Prior to arrival of the steam train, luckily just a short while after the tracks had been laid, in the 1860s, Bricket Wood was nothing more than a patchwork of farm fields and ancient woodland. Little changed during the following 30 years or so as the railway carried the chuffing trains back and forth along the 6 mile, single-track branch line that ran from Watford Junction to St. Albans Abbey. And then, Bricket Wood got weird. The next 30 years saw the area become the permanent home of not one, but two fairground “resorts”, both of which eventually closed in 1929. Odd? Sure, but the locals were just getting started. At about the same time the fairgrounds closed, the naturists arrived. A large patch of private woodland was split up and sold in 5 acre lots and no less than 5 of them were purchased by those wishing to establish naturist reserves including 2 that still remain today, Spielplatz and Ficeacres. OK, Fairgrounds and nudists…. but wait, then the witches came. In the 1940s Gerald Gardner moved from the New Forest to establish the Bricket Wood Coven which held their rituals in a reconstructed witches cottage on the grounds of the Fiveacres naturist reserve. I do not know whether the witches were also naturists. I doubt it… broomsticks and splinters and all that [wince].
So what has any of this got to do with geocaching? Nothing at all to be honest… sorry about that. But It does serve as evidence, albeit poorly researched and wildly apocryphal evidence, that I believe there are strange and magical powers at work there, and that a geocaching expedition to the beautiful and mystical Bricket Wood Common is a sure-fire way of having a large amount of your favourite points mysteriously removed from you. I can think of no other reason.
Last Wednesday, Sam had a day off school and so we set out in search of adventure and tupperware on Bricket Wood Common. The fresh air, tranquillity and all round beauty of the wood was soon enough to convert a slightly moody preteen into a human being who was altogether a much more pleasant person to be around. Throw into the mix a handful of caches and a thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all.
All the caches were owned by Hope2pigs and as we have previously discovered, her caches are always well thought out and almost never dull or boring. Hope2pigs has a total of 20 hides in Bricket Wood and the area between there and nearby St. Albans and all of them have favourite points. Only a couple have less than 3 and most have 7 and up. Amongst the caches we found that day were a lovely wooden field puzzle box, a cheekily whittled fence post concealing a hidden container, a hollowed out log – the hide for a clever puzzle cache and a 3d printed bug concealing a magnetic nano. Now I can’t comment as to whether Hope2pigs has direct connections to either the naturists, the witches or any other of the weirdness that seems to centre on Bricket Wood, but it is hard to avoid drawing the obvious, staggeringly tenuous and possibly litigious conclusion that she must be channelling some kind of awesome, and unknown, power through her geocaches. How else can you explain me leaving Bricket Wood with and enormous sense of well-being and 4 less favourite points than when I arrived?
I rest my case!
If you think you are up for taking on the weirdness of Bricket Wood Common, and I cannot recommend it enough, then you could do a lot worse than to use Uncommon in the Common (GC5H3K) as a central point for your search
This naked, witchy, fairground geocaching adventure took place on Wednesday 30th September 2015 and took our total cache count up to 1293.