On Wednesday last week we took a trip to one of my favourite places, Bekonscot Model Village. Constructed by London Accountant, Roland Callingham in the late 1920s after his wife suggested that either the indoor model railway went or she did. The railway moved out to the garden and Roland started to construct a model village around the layout of the track taking inspiration from buildings in the local area and people he knew. As the village and railway grew in size he started opening it to the public and today it is one of the most extensive model villages in the UK and the oldest original village in the world.
The village, located in Beaconsfield very close to the border of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, has hundreds of buildings, vehicles and people depicted in marvellous miniature doing interesting things. The original idea behind the village was not to take itself too seriously and the quirkiness continues to this day with humorous shop names and tongue in cheek scenes being played out in miniature such as the robber making a break for it from the police station or wedding photographer who doesn’t seem to be able to keep everyone in the camera frame for long enough to take a picture. To add to all this lovely miniature fun there is now the added bonus of a geocache there. It takes the form of a multi cache and requires you to collect clues from all around the village such as the time of the service at the minster or the price of a llama ride at Chessnade Zoo. Once you have all the info the coordinates take you to a container that is located just outside the village.
I have visited the village numerous times, the earliest being when I was only 2 years old in 1974 and have made a point of taking both Jake and Sam there over the years. Even now, with my vision loss, I still enjoyed the visit very much as many of the buildings and vehicles have audio soundtracks to accompany them such as the announcements at one of the 7 tiny railway stations or the sounds of the choir singing in the minster. I love the way that it is not too strict about precision and getting things perfectly in context and that is why you will see a mini maze modelled on that of the one at Hampton court a stone’s throw away from a bridge that has been designed to look like the Sydney Harbour Bridge. One of the best things about Bekonscot is that every time you walk around it you notice something that you didn’t before, there are so many freeze frame stories being played out for you to interpret as you go.
As for the geocache… we managed to get all the info, some bits were a little trickier than others and required us to visit some parts of the village more than once, but no one seemed to mind. We must have made a slight error collecting the numbers though as the location that the coordinates pointed to just didn’t look right. On returning home I contacted the cache owner and he confirmed that we had made one slight mistake and so we now have the correct coordinates. We are lucky that the village is just a short 30 minutes’ drive away and seeing as it is so close to the Knotty Green cache series that we still have to finish we will be hopefully returning very soon to add our names to the log book of Giants of Bekonscot (GCKB3W), a truly unique geocache.