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Ministry of Defence - Change to geocaching policy


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The Ministry of Defence (MOD) own a lot of land in the UK (the Defence Estate). Much of this is used for military training and some of this is also open public access (with some restrictions). The MOD have said they do not want geocaching activity on their land. The Geocaching Association of Great Britain (GAGB) are negotiating with the MOD to see if non-physical cache stages may be permitted including Earthcaches* and Wherigo. However, until this is decided no caches (of any type) or stages that are placed in land identified as belonging to the MOD will be published. It has not been possible to identify all their land holdings other than the training areas so it is possible caches may continue to be placed on their land without the cache owner or the reviewers being aware and these may get published. If in the future the MOD identify these caches they may ask that they are removed. At the moment they have not asked for any caches currently in place to be removed but this could change.

A Google map of the training areas is available to view. Caches placed within these areas will not be published. Click here to open the map.

Further information is available in the Geocaching Association of Great Britain forum here.

 

*Earthcaches (wherever they are located) require specific permission. Please see the guidelines for Earthcaches here.

 

Chris

Graculus

Volunteer UK Reviewer for geocaching.com

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Edited by Graculus
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Dartmoor has had letterboxes in firing ranges for many decades; it would not be fair to ban caching and not boxing, especially given caching's lower density rules. Letterboxing can't be stopped easily either, and it encourages you to look under every rock, not just at the gz as caching does.

 

Good luck with the negotiations, gagb - rooting for you.

 

(As pointed out, the map for dartmoor shows the firing ranges - most of which are leased to the MOD, not owned by (Willsworthy range being the exception). Whilst they may be able to persuade the Duchy who owns the land to ban on their behalf, currently they have no rights to ban caching within most of that area)

Edited by dartymoor
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This would be a major blow for geocaching on Dartmoor. I am amazed that GAGB has been negotiating with the MoD regarding this and we have heard nothing of it at all, here on Dartmoor. From what I have read so far it looks as though whatever negotiations have taken place we seem to have just given in without a fight as Graculus has said that new geocaches will not be published. So what were the negotiations and what did they achieve? As far as I am concerned this is the start of the negotiations and not the end, now that we know what has been occurring. I can't think why GAGB didn't consult those of us who had a real interest in this matter to help with their negotiations.

 

As dartymoor has said, this is far from straightforward on Dartmoor. Letterboxes have been placed on the moor for generations and it is estimated that there are maybe 20,000 letterboxes out there, the majority of which are within the MoD ranges. It would be impossible to identify and remove these anyway. It is also worth noting that the MoD only own the smallest of the three Dartmoor ranges and their use has been the subject of intense political discussion. I will initially take this up with the DNPA with whom we have agreed geocaching guidelines and I will also take this up with the Duchy of Cornwall who own the land. This could end up as a major political discussion if the MoD are trying in any way to restrict the use of Dartmoor to the general public. At the moment they are tolerated but public attitude could easily change. I must check to see who my MP is :)

 

I doubt if I will post again on this web site on this subject. For those interested in developments please watch this space: www.dartmoorgeocaching.co.uk Anybody is welcome to log on and express their views.

Edited by Dartmoor Dave
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I can't comment on what negotiations have taken place between the MOD and the GAGB as none of the UK reviewers were directly involved. We are only following the wishes of the MOD as expressed to the GAGB. It's actually a real headache for us because we have no maps as such of the MOD land holdings apart from the ones taken from the OS 1:25 maps which show their ranges. These will be affected and yes, it includes a large part of Dartmoor as well as Salisbury plain and other such areas. The MOD are one of the biggest land owners in the country and I'm sure caches are going to placed on land we can't obviously identify as theirs. For example, there was a news story recently about the village of St Eval in Cornwall where some villagers are trying to purchase their MOD owned properties which include the local post office. There is a large military base there but how much more land around or in the village is owned by the MOD? We have told the GAGB that maps of MOD land holdings would be needed to ensure we can comply with their wishes and I hope the MOD can help us.

 

It may work out in the end. Last year Gosport council banned geocaching and asked for all caches to be removed which resulted in 33 caches being archived. After intense negotiations between a local cacher, myself and the council the ban was rescinded and they also supplied me with maps of their land. A good result. Sadly the same didn't happen with Bournemouth council where a ban still exists. They have never replied to my request for maps!

 

Chris

Graculus

Volunteer UK Reviewer for geocaching.com

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Edited by Graculus
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The MoD may be one of the biggest land owners in the country but they do NOT own Dartmoor. Most of their ranges (and my house) is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall (my landlord is Prince Charles). I can understand the MoD banning caches from land they own, but not land that they are barely tolerated on. As I said above, this issue is much bigger than geocaching (or letterboxing) and goes to the very heart of the issue of the MoD being on Dartmoor. Any restrictions to land use will I am sure be vigourously opposed by all.

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How on Earth can they expect to be able to ban a non physical waypoint? I think the whole thing is ridiculous, but this aspect especially so. For instance, on Ash Ranges, there are a number of trig points such as this:

 

http://www.panoramio.com/photo_explorer#view=photo&position=2&with_photo_id=40997722&order=date_desc&user=4751251

 

They have an assortment of numbers on them, and are ideal for sending somebody to as part of a multicache.

 

So, if I submit a multipart cache, that has this as a waypoint, which will direct you to a physical cache location outside of MOD property, will it be ok?

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How on Earth can they expect to be able to ban a non physical waypoint? I think the whole thing is ridiculous, but this aspect especially so. For instance, on Ash Ranges, there are a number of trig points such as this:

 

http://www.panoramio...sc&user=4751251

 

They have an assortment of numbers on them, and are ideal for sending somebody to as part of a multicache.

 

So, if I submit a multipart cache, that has this as a waypoint, which will direct you to a physical cache location outside of MOD property, will it be ok?

 

If after the negotiations between the GAGB and the MOD have been completed, and the Outcome is that the MOD will not allow Virtual Waypoints on their Land. Groundspeak's Volunteer UK Reviewers, will have no option but to comply with that, And would refuse to accept any cache Listing with any Virtual Stage on MOD Property. As we are required to fully comply with all requirements set by a Landowner.

 

Landowners do not differentiate between Physical Waypoints and Virtual Waypoints, all they see is a waypoint on a cache page, which is on their Property.

 

But until we have a Final decision, we are just discussing "what ifs"

 

Deci

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How can they "ban" a waypoint which is on a public footpath? If you have every right to walk the footpath then you have every right to visit the waypoint. Can they "ban" a guidebook that mentions a spot to visit along a footpath on MoD-used land?

 

There must be hundreds of Waymarks as well: are they part of the ban? The answer is no, or else Graculus will have mentioned it, but that makes no sense.

 

It seems odd that they've just come out of the blue with this ban and given no explanation whatsoever. Graculus will have mentioned it if he is aware of the reasoning. Perhaps they simply have no idea what geocaching is?

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Most people on Dartmoor seem to think that the Groundspeak reviewers have jumped the gun here without having been represented at the negotiations themselves and clearly GAGB have done us no favours at all.

 

I think the law of natural justice applies here “The right to a fair hearing requires that individuals should not be penalized by decisions affecting their rights or legitimate expectations unless they have been given prior notice of the case, a fair opportunity to answer it, and the opportunity to present their own case. The mere fact that a decision affects rights or interests is sufficient to subject the decision to the procedures required by natural justice. In Europe, the right to a fair hearing is guaranteed by Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is said to complement the common law rather than replace it.

 

I never thought I would be quoting the European Convention on Human Rights ;)

 

We clearly have not been represented at these negotiations, were not given prior notice and our legitimate expectations have been affected. I would suggest to the UK Reviewers that this ban not be implemented until such time as we have had a fair hearing, which clearly hasn't happened yet.

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People are getting all excited again without waiting to find out exactly what is happening. The GAGB are taking a beating on here. Has anyone thought that they may have stepped up to the plate to try and secure permission for caches after the MOD have just banned them without any thought or negotiation.

 

I would guess that someone has placed a cache without permission. Probably within a danger area, such as ranges. A cacher has ignored or not seen the red flags/lights and walked into the danger area. Thus meaning live training has probably been stopped and the person spoken to. The MOD then see one possible incident as something that could happen again with disastrous effects and just banned all caches on their land.*

 

I don't think the reviewers have gone and done the knee jerk reaction (why do they always get accused of this?), they are just following the rules set out to them from Groundspeak. A land owner/manager has approached them and said no you can't have them on our land. Until negotiations have taken place they must obide by their wishes. Whether you like it or not.

 

So please, think like adults and have some actual thought about what is happening, because the only knee jerk reactions I am seeing are from certain people on here.

 

*This is just a possible scenario and doesn't actually mean it has happened!!

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People are getting all excited again without waiting to find out exactly what is happening. The GAGB are taking a beating on here. Has anyone thought that they may have stepped up to the plate to try and secure permission for caches after the MOD have just banned them without any thought or negotiation.

 

I don't think the reviewers have gone and done the knee jerk reaction (why do they always get accused of this?), they are just following the rules set out to them from Groundspeak. A land owner/manager has approached them and said no you can't have them on our land. Until negotiations have taken place they must obide by their wishes. Whether you like it or not.

 

So please, think like adults and have some actual thought about what is happening, because the only knee jerk reactions I am seeing are from certain people on here.

 

Some of us ARE thinking like adults and are trying to see what can be salvaged from this mess. GAGB state in their own forum that they were approached last December by the MOD and have been in negotiations ever since. The result of these negotiations is that the MOD are banning all geocaching! What else is there to wait for? Their negotiations have failed and we are faced with a blanket ban.

 

Dartmoor is one of the largest MOD ranges in the country and is the origin of letterboxing and now is home to many geocaches. As far as I am aware GAGB have not approached anybody on Dartmoor to help in their negotiations. Access to and use of Dartmoor is enshrined in an Act of Parliament. The MOD do NOT own the vast majority of the land they use and are only just about tolerated on Dartmoor. This issue goes far deeper than little plastic boxes and should have been fully discussed with both the Duchy of Cornwall (the land owners) and the DNPA before any ban was even considered.

 

I fully understand that the UK Reviewers are obliged to follow land owners wishes and I have not criticised them for doing so. However, on Dartmoor the MOD are NOT the landowners and I think their jurisdiction should have been ascertained before this blanket ban was imposed.

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A slight correction to the above post by Haggis Hunter;

 

The reviewers have been informed by the GAGB of the (regrettable) results of the negotiations.

 

The reviewers were not involved in the negotiations - the GAGB is 'listing site agnostic'.

 

Groundspeak requires that local laws and customs are followed and in this instance a land owner has made it's wishes known to the GAGB - and the reviewers are obliged to honour those wishes (whatever their private opinions on the matter).

 

If local cachers and/or the GAGB are willing/able to negotiate local exemptions then we will be able to review accordingly.

Edited by Andalusite
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If local cachers and/or the GAGB are willing/able to negotiate local exemptions then we will be able to review accordingly.

 

Thanks for that, we will certainly be working towards a local exemption here on Dartmoor where there has always been an excellent relationship between all the parties involved.

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Looking at that KML file, and it doesn't seem to include the training estate in Northumberland (Otterburn, Redesdale, Belshiel and Corsenside for live fire, and dry training north of the river Coquet to the border ridge).

 

I know that there are caches within the boundaries of MoD land up here....are only the areas highlighted on the map affected, or are these Northumbrian caches also falling foul now?

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Looking at that KML file, and it doesn't seem to include the training estate in Northumberland (Otterburn, Redesdale, Belshiel and Corsenside for live fire, and dry training north of the river Coquet to the border ridge).

 

I know that there are caches within the boundaries of MoD land up here....are only the areas highlighted on the map affected, or are these Northumbrian caches also falling foul now?

 

The Ban applies to "ALL" MOD Properties, the KML file was created by Hand, so is not complete. to have a complete file. The MOD will need to provide the data.

 

Deci

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People are getting all excited again without waiting to find out exactly what is happening. The GAGB are taking a beating on here. Has anyone thought that they may have stepped up to the plate to try and secure permission for caches after the MOD have just banned them without any thought or negotiation.

 

I would guess that someone has placed a cache without permission. Probably within a danger area, such as ranges. A cacher has ignored or not seen the red flags/lights and walked into the danger area. Thus meaning live training has probably been stopped and the person spoken to. The MOD then see one possible incident as something that could happen again with disastrous effects and just banned all caches on their land.*

 

I don't think the reviewers have gone and done the knee jerk reaction (why do they always get accused of this?), they are just following the rules set out to them from Groundspeak. A land owner/manager has approached them and said no you can't have them on our land. Until negotiations have taken place they must obide by their wishes. Whether you like it or not.

 

So please, think like adults and have some actual thought about what is happening, because the only knee jerk reactions I am seeing are from certain people on here.

 

*This is just a possible scenario and doesn't actually mean it has happened!!

 

I know exactly what is happening. Caches are no longer allowed on MOD land. I know this because I tried to place one (in a wood owned by the MOD, outside of any danger zone), and it was blocked by the reviewer. For that reason I posted a question on this forum, a few days ago. I also went to the GAGB forum and registered to join their forum. I have yet to receive a reply on that front, otherwise I would post there.

 

With regards to cache placement, I find it hard to believe that anybody would be dumb enough to wander into a red flag area when the flags were flying. I live near ranges and even the kids obey the red flag rules. No, I think it is part of a broader MOD plan to restrict public access. I say this because a lot of the laybys on the Ash Ranges where I live, have been filled in, to prevent dog walkers (and doggers) from parking and exercising. And when I say ranges, I don't mean the danger areas, I mean the countryside that surrounds them.

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GAGB took up this negotiation after some caches had already been refused and MoD were already moving towards a ban on caching. We are still in the process of negotiating and we hope that this may result in virtual stages being permitted in some locations. We are also exploring the possibility of any areas of MoD land where physical caches might be permitted.

 

Since landowners read these forums, we would appreciate it if cachers remember this when posting comments or asking for insight into negotiation strategy.

 

We would welcome constructive ideas to help the negotiation and cachers can of course lobby MoD themselves. Please contact the GAGB committee through our email address

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I think the criticism of GAGB arises not because of the failure of the negotiations, but because this ban has come, I believe, as a complete surprise to all of us. I may be wrong but I don't believe there has been any openness at all with regard to these negotiations, not even to the extent that anybody knew they were happening. Who was asked to help in these negotiations? Here on Dartmoor there are probably more geocaches on so-called MoD land than anywhere else in the country, but I don't believe anybody here knew of these negotiations or were asked to help, even though both the DNPA and the Duchy of Cornwall are very used to negotiations with the MoD.

 

I have no problem with any land owner banning caches on land they own. But surely the basic requirement to ban a cache as a land owner is to identify the land you own? This clearly has not happened and it appears that the UK reviewers are obtaining this information from OS maps! I have have said several times in this topic that the MoD own only a small part of the land they use on Dartmoor, the rest is common land and access to it is enshrined in an Act of Parliament.

 

The other point that GAGB have not explained is how can a land owner ban a virtual stage. If you have right of access to the land, eg CROW land or a public footpath, for example, how can the land owner stop you walking there and noting whatever information is required for the virtual stage. I can find nowhere in the Groundspeak rules or guidelines that says that land owner permission is required for a virtual stage, but only for a physical cache.

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I think the criticism of GAGB arises not because of the failure of the negotiations, but because this ban has come, I believe, as a complete surprise to all of us. I may be wrong but I don't believe there has been any openness at all with regard to these negotiations, not even to the extent that anybody knew they were happening. Who was asked to help in these negotiations? Here on Dartmoor there are probably more geocaches on so-called MoD land than anywhere else in the country, but I don't believe anybody here knew of these negotiations or were asked to help, even though both the DNPA and the Duchy of Cornwall are very used to negotiations with the MoD.

 

I have no problem with any land owner banning caches on land they own. But surely the basic requirement to ban a cache as a land owner is to identify the land you own? This clearly has not happened and it appears that the UK reviewers are obtaining this information from OS maps! I have have said several times in this topic that the MoD own only a small part of the land they use on Dartmoor, the rest is common land and access to it is enshrined in an Act of Parliament.

 

The other point that GAGB have not explained is how can a land owner ban a virtual stage. If you have right of access to the land, eg CROW land or a public footpath, for example, how can the land owner stop you walking there and noting whatever information is required for the virtual stage. I can find nowhere in the Groundspeak rules or guidelines that says that land owner permission is required for a virtual stage, but only for a physical cache.

 

From the first paragraph of the guidelines;

 

"All local laws and documented land management policies apply.

This refers to both the placement of the geocache and the journey required to reach it."

 

The second sentence would cover and dissallow virtual stages of a multi cache on property where the owner has said they are not welcome - as may turn out fo be the case with MOD land.

 

Regards

 

Andalusite

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I know exactly what is happening. Caches are no longer allowed on MOD land. I know this because I tried to place one (in a wood owned by the MOD, outside of any danger zone), and it was blocked by the reviewer.

 

Who gave you permission to place it there?

 

Nobody gave me specific permission. I went by the precedent that none of the 25 or so other caches in the (fairly big) area had been placed with express permission. The area is NOT used for live firing after all, and the geocaching guidelines themselves stated only that permission MAY be required. I could understand why the MOD wouldn't want physical geocaches in live firing ranges, but this area is not used as that. Its basically woodland.

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I think the criticism of GAGB arises not because of the failure of the negotiations, but because this ban has come, I believe, as a complete surprise to all of us. I may be wrong but I don't believe there has been any openness at all with regard to these negotiations, not even to the extent that anybody knew they were happening. Who was asked to help in these negotiations? Here on Dartmoor there are probably more geocaches on so-called MoD land than anywhere else in the country, but I don't believe anybody here knew of these negotiations or were asked to help, even though both the DNPA and the Duchy of Cornwall are very used to negotiations with the MoD.

 

I have no problem with any land owner banning caches on land they own. But surely the basic requirement to ban a cache as a land owner is to identify the land you own? This clearly has not happened and it appears that the UK reviewers are obtaining this information from OS maps! I have have said several times in this topic that the MoD own only a small part of the land they use on Dartmoor, the rest is common land and access to it is enshrined in an Act of Parliament.

 

The other point that GAGB have not explained is how can a land owner ban a virtual stage. If you have right of access to the land, eg CROW land or a public footpath, for example, how can the land owner stop you walking there and noting whatever information is required for the virtual stage. I can find nowhere in the Groundspeak rules or guidelines that says that land owner permission is required for a virtual stage, but only for a physical cache.

 

From the first paragraph of the guidelines;

 

"All local laws and documented land management policies apply.

This refers to both the placement of the geocache and the journey required to reach it."

 

The second sentence would cover and dissallow virtual stages of a multi cache on property where the owner has said they are not welcome - as may turn out fo be the case with MOD land.

 

Regards

 

Andalusite

 

Show us the documentation.

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We can now only hope for a good result, the GAGB have a very difficult position and have again placed themselves in the firing line (no pun intended)like the negotiations with ACPO.

 

National agreements are fraught with difficulties, what applies in one location rarely applies to another just down the road let alone 500 miles away, the committee have taken up the challenge to try and find some common ground, in doing so they have again risked attracting massive negative publicity for themselves. Damned if they do and damned if they don't. It would probably been far better to have had at least one of the reviewer team and maybe a couple of cachers who had experience with placing caches with permission already on MOD land as part of the negotiations.

 

Saying all that we again are paying the price of people hiding behind the "adequate" permission guideline. I've no idea whether this has been due to caches appearing on MOD land without permission but there's more than a small chance that there have been, to assume that no one in the MOD or various armed forces is a cacher and would become aware of them was naive.

 

Letterboxing is a far more littering hobby and is far more prolific, they have a couple of small advantages over geocaching, no international listing body and no national representative body for the MOD to contact and "negotiate" with to enforce a ban. We're victims of our own popularity, because we're now mainstream it's much easier to enforce a ban.

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I think the criticism of GAGB arises not because of the failure of the negotiations, but because this ban has come, I believe, as a complete surprise to all of us. I may be wrong but I don't believe there has been any openness at all with regard to these negotiations, not even to the extent that anybody knew they were happening. Who was asked to help in these negotiations? Here on Dartmoor there are probably more geocaches on so-called MoD land than anywhere else in the country, but I don't believe anybody here knew of these negotiations or were asked to help, even though both the DNPA and the Duchy of Cornwall are very used to negotiations with the MoD.

 

I have no problem with any land owner banning caches on land they own. But surely the basic requirement to ban a cache as a land owner is to identify the land you own? This clearly has not happened and it appears that the UK reviewers are obtaining this information from OS maps! I have have said several times in this topic that the MoD own only a small part of the land they use on Dartmoor, the rest is common land and access to it is enshrined in an Act of Parliament.

 

The other point that GAGB have not explained is how can a land owner ban a virtual stage. If you have right of access to the land, eg CROW land or a public footpath, for example, how can the land owner stop you walking there and noting whatever information is required for the virtual stage. I can find nowhere in the Groundspeak rules or guidelines that says that land owner permission is required for a virtual stage, but only for a physical cache.

 

From the first paragraph of the guidelines;

 

"All local laws and documented land management policies apply.

This refers to both the placement of the geocache and the journey required to reach it."

 

The second sentence would cover and dissallow virtual stages of a multi cache on property where the owner has said they are not welcome - as may turn out fo be the case with MOD land.

 

Regards

 

Andalusite

 

Show us the documentation.

 

The definitive documentation is not yet in the GLAD, but in the meantime;

 

http://gagb.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=5124

Edited by Andalusite
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The Dartmoor National Park Authority, actually cover the rules of placement of Geocaches on Dartmoor. You can view it here. As you can see it stipulates that CROW accessed land may require landowners permission. Which I would say would also mean land managers permission. If anyone disagrees with that, I look forward to hearing the reply from Prince Charles.

 

Some of us ARE thinking like adults and are trying to see what can be salvaged from this mess. GAGB state in their own forum that they were approached last December by the MOD and have been in negotiations ever since. The result of these negotiations is that the MOD are banning all geocaching! What else is there to wait for? Their negotiations have failed and we are faced with a blanket ban.

 

Dartmoor is one of the largest MOD ranges in the country and is the origin of letterboxing and now is home to many geocaches. As far as I am aware GAGB have not approached anybody on Dartmoor to help in their negotiations. Access to and use of Dartmoor is enshrined in an Act of Parliament. The MOD do NOT own the vast majority of the land they use and are only just about tolerated on Dartmoor. This issue goes far deeper than little plastic boxes and should have been fully discussed with both the Duchy of Cornwall (the land owners) and the DNPA before any ban was even considered.

 

I fully understand that the UK Reviewers are obliged to follow land owners wishes and I have not criticised them for doing so. However, on Dartmoor the MOD are NOT the landowners and I think their jurisdiction should have been ascertained before this blanket ban was imposed.

They may not be the landowners, but are most certainly the current land managers. I very much doubt you know who if anyone was consulted before the ban was enforced.

 

It really makes me angry when people state that the MOD are just about tolerated. I have seen and been the brunt of people like you, that don't like the military training because it gets in the way of your comfortable life. Please tell me where you think our military should train, so that they are fully prepared to be shot at and blown up whilst on active operations such as Afghanistan and other hostile areas that they have to operate in? Believe me, keeping a level head whilst faced with such situations doesn't come from classroom training!!

 

Please, lets get this all into perspective. We are talking about the difference of searching for a plastic box and the training, sometimes dangerous, of our soldiers so that they are prepared for war.

 

If local cachers and/or the GAGB are willing/able to negotiate local exemptions then we will be able to review accordingly.

 

Thanks for that, we will certainly be working towards a local exemption here on Dartmoor where there has always been an excellent relationship between all the parties involved.

REALLY? Your other comments allude to a different opinion.

 

With regards to cache placement, I find it hard to believe that anybody would be dumb enough to wander into a red flag area when the flags were flying. I live near ranges and even the kids obey the red flag rules. No, I think it is part of a broader MOD plan to restrict public access. I say this because a lot of the laybys on the Ash Ranges where I live, have been filled in, to prevent dog walkers (and doggers) from parking and exercising. And when I say ranges, I don't mean the danger areas, I mean the countryside that surrounds them.

Never under estimate the stupidity of others!! The locals may know not too, but that is because they are used to it. But Geocaching by default attracts visitors to the area, who may have never have seen a red flag before never mind actually know what it means.

 

I suppose you could compare it to someone thinking they can place a plastic box on someone's property without permission because their perception is that all the other boxes didn't have permission. <_<

 

As a side note, did you know that the MOD are credited with being the best land conservationists in the UK? It was mentioned on TV just a few days ago.

 

Edit for a grammar typo.

Edited by Haggis Hunter
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The term the area is not used for live firing keeps getting used. Live firing tends to be rounds being fired out of the end of a barrel, whether that be a personal weapon or a tank. But pyrotechnics are used on all MOD land. Some of which can be very dangerous. So just because it isn't a live firing area, doesn't necessarily mean it is safe.

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I know exactly what is happening. Caches are no longer allowed on MOD land. I know this because I tried to place one (in a wood owned by the MOD, outside of any danger zone), and it was blocked by the reviewer.

 

Who gave you permission to place it there?

 

Nobody gave me specific permission. I went by the precedent that none of the 25 or so other caches in the (fairly big) area had been placed with express permission. The area is NOT used for live firing after all, and the geocaching guidelines themselves stated only that permission MAY be required. I could understand why the MOD wouldn't want physical geocaches in live firing ranges, but this area is not used as that. Its basically woodland.

Then you had no right to put it there, you can't just tramp over land belonging to somebody else without their permission!

"It is necessary that you read and understand the Cache Listing Requirements and Guidelines prior to placing each and every geocache. Please make sure to obtain permission from the landowner or land manager."

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From the first paragraph of the guidelines;

 

"All local laws and documented land management policies apply.

This refers to both the placement of the geocache and the journey required to reach it."

 

The second sentence would cover and dissallow virtual stages of a multi cache on property where the owner has said they are not welcome - as may turn out fo be the case with MOD land.

 

Regards

 

Andalusite

 

I would strongly dispute that interpretation of the second sentence. Certainly you cannot walk across private land to access a cache, but where there is a right of access defined in UK law (eg a public footpath or CROW land) you have every right to be there - even if you are not welcome. Fortunately in this country (and we are talking about local laws) we DO have right of access, even on private land, and GAGB should be working to ensure that this principle is NOT undermined. A virtual waypoint is nothing more than a point on a map or the GPS, providing you have the right of access I cannot see how it can be prevented and I would hope that both the GAGB and the UK Reviewers are making this point.

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I know exactly what is happening. Caches are no longer allowed on MOD land. I know this because I tried to place one (in a wood owned by the MOD, outside of any danger zone), and it was blocked by the reviewer.

 

Who gave you permission to place it there?

 

Nobody gave me specific permission. I went by the precedent that none of the 25 or so other caches in the (fairly big) area had been placed with express permission. The area is NOT used for live firing after all, and the geocaching guidelines themselves stated only that permission MAY be required. I could understand why the MOD wouldn't want physical geocaches in live firing ranges, but this area is not used as that. Its basically woodland.

Then you had no right to put it there, you can't just tramp over land belonging to somebody else without their permission!

"It is necessary that you read and understand the Cache Listing Requirements and Guidelines prior to placing each and every geocache. Please make sure to obtain permission from the landowner or land manager."

 

The land is public access. At periodic intervals there are big signs saying what you can and cannot do on the land. You cannot camp for instance. You are however free to wander about with gay abandon. At no point in the rather large list of dos and don'ts is there a mention of geocaching. The closest thing to anything against geocaching is the clauses prohibiting fly-tipping or the distribution of political literature.

 

I actually spoke to the chief range warden today. The area of land in question was outside his control, given that it wasn't in the danger zone, but he helpfully gave me the number of the person who I should talk to. He even wished me the best of luck on my quest.

 

I had to explain to him what a geocache was though, so I very much doubt that any of the other caches placed had sought specific permission.

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I had to explain to him what a geocache was though, so I very much doubt that any of the other caches placed had sought specific permission.

Go back to the link in my post above and you will see that non CROW areas of Dartmoor does not require specific permission. Here was me thinking you had done your homework!!

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The definitive documentation is not yet in the GLAD, but in the meantime;

 

http://gagb.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=5124

 

Thanks, but I had already seen that. I would reply on that thread but GAGB don't appear to be accepting registrations at the moment. So I will paste the relevent portion here:

MoD advised GAGB that they were considering their policy towards geocaching in December 2012. GAGB have informed and lobbied on the preparation of this policy over recent months and whilst this process is not yet complete, it is clear that physical caches will not be permitted. The reasons that they have been given are (verbatim):

 

“a. National Security - It is not appropriate to encourage people to leave or conceal (marked or unmarked) packages on any part of the MOD estate as it contradicts all security procedures and could lead to false security alerts.

 

b. Public Risk - the majority of the MOD training estate is a risk area where blank fire, pyrotechnics and smoke may be used even outside of the 'live fire' danger areas. The UXO danger is self evident in live ranges but also exists in dry training areas where individuals could inadvertently disturb, or harm themselves, on military debris whilst searching for (or hiding) geo-caches.”

Given that the GAGB have known about this since December 2012, I am surprised they haven't sought the opinions of their members. Had they done so they may have been in a better position. Now, I wouldn't know the history here, as I only heard of GAGB when I had the issue with my cache placement. However, it is clear from Dartmoor Dave's posts that ordinary GAGB members have been unaware of this.

 

With regards to point a, you could apply the same logic to drinks bottles, used army canteens and beer cans, Yet all of these regularly get left on the land by military and non-military people. Indeed, if a decent cache in-trash out policy was implemented, a geocache could actually improve security as it would help clear the place up, preventing other potential false positives.

 

With regards to point b, the areas of land are regularly used for non-military purposes, including: organised orienteering exercises and mountain biking events, mushroom foraging, blackberry picking. On the odd occasion, you will even find a lonely bagpipe player up there practicing (in fairness, he was probably in the army, judging from what he was wearing, and he did need the practice).

 

Anyway, what happens if, on speaking to the people who actually manage the land I am interested in, they give me explicit permission? Will I then be allowed to place a cache in the area, or will this blanket ban still exist?

 

Also, the last thing I want to do is get anybody who looks after the land in trouble, so is there any document I can refer them to so that they can check before giving me permission?

Edited by Puzbie
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I had to explain to him what a geocache was though, so I very much doubt that any of the other caches placed had sought specific permission.

Go back to the link in my post above and you will see that non CROW areas of Dartmoor does not require specific permission. Here was me thinking you had done your homework!!

 

If you had bothered to read my posts you would have seen that I'm not speaking about Dartmoor.

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Right, I have now spoken to the Captain in charge of the ranges here in Ash, and he doesn't have a problem with placing caches where I want to place them. If I was to resubmit the cache, would it get approved?

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Haggis Hunter, you seem to be a very confused person and have jumped to many wrong conclusions.

 

For a start Puzbie appears to live in Surrey and places his caches on the Ash Ranges - he does not come from Dartmoor.

 

Thank you so much for drawing my attention to the DNPA Geocaching Guidelines - I drew them up and got them accepted by all the necessary parties (the GAGB were NOT involved in this).

 

The two biggest Dartmoor Ranges are NOT CROW land they are common land and therefore the statement re CROW in the guidelines does NOT apply.

 

How dare you write "It really makes me angry when people state that the MOD are just about tolerated. I have seen and been the brunt of people like you, that don't like the military training because it gets in the way of your comfortable life. "

 

I fully support the use of Dartmoor by the MoD and nowhere will you find in my posts that I have said anything to the contrary. However, that is certainly not the view of everybody who lives on Dartmoor or who comes here for their holiday and find their access restricted. Nowhere have I said that I support that view, but it does very much exist.

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The two biggest Dartmoor Ranges are NOT CROW land they are common land and therefore the statement re CROW in the guidelines does NOT apply.

 

 

(Emphasis is mine) Minor point - in England (and possibly UK) there is really no such thing as "Common Land" - land owned by all in common - all land is owned by somone or some organisation, and thus will have someone or some committee that could give landowners' permission for a chache to be placed.

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On the (more minor) point of access and virtual waypoints, the official site makes it clear that the common land of Dartmoor is subject to open and unrestricted access for all.

 

It appears that no-one has the power to make anyone "unwelcome", and if "All local laws and documented land management policies apply.

This refers to both the placement of the geocache and the journey required to reach it.", then the documented policy in this particular case is that everyone is welcome to access the land in pursuit of a geocache (not necessarily to place a cache on the land or find a physical cache, however). Clearly, if as part of the journey you take note of a particular feature then there's no process by which the landowner can interfere with that even if they wanted to.

 

The conclusion has to be that virtual stages are perfectly fine on Dartmoor.

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The two biggest Dartmoor Ranges are NOT CROW land they are common land and therefore the statement re CROW in the guidelines does NOT apply.
(Emphasis is mine) Minor point - in England (and possibly UK) there is really no such thing as "Common Land" - land owned by all in common - all land is owned by somone or some organisation, and thus will have someone or some committee that could give landowners' permission for a chache to be placed.

I accept that point entirely, although again Dartmoor is a special case. The land in question is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall and for most things, including geocaching, they are happy to let the DNPA administer it on their behalf. They do, of course, have a different land manager who liaises with the MoD to discuss MoD use. However, as I have said several times, access to and use of this land is governed by the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985 - hence my claim that it really is a special case.

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The two biggest Dartmoor Ranges are NOT CROW land they are common land and therefore the statement re CROW in the guidelines does NOT apply.

 

 

(Emphasis is mine) Minor point - in England (and possibly UK) there is really no such thing as "Common Land" - land owned by all in common - all land is owned by somone or some organisation, and thus will have someone or some committee that could give landowners' permission for a chache to be placed.

The term "Common Land" on Dartmoor means land which is owned by someone but grazed by several farmers that have the right to graze that particular common, a common could have as many as 20 "commoners" grazing their animals.

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Right, I have now spoken to the Captain in charge of the ranges here in Ash, and he doesn't have a problem with placing caches where I want to place them. If I was to resubmit the cache, would it get approved?

 

No and I'll explain the reason why.

 

The Captain is the Local Manager, and as such is required to follow the Instructions of Senior Management. Even though they appear not yet to have filtered their decision down to Lower Management, Senior MOD Management have placed a Ban on caches on MOD Property. By allowing Geocaching, the Captain is unknowingly at present, placing himself in conflict with Senior Management.

 

The UK Reviewers, having had the decision of Senior MOD Management made aware to us, have to comply with that decision. The only option is for the Captain to obtain a exception, off his Senior Management.

 

The Royal Parks, used to give permission, at a local Management Level, and did so for a large number of years [in fact a member of the Grounds Staff, had a number of caches in Royal Parks, with Local Management Permission]. A decision by the Local Manager of Greenwich Park, to Ban Geocaching, was appealed to Senior Royal Parks Management. Who after negotiations, decided to completely Ban Geocaching, in "All" Royal Parks. Despite the amount of evidence going back years, that there was no issues with Geocaching in Royal Parks. And required the Removal of "all" caches within Royal Parks, which meant over ruling the decision of the Local Managers.

 

This is not the only isolated cases of Senior Management, over ruling decisions taken by Local Management, who are better placed to make day to day assessments of the impact the Geocaches are having. I can cite a number of such cases, including those related to Wildlife Trust.

 

Deci

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Right, I have now spoken to the Captain in charge of the ranges here in Ash, and he doesn't have a problem with placing caches where I want to place them. If I was to resubmit the cache, would it get approved?

 

No and I'll explain the reason why.

 

The Captain is the Local Manager, and as such is required to follow the Instructions of Senior Management. Even though they appear not yet to have filtered their decision down to Lower Management, Senior MOD Management have placed a Ban on caches on MOD Property. By allowing Geocaching, the Captain is unknowingly at present, placing himself in conflict with Senior Management.

 

The UK Reviewers, having had the decision of Senior MOD Management made aware to us, have to comply with that decision. The only option is for the Captain to obtain a exception, off his Senior Management.

 

The Royal Parks, used to give permission, at a local Management Level, and did so for a large number of years [in fact a member of the Grounds Staff, had a number of caches in Royal Parks, with Local Management Permission]. A decision by the Local Manager of Greenwich Park, to Ban Geocaching, was appealed to Senior Royal Parks Management. Who after negotiations, decided to completely Ban Geocaching, in "All" Royal Parks. Despite the amount of evidence going back years, that there was no issues with Geocaching in Royal Parks. And required the Removal of "all" caches within Royal Parks, which meant over ruling the decision of the Local Managers.

 

This is not the only isolated cases of Senior Management, over ruling decisions taken by Local Management, who are better placed to make day to day assessments of the impact the Geocaches are having. I can cite a number of such cases, including those related to Wildlife Trust.

 

Deci

 

Thank you first of all for addressing my question. You gave the answer that I was afraid of.

 

But who does the negotiation on behalf of the GAGB? It would be interesting if we, as British geocachers, could see the minutes of how these meetings went. If they are supposed to represent us, they should be accountable to us. At the very least, if we, as members, felt that they could employ different angles in their negotiations, we could highlight them. So that the next time there were negotiations with the senior management of a body, it wouldn't result in a blanket ban.

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The Captain is the Local Manager, and as such is required to follow the Instructions of Senior Management. Even though they appear not yet to have filtered their decision down to Lower Management, Senior MOD Management have placed a Ban on caches on MOD Property. By allowing Geocaching, the Captain is unknowingly at present, placing himself in conflict with Senior Management.

It depends in this case how the request was worded. If no mention was made to the land manager of the MOD's new campaign against geocaching then it would be pulling the wool over his eyes and wouldn't be fair. However, if the manager is aware of this new policy and overrules it, who are we to interfere?

 

Incidentally, are we really paying hundreds of thousands of pounds to senior officers in the MOD (presumably Generals) so that they can waste their time on this trivia? Geocaching / Letterboxing has been going on for many years in places such as Dartmoor without any serious problems, and this is a particularly large and gold-plated sledgehammer to crack a very small nut.

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But who does the negotiation on behalf of the GAGB? It would be interesting if we, as British geocachers, could see the minutes of how these meetings went. If they are supposed to represent us, they should be accountable to us. At the very least, if we, as members, felt that they could employ different angles in their negotiations, we could highlight them. So that the next time there were negotiations with the senior management of a body, it wouldn't result in a blanket ban.

I don't think that they presume to represent us, but there's no-one else around. You can always take a more active interest and might get elected to the committee (and therefore privy to the details of such negotiations). I agree that there should be more discussion before we're suddenly faced with a ban. I still have no idea how the MOD justify banning Groundspeak-listed caches but not letterboxes, for instance, and there seems no record of their answer to that question. Perhaps it was never asked.

 

Unfortunately, having a body such as the GAGB can be a disastrous handicap when negotiating. The officials wanting to ban caching have a ready-made solution: tell the GAGB that it's banned, leave the work to them, and take the rest of the day off. Very tempting, if you want a quick way to get rid of those spade-wielding, hi-tech treasure-hunting geeks crawling all over your nice park in vast numbers every weekend. Not an insurmountable problem, but you start on the back foot with that hindrance.

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The Captain is the Local Manager, and as such is required to follow the Instructions of Senior Management. Even though they appear not yet to have filtered their decision down to Lower Management, Senior MOD Management have placed a Ban on caches on MOD Property. By allowing Geocaching, the Captain is unknowingly at present, placing himself in conflict with Senior Management.

It depends in this case how the request was worded. If no mention was made to the land manager of the MOD's new campaign against geocaching then it would be pulling the wool over his eyes and wouldn't be fair. However, if the manager is aware of this new policy and overrules it, who are we to interfere?

 

Incidentally, are we really paying hundreds of thousands of pounds to senior officers in the MOD (presumably Generals) so that they can waste their time on this trivia? Geocaching / Letterboxing has been going on for many years in places such as Dartmoor without any serious problems, and this is a particularly large and gold-plated sledgehammer to crack a very small nut.

 

The last thing I want to do is to get any foot soldier, so to speak, in trouble. However, without being able to refer to a specific document or byelaw, it makes it very difficult to have an in-depth conversation. Until then, all I can say is "I heard the MOD was clamping down on geocaches. Is it alright if I place one in that area over there?"

 

But all that is irrelevent, I think, because no matter what the local man says, I can't see it getting past a reviewer.

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Until then, all I can say is "I heard the MOD was clamping down on geocaches. Is it alright if I place one in that area over there?"

I think you just have to give him chance to check, if he's heard nothing about the ban. Otherwise it's unfair, if you know that you have him at a disadvantage.

Logically I'd expect the reviewer to allow the cache if you mention that the land manager is aware of the MOD policy but has given permission anyway. But he/she probably would still refuse it.

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Until then, all I can say is "I heard the MOD was clamping down on geocaches. Is it alright if I place one in that area over there?"

I think you just have to give him chance to check, if he's heard nothing about the ban. Otherwise it's unfair, if you know that you have him at a disadvantage.

Logically I'd expect the reviewer to allow the cache if you mention that the land manager is aware of the MOD policy but has given permission anyway. But he/she probably would still refuse it.

 

Basically your suggesting that a Local Manager, despite knowing that his Senior Management has set a specific policy, should ignore that. And over rule his Senior Management?

 

Would you if you were in the position of being a Senior Manager, accept that of someone under you? It is just asking for the Local Manager to put himself in a position of facing Disciplinary Proceedings. And you feel that a Volunteer Reviewer, should aid in that?

 

Sorry but risking someone's job is not acceptable. And I am horrified that you would even suggest such a thing.

 

Deci

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Until then, all I can say is "I heard the MOD was clamping down on geocaches. Is it alright if I place one in that area over there?"

I think you just have to give him chance to check, if he's heard nothing about the ban. Otherwise it's unfair, if you know that you have him at a disadvantage.

Logically I'd expect the reviewer to allow the cache if you mention that the land manager is aware of the MOD policy but has given permission anyway. But he/she probably would still refuse it.

 

Basically your suggesting that a Local Manager, despite knowing that his Senior Management has set a specific policy, should ignore that. And over rule his Senior Management?

 

Would you if you were in the position of being a Senior Manager, accept that of someone under you? It is just asking for the Local Manager to put himself in a position of facing Disciplinary Proceedings. And you feel that a Volunteer Reviewer, should aid in that?

 

Sorry but risking someone's job is not acceptable. And I am horrified that you would even suggest such a thing.

 

Deci

 

No, that isn't what he's suggesting. He's saying that IF a local manager, despite knowing that his senior management has set a specific policy, chooses to ignore it, then who are we to judge?

 

He isn't suggesting that the local manager SHOULD ignore it, far from it.

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