Reviewed by Michelle M
Treasure Trails are something I’ve been seeing mentioned around the internet for a few years and have often wondered whether they would be good, so I jumped at the chance to review a trail. There are many trails to choose from but after lots of deliberation I chose to complete the Robin Hood’s Major Oak treasure themed trail. I’ve often walked around the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest and knew it was a pleasant walk, though I didn’t know exactly what I was expecting from the treasure trail. The premise of the trails is that you explore an area whilst following directions and solving clues in order to solve the mystery at the end of the trail.
Shortly after I requested this trail I received a booklet in the post. The front cover of the booklet has a symbol guide giving the most important relevant information such as the distance you will walk, time it might take, picnic table availability and whether the trail is accessible or not. My chosen trail was two miles long with an expected duration of two hours. This trail is pushchair accessible but the wheelchair accessibility symbol has a line through it so it is not wheelchair accessible.
The inside front cover of the booklet gives quest notes detailing the story of the trail about to be embarked on and information for how to send a text for help should you get stuck along the way. There are then four pages containing directions, information fact files and the clues themselves which in some cases include pictures of what you are looking for. The first three boxes give more essential information such as toilet locations and opportunities for grabbing a snack or refreshments. Parking information complete with post codes and street names to help locate them is also given. This was a detail I didn’t expect and I found very useful as I hadn’t realised there were free car parks near the Major Oak and would have just parked at the paid car park for the forest.
The final inside page of the booklet contains the last part of the trail story and details of how to submit your answer on the treasure trails website. Submitting the correct answer will get you an entry into their monthly prize draw which currently has a prize of £100 and some goodies for little ones. The back cover contains your treasure map with the locations where the treasure nay be hidden marked and a small map of the area showing where the trail is set. Solving each clue will result in a location on the treasure map that you can then cross off the list of possible places that are the answer.
Having arrived at one of the suggested car parks we set out to find the way to our starting point. This was the public library so very easy to find and there was even a note in the box explaining that the statue normally present was missing and why. Although, there was a statue of Robin and Marian there so it’s possible it has been returned to its spot recently or their are usually two statues. Not being familiar with the village high street we weren’t sure but this did not hinder us in any way. We set out following the directions to find each clue. Some of these made us really think about the answers, some were very easy to find but a few took a little bit of searching out. This was a pleasant surprise as I had been a little bit wary that the “great for families” trail would contain clues that were a little easy for myself and my friend as adults following them. Some clues did involve doing some maths calculations but nothing too complicated and we didn’t need to resort to using the calculator. One clue we had a little trouble with because the photo showed a close up that we were looking for but the answer was not on this specific part of the larger object it was found on. Despite not being too easy for us as adults I’m sure that most kids would enjoy helping out with solving the clues too, they might even be quicker at finding the answers. Treasure trails claim that their adventures are suitable for those age “6, 106 or anywhere in between” and I would agree with this.
We spent nearly three hours walking this treasure trail, although we did stop for refreshments along the way and we were not attempting to hurry as the weather was nice and we were enjoying being in the forest and reading all the information signs about the area and Robin Hood too! Upon returning to the car we had indeed crossed out all but one location on our treasure map. We had lots of fun completing the route and the details and thought put into each clue and fact file to make it fit with the theme of the trail was impressive.
Treasure trails can be purchased for all areas of the United Kingdom. If you select a county from the drop down menu you can find out how many trails are available in that county. Using the advanced filter on the left hand side allows you to specify other attributes such as the type of mission or to show only those trails that are accessible if this is a consideration. The F.A.Q section details how to use the filter for this. You are given a range of options for how to receive your trail. Choose from a print at home pdf file at £9.99, a booklet mailed to you for a small additional postage charge of £1.49 on top of the pdf cost, or even a personalised booklet with your own chosen photo and text though this is a little more expensive at £12,99 + £1.49 postage. Each trail page on the website gives lots of information and need to know details so you can be certain it’s right for you before you buy and there is a frequently asked questions page too. I intend to buy at least one for the area I’m going to for a short break in a few weeks as this will add another element of fun and extra information to walking in the area and they are fairly priced in my opinion.
RRP: from £9.99
Treasure trails can be bought on the website here https://www.treasuretrails.co.uk/