This weekend, to get out from Mr. B's very poorly feet, I took the girls out for a bit of an adventure... in Wokingham! We were contacted by Clued Up who produce treasure hunts to try out one of their East Berkshire Treasure Trails so we spent a gorgeous wintery afternoon exploring our own town looking for clues.
Our Treasure Trail was really designed for slightly older children than Lara so she needed quite a lot of help to solve the clues but she was totally drawn in by the spy theme and really threw herself into the role play. An evil spy has planted a device that threatens to destroy all of the trees in Wokingham and Lara was challenged to solve the clues to obtain a secret code that would de-activate it. From the very first moment when Lara found out that the Oak tree was the symbol of Wokingham she was totally absorbed.
Our treasure trail came in a printed format (£6.99 to download or have a printed copy sent to you) which featured 4 pages of clues and directions to follow. The trail was designed to take at least 2 hours but because I had a toddler in tow it took us quite some time to get started and we had to go back another day to finish off. The trail included tips of where to park and other considerations such as road safety at specific parts of the walk.
After the first clue which I struggled to orient myself with, I found all of the directions and clues pretty easy to follow but not so easy that we lost interest. In fact, I REALLY enjoyed myself and can definitely picture us doing more of these trails as a family together as it was a great opportunity to get out in the fresh air with the girls.
Each clue required us to spot a landmark or a sign. Some of the clues asked you to find the item from a picture, others asked for answers to a question based on the things you had seen. Lara loved it. It was a brilliant opportunity for her to practice her new-found reading skills and some basic numbers skills. Some of the clues required us to look up words in the handy morse code reference at the back of the booklet to obtain an answer and this was a bit beyond Lara but would be perfect for older children looking for a bit more of a challenge as it really fitted in well with the spy theme.
On our walk we discovered parts of our own town that we never knew existed. Secret places, pretty places, historical places. Wokingham town centre has an awful lot of history behind it and there are lots of blue plaques to be seen but when you live there and work there it is easy to drive or walk past every day and not even notice their significance. Lara was overwhelmed when she found out that the school we were looking at was over 100 years old, "Wow, that's really really old mummy, older than me".
At the end of the trail your answers to the clues feed into a code-breaker which you need to use to gain the activation code. If you enter your answer online you are entered into a draw to win £1000 in an annual draw.
Treasure Trails are available all over the country but Clued Up particularly focus on treasure hunts and murder mysteries in Buckinghamshire and East Berkshire and now I can't wait to try out some of the other trails in Windsor, Datchet or Cookham as they are great ways of exploring local places you thought you already knew.