Abbey Environment Day & Launch of "Active Abbey Adventures" with intro to geocache, nature walk, litter-pick & craft activities

On Saturday 8th April, in the middle of the Easter holidays, Historyworks had a fantastic time at Barnwell Library and other points in Abbey ward when launching their new Geocache trail and accompanying map leaflet funded by a Cambridge City Council Walking and Promotion grant. For the event day Historyworks partnered with Abbey People, Barnwell Library, ChYpPS, The Wildlife Trust, FoodCycle, and the Margaret Wright Community Orchard to host  ‘Active Abbey Adventures’ as part of Abbey Environment Day. The weather was perfect for groups of families and friends to get out exploring around the local area down to the Cambridge Museum of Technology and the River Cam to the west and over to Coldham's Common and the Orchard to the east, using our new geocaching trail, either on foot or by bike and enjoying a variety of activities en route!

Mario had a geocaching information stand set up outside Barnwell Library and Helen provided support and a table of healthy snacks donated by Cambridge FoodCycle for people to pop by to find out more about geocaching, learn how to download the app onto their smartphone or pick up a geocaching trail leaflet to find geocaches in and around the Abbey area, and take some free bananas and satsumas to sustain them on their adventures!  Mario was also on hand to give top tips as to how to find geocaches, especially ones that were disguised in clever containers. Historyworks has purchased some interesting devices, such as a fake snail and a fake rock, and planted some in nano-caches which clip magntically onto the back of signposts, and there is even one cache hidden in a tree trunk and one up a tree - with cliplock containers holding small toys and badges to swop in addition to the logbooks - which were hugely enjoyed by young people and families having a sense of adventure around Abbey!

With geocaching, because people are encouraged to swap small items, such as toys and small wildlife objects, with ones they find in the larger geocaching boxes, and we know lots of children in the area love craft activities, we had a badge making area within the library itself, so that children (and adults!) could have fun making badges to put in the geocaching boxes, which they could swap with something they found in one of the geocaches en route.

Inside Barnwell Library, Margot Eagle and her staff hosted families for craft and story time activities on a nature theme. Whilst Tizzy from Historyworks led the badge making activity, guiding children and adults through the steps from conceptual design to making their very own badges with a professional finish.

Children were encouraged to make one badge to keep and one badge to put in a geocache when they went out exploring afterwards.  Some families were also introduced to the Barnwell Road Library for the first time, and signed up as Cambridgeshire County Library Members! 


There were lots of lovely badge designs made, including ones with pictures of the local area and flowers from Coldham's Common Wildlife Reserve area, and even the Cambridge Museum of Technology Pumping Station Chimney was featured, with everyone getting creative making some fantastic designs and then finishing them off with Tizzy’s help to use the badge-making machine.  


Barnwell Road Library's Margot Eagle were wonderful partners for the geocache launch, and also hosted a lovely story and rhyme time for 0s to 5s on a nature theme, followed by a cute nest-making craft activity showing chicks in their nest as cards for easter, which primary aged children hugely enjoyed.

Outside the Library families could be attracted to pop in for activities by a row of colourful gazebos where ChYpPs also set up a mini Scrapstore shop, where people could buy a bag full of bits and pieces for their own craft and making projects, which was handy for tips and materials just before Easter, as well finding out from Claire and Edd how to join to buy things from the main Scrapstore, which is held in Abbey every month, usually to be found on Unit 17 at the Barnwelll Business Park off Barnwell Drive, nearby the Library.  Claire and Edd also made small gift bags for children to enjoy creating, carefully learning to fold paper to glue and use to keep their toys and badges in as they went around the geocache trail. It was from the gazebos that walks started for families who wanted a guided walk to see wildlife and learn about geocaching, the first short walk led by Helen Weinstein from Historyworks from the Library to the Orchard, and the second longer walk led by Iain Webb from The Wildlife Trust from the Library for a tour around the lesser known wildlife reserve and meadows at the Barnwell Road end of Coldham's Common.


There were a number of people who joined each of the led walks throughout the day, including a large group of families with young children who joined the local walk led by Helen from Barnwell Library to the Community Orchard to find the geocache near the bug house; and then the walk around Coldham’s Common led by Iain Webb, from The Wildlife Trust (pictured here) who generously shared his knowledge,  taking a group of elders and families with older children to discover some amazing hidden areas around the Common, where the walkers admired Coldham's Brook and learnt about the return of Otters to the waterway.  Other highlights included Iain showing the group an unusual spindle tree, identifying bird calls such as the 'teacher teacher' song of the great tit, and we even spotted eight different types of butterflies on the short walk between Barnwell Road and the meadows of Coldham's Common, including the Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Peacock, and Small Tortoiseshell.

A great time was had by all, finding out about local wildlife and landmarks around Barnwell Road and Coldham's Common, whilst finding geocaches on the way and signing the logbooks in the containers and exchanging toys and badges - what fun!


Elsewhere in Abbey there were lots of other activities going on, including a very successful litter-pick at Coldham’s Common which kick-started the Environment Day theme from 10am to 12 noon, with refreshments and more nature craft activities at the Community Orchard, such as renovating the original bug house with curled leaves and twigs, and having fun creating Easter cards made with fresh leaves and flowers of the Orchard!

There was a real sense of community spirit as people came together in the sunshine to get active, get healthy and enjoy themselves at the same time!  At the Margaret Wright Community Orchard not only did the families come along to have some refreshments and fun activities after their work on the litter pick on Coldham's Common but they met with younger families who had made badges for the geocaches and then walked over with Helen from Barnwell Road Library.


Historyworks is already looking forward to our next geocaching event for the local community, which is open to all for a funday afternoon on Tuesday 30th May, in Half Term, which will also partner with Abbey People and ChYpPS. The after noon will start with a delicious lunch provided for free by Cambridge FreeCycle at Barnwell Baptist Church on Dudley Road from 12.30 to 1.30pm where we will join forces with ChYpPS to provide the badge making activity and other craft activities indoors.  Then, weather permitting, all the focus of activities will move 50 foot up the road to Dudley Road Rec from 1.30pm to 3.30pm.  

The free activities provided by Historyworks will focus on getting active with geocaching and an introduction to the birds of prey from the Raptor Foundation who have been booked by Historyworks in order that people can see and hold the pet birds of prey closeup and several birds will demonstrate their flying and hovering including an owl, an eagle, and a falcon!! ChYpPS and Scrapstore wiill lead craft activities on a flight theme of butterfly and bug making. Cambridge United Community team will offer parachute-making and flying on the flight theme. For those who enjoy tennis and football, basketball and tag there will also be team sports and kit kindly provided and led by Cambridge City Council Street Games team.

The afternoon will end with Mario and Helen leading a geocache walk from the Dudley Road Rec at 3.30pm via Barnwell Road Library and the edge of Coldham's Common to a tea with other free refreshments available from 4pm to 5pm at the Margaret Wright Community Orchard which is located just off Whithill Road! All Welcome!!

See below our new geocaching trail map which we launched on Saturday 8th April as a new way of exploring fantastic places and spaces in Cambridge. You can find the new trail map introducing geocaching here:




Abbey Environment Day & Launch of "Active Abbey Adventures" with intro to geocache, nature walk, litter-pick & craft activities