater hope with the latter than with the former re Peter Pan.

 

With respect to the other issues:

 

1) GC.COMs behaviour - no further comment from me.

2) Geocaching in general - well if written proof of title ownership of land and/or permissions in future is required that opens a can of worms. Thus that includes whether (for instance) The Department of Transport etc is entitled to know which geocaches are placed on the public highways and to decided on their appropriateness. Your call - but you'll get the drift.

3) Unarchiving caches - out of my hands

 

I will do nothing hasty and I have calmed down. My apologies to all.

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OK ...

 

I havent posted for a while to let the dust settle and a sense of proportion, including my own, return.

 

There are lots of separate issues - my own hasty fury being one of them, and I apologise.

 

I have proposed a compromise to GC.COM. I am in direct discussions with the CEO Royal Parks. I have greater hope with the latter than with the former re Peter Pan.

 

With respect to the other issues:

 

1) GC.COMs behaviour - no further comment from me.

2) Geocaching in general - well if written proof of title ownership of land and/or permissions in future is required that opens a can of worms. Thus that includes whether (for instance) The Department of Transport etc is entitled to know which geocaches are placed on the public highways and to decided on their appropriateness. Your call - but you'll get the drift.

3) Unarchiving caches - out of my hands

 

I will do nothing hasty and I have calmed down. My apologies to all.

 

Phew! Glad to hear it.

 

I don't doubt you're angry and frustrated when you can't see the rhyme or reason to a decision that affects you. However, I'm sure the decision to ban physical caches in the Royal Parks was made in good faith. Let the GAGB work away and I bet there will be a compromise.

 

PS - the FoI Act request probably won't be accepted if the e-mails (as I suspect) discussed security issues.

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Hi,

 

As geocacher geocacher in general and how he has enjoyed some of the caches in the LONDON ROYAL PARK, I express my solidarity with you and from Spain will receive a Christmas vindicating enjoy doing Geocaching in the LONDON ROYAL PARK.

 

A Spanish geocacher member of G.E.A. - Spanish geocachers Associates.

 

Regards,

 

Gonzalo

 

QVI.SIM.SCIES.SI.PAR.OPVS.FACERE.CONABERIS.

du9mbjiubw.gif

 

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Edited by alamostrail
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Still need lots more signature folks, bump up the threads in the regional forums.

There must be more than 260 cachers in Britain.

 

But are there more than 260 that care? Or are there more than 260 that go against the wishes of the landowner?

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... are there more than 260 that go against the wishes of the landowner?
That's a misrepresentation. I can guarantee that the great majority of those who have signed are not going against the wishes of the landowner, or want to, but would simply like to persuade the landowner to change his mind.

 

Rgds, Andy

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... are there more than 260 that go against the wishes of the landowner?
That's a misrepresentation. I can guarantee that the great majority of those who have signed are not going against the wishes of the landowner, or want to, but would simply like to persuade the landowner to change his mind.

 

Rgds, Andy

 

I fall into that catagorie, and personally believe the majority who have signed also do so.

 

Please remember that the Royal Parks Senior Managment, work for an executive agency of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport . Who have the following Elected Politicians at the top of the Decision chain. It's these people who have the ultimate decision to make, and those signing the petition, are just exercising their right to petition these Elected Officials.

 

Dave

 

Please note this is my personal Non Reviewer Opinion. And yes I've signed the petition, as someone who would simply like the persons at the top of the decision chain to make a very final decision. Concidering the Goverment those Elected Officials are part of, has in the past stated that Geocaching is a Suitable Outdoor Activity. And they have the right to overrule a decision made by the Senior Royal Parks Managment, just like they had the right to overrule the Local Royal Parks Managers

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... are there more than 260 that go against the wishes of the landowner?
That's a misrepresentation. I can guarantee that the great majority of those who have signed are not going against the wishes of the landowner, or want to, but would simply like to persuade the landowner to change his mind.

 

Rgds, Andy

 

Exactly - I've signed it even though I don't plan on attempting any physical caches that may remain within the Royal Parks until such time as the ban is lifted.

 

We can respect the land manager's wishes while disagreeing with them and lobbying for a change in the rules. I think the fact that all the caches within the Parks are now archived (and I know many which have been moved outside the parks or removed completely) is testament to the fact that we do respect landowner wishes.

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... are there more than 260 that go against the wishes of the landowner?
That's a misrepresentation. I can guarantee that the great majority of those who have signed are not going against the wishes of the landowner, or want to, but would simply like to persuade the landowner to change his mind.

 

Rgds, Andy

 

I fall into that catagorie, and personally believe the majority who have signed also do so.

 

Please remember that the Royal Parks Senior Managment, work for an executive agency of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport . Who have the following Elected Politicians at the top of the Decision chain. It's these people who have the ultimate decision to make, and those signing the petition, are just exercising their right to petition these Elected Officials.

 

Dave

 

Please note this is my personal Non Reviewer Opinion. And yes I've signed the petition, as someone who would simply like the persons at the top of the decision chain to make a very final decision. Concidering the Goverment those Elected Officials are part of, has in the past stated that Geocaching is a Suitable Outdoor Activity. And they have the right to overrule a decision made by the Senior Royal Parks Managment, just like they had the right to overrule the Local Royal Parks Managers

Thanks Dave... :):) We and Rowan have signed too.... MaxKim

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<snip>

 

Please remember that the Royal Parks Senior Managment, work for an executive agency of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport . Who have the following Elected Politicians at the top of the Decision chain. It's these people who have the ultimate decision to make, and those signing the petition, are just exercising their right to petition these Elected Officials.

 

Dave

 

</snip>

 

...which is exactly the point I was trying to make when I was refused access under the DDA to a part of a Royal Park ... got my MP involved and she kicked *&tt!

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FWIW, I haven't signed the petition because it is my belief that it's not Central Government's job to interfere with the decisions of a "local" authority. By all means petition the Royal Parks directly (and you'll get my support if you do), but IMO the Royal Parks and other authorities need to remain independent, so please keep TPTB in Parliament out of this.

 

Geoff

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FWIW, I haven't signed the petition because it is my belief that it's not Central Government's job to interfere with the decisions of a "local" authority. By all means petition the Royal Parks directly (and you'll get my support if you do), but IMO the Royal Parks and other authorities need to remain independent, so please keep TPTB in Parliament out of this.

 

Geoff

 

Sorry Geoff but they are a government agency, and as such are directly responsible to the TPTB in Parliament, who in turn have a direct hand in setting their policy. They are not and can not be independent of TPTB.

 

To quote from their own website (under "About Us")

The Royal Parks is an executive agency of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

 

Totally unlike 'local authorities' who are to a greater extent autonomous.

Edited by MartyBartfast
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FWIW, I haven't signed the petition because it is my belief that it's not Central Government's job to interfere with the decisions of a "local" authority. By all means petition the Royal Parks directly (and you'll get my support if you do), but IMO the Royal Parks and other authorities need to remain independent, so please keep TPTB in Parliament out of this.

 

Geoff

 

FWIW, I haven't signed the petition because it is my belief that it's not Central Government's job to interfere with the decisions of a "local" authority. By all means petition the Royal Parks directly (and you'll get my support if you do), but IMO the Royal Parks and other authorities need to remain independent, so please keep TPTB in Parliament out of this.

 

Geoff

 

Posted to clarify the Status of the Royal Parks.

 

Sorry but the Royal Parks are Part of Central Government and not Local Authority. To qoute from their own website

 

The Royal Parks is an executive agency of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

 

And to quote from DCMS-Department for Culture Media and Sports a list of their Ministers

 

 

So the Local Managers at the Royal Parks who gave initial permission for the Placement of Caches, are answerable to the Senior Royal Parks Managment who applied the Ban. They in turn are answerable to the Managment at DCMS, who are in turn finaly answerable to who ever holds the Post of Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport. Which is curently Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw MP

 

Dave

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They're not the only ones. However, that doesn't change my belief that they should be left to manage their own affairs without interference from the PM.

 

Geoff

But if they are wrong then any infulence that changes that must help them see sense.... sign and help get these caches reienstated.... Please... MaxKim.

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It seems to me that what we have here is a clash of bureaucracies.

 

The English Royal Parks bureaucracy insists that caches in their parks insists that caches in their parks must be Virtual caches. The GC.com bureaucracy demands that they must be physical caches instead.

 

It seems to me that the ideal win-win solution would be for the GC.com bureaucracy to relent and to allow Virts to exist in English Royal Parks and elsewhere.

 

As for petitioning an intransigent bureaucracy, don't be so silly. You might as well petition the GC.com bureaucracy, for all the good it would do.

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It seems to me that what we have here is a clash of bureaucracies.

 

The English Royal Parks bureaucracy insists that caches in their parks insists that caches in their parks must be Virtual caches. The GC.com bureaucracy demands that they must be physical caches instead.

 

It seems to me that the ideal win-win solution would be for the GC.com bureaucracy to relent and to allow Virts to exist in English Royal Parks and elsewhere.

 

As for petitioning an intransigent bureaucracy, don't be so silly. You might as well petition the GC.com bureaucracy, for all the good it would do.

 

Of course, the alternative middle ground exists where virtual waypoints for multis are allowed by both!

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Yes, but think of the poor sad suckers for whom parks in London are their only greenspace. Let them too enjoy the great outdoors and do a bit of geocaching outwith the ghastly urban canyons of London.

 

The carbon footprint of yer averager Londoner, yearning to breathe free and see a bit of countryside, is horrendous. Let the blighters have a bit of exercise in a bit of greenspace and do a bit of geocaching too.

 

You never know. The poor sods might actually begin to feel that they have a life.

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It seems to me that what we have here is a clash of bureaucracies.

 

The English Royal Parks bureaucracy insists that caches in their parks insists that caches in their parks must be Virtual caches. The GC.com bureaucracy demands that they must be physical caches instead.

 

It seems to me that the ideal win-win solution would be for the GC.com bureaucracy to relent and to allow Virts to exist in English Royal Parks and elsewhere.

 

As for petitioning an intransigent bureaucracy, don't be so silly. You might as well petition the GC.com bureaucracy, for all the good it would do.

 

Of course, the alternative middle ground exists where virtual waypoints for multis are allowed by both!

 

The trouble with that is that either vast areas of the parks aren't used for stages, or the areas around the parks rapidly become saturated with caches, making it ever-harder to find places to leave the final stage for a multi, or indeed to find anywhere suitable for placing a cache that isn't within 500 feet of another one.

 

Looking specifically at Richmond and Bushy Parks (the ones nearest my home), the areas around them are largely built up (obviously the same applies even more so to Hyde Park, Regents Park, Green Park etc).

 

When I think of something like the St Pauls View cache in Richmond Park (with the final stage now outside the park) both stages are great areas. The view alone is worth the few miles cycling uphill to get to, and the final location is just a few feet from where an older cache was once placed. But isn't it a shame that two locations collectively now offer one cache instead of two? And with the Thames so close, how many "Thames Path" caches might be displaced by Richmond Park caches needing to put the final stage nearby and the owner wanting to make it somewhere that's actually worth visiting?

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Just out of interest - does anybody know what percentage of London's caches were actually in royal parks?

The best percentage ;) . Looking at the numbers is, I'm afraid, missing the point. Caching in any of the parks is better (in my opinion, of course) than the caching in most of the rest of London, i.e. I would rather have 10 caches in Richmond Park than 1000 caches in densely built up areas. Without the parks we have Hampstead Heath and not very much else.

 

Rgds, Andy

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Perhaps we could enlist the help of the Royal Family, at least one of whom (a prince) is an active geocacher and has set a cache on Royal land (albeit in France!).

I guess you meant "Danish Royal Family"; the member in question is a French aristocrat by birth and therefore extremely unlikely to be closely related to the Von Windsors. :)

 

PS: The cache in question.

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I guess you meant "Danish Royal Family"; the member in question is a French aristocrat by birth and therefore extremely unlikely to be closely related to the Von Windsors. :)

Good work, Nick - correct! :lol:

But his grandson (also Prince Henrik) is in line for the British throne, (as are other grandsons and miscellaneous relatives) which is close enough for me...he could at least tip off one of our royals by SMS, or add his name to the petition...

Edited by Happy Humphrey
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I guess you meant "Danish Royal Family"; the member in question is a French aristocrat by birth and therefore extremely unlikely to be closely related to the Von Windsors. :antenna:

Good work, Nick - correct! :antenna:

But his grandson (also Prince Henrik) is in line for the British throne, (as are other grandsons and miscellaneous relatives) which is close enough for me...he could at least tip off one of our royals by SMS, or add his name to the petition...

He's the 230th person in line for the throne. :antenna:

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Surprised the petition seems to have stopped at 300 signatures. Thought we would get more than that.

 

The problem you have is that you have to be British or resident to sign. That discounts all the tourists that visit London. That said they should be encouraged to write to the head minister of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. In fact it would be worth people doing that as well as the petition.

 

Not that many of the UK cachers visit forums to see the link to the petition.

 

Some just do not think the No10 petition does anything what so ever other than make people feel like they are communicating with No10.

 

Some cachers realise that the loss of the parks is a shame, but there are plenty of other caches in London. Although personally I wish I had done more of them. I also have no doubt that one day this agreement is re looked at and will be back.

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