Chance to explore the Hope Valley

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Families can hunt for hidden secrets in the Peak District’s beautiful Hope Valley as part of the nationwide Festival of Ecology during June, July and August.

The Geocache Trail is among more than 60 festival activities organised by the British Ecological Society to celebrate its centenary this year.

Families or groups will be able to borrow GPS (Global Positioning System) units from Castleton Visitor Centre on Saturday June 8, Sunday July 14, Sunday August 4 and Friday August 9, 10am-4pm.

Or people with their own GPS or smart phone will be able to pick up a free trail leaflet at the centre or download it from www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/learningevents (from June 8) and do the trail at any time.

Then with the aid of GPS and a map they can hunt through the landscape for hidden containers (geocaches), which will reveal special activities to help them find out about the wildlife, geology or history of the area.

Staff from the Peak District National Park Authority and National Trust are staging free activities on the special dates above, including stream dipping and mini-beast hunting.

Sarah Wilks, from the national park’s Learning and Development team, said: “The geocache trails add a bit of anticipation and excitement to a walk in the countryside. They enable people to use technology and mapping skills to learn about the national park, its wildlife and special qualities, in a way that should appeal especially to families with children or young people.”

The Geocache Trail will take around two hours.

For details of these and other family learning activities in the national park for the summer, go to www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/learningevents or call 01433 620373 (weekdays 9am-5pm).