The purpose of opencache.uk is to list good quality geocaches, to record when they have been found, and to facilitate communication between geocachers.
What is a geocache?
A geocache is a container holding a log book in which finders record their visit. It will usually contain a number of small and inexpensive items for exchange, and it may also contain "travelling items". In some circumstances the cache may be too small to hold anything other than the log book, and very occasionally there may be no physical cache at all - this is a "virtual cache".
What is a good quality geocache?
Factors that might contribute to the quality of a geocache include:
- the location - on a good walk, with a lovely view, unusual or challenging terrain, an interesting or historical place.
- Well concealed so it isn't found accidentally or disturbed by animals.
- A good quality, highly water resistant container, of a size appropriate to the location, dry inside and with an interesting collection of items for exchange.
- Ingenuity, originality, humour, a surprise, a thrill.
Factors that might detract from the quality include:
- a location overlooked by housing, offices, etc., or anywhere there is a high probability of being observed, or of causing concern to an observer.
- In a dirty location, near dumped rubbish or broken glass, near dog waste bins, etc.
- An inappropriate container, e.g. a glass jar, a flimsy plastic ice cream tub.
- Close to a busy road.
Virtual caches are permitted on opencach.uk, but should be employed sparingly. They should be used only where there is a special reason for placing a cache but where a physical cache is undesirable.
If possible the element of searching should be retained - some information that cannot be obtained using the internet, and preferably requires at least some effort to locate, should be used in conjunction with the log password feature.
Cross-listing is not prohibited by opencaching.org.uk, but it is rather pointless and is discouraged.
Rules, recommendations and requests
These cover our interaction with the environment, the authorities, non-cachers and other cachers. They range from hard and fast rules to courtesy and consideration - the language used in each clause implies its "strength".
- Choose an appropriate place to hide your cache.
- Urban caches need careful placement to avoid security concerns;
- non-cachers may view the actions of cachers as unusual or suspicious, and may alarm them.
- If you do hide a cache in a busy area, or anywhere a searcher is likely to be observed, consider giving a clear and unambiguous hint so that a cacher can find, retrieve and replace the cache without causing alarm.
- Do not place a cache in a form or location where it might compromise public safety. For example, if you employ a false sign, choose one less important than a fire hydrant sign.
- Playgrounds and schools are best avoided.
- Respect the environment and its history. Memorials and burial places require special consideration.
- Damage to SSSIs and similarly protected areas must be avoided. If you think the area may be an SSSI, visit "Natural England" http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/conservation/designatedareas/sssi/default.aspx. Using "Maps of SSSIs" you can check if a location is an SSSI, then use "Search for details of individual SSSIs" to find the reason, and what activities are permitted. This will help determine if your cache is appropriate. In other areas visit "Scottish National Heritage" http://www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlands-nature/protected-areas, "Countryside Council for Wales" http://www.ccw.gov.uk or "Northern Ireland Environment Agency" http://www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/protected_areas_home. If a cache is difficult to find there is a higher risk of environmental damage, so a clear hint should be considered here too.
- You should not hide a cache in a dry-stone or similar wall. Take care, when hiding a cache near one, that you are not encouraging people to search the wall. If necessary be explicit that the cache is NOT hidden in the wall. Walls or fences should not be climbed or tunnelled.
- Opencaching.org.uk has no explicit proximity rules, but you should check that your cache is unlikely to be confused with another cache listed here and, if possible, also check on other listing sites.
- The cache owner must consider what permission is required and liaise with landowners as necessary.
- Label the container as a geocache. Include contact details and a description of what geocaching is.
- Consider wildlife: don't place caches in animal holes or plastic bags. Hide the cache well: we don't want it to be found by muggles, whether human or animal.
- Maintain your cache promptly, especially if someone reports a possible problem with it.
- Caches must not be of a commercial nature, either in location or content. You may mention pub names, etc., in descriptions and directions, but caches should not be set where the purpose is to promote a business, charity, etc.
- Excessively vigorous searching may have a negative impact on the environment. Take care to minimise this.
- Don't leave dangerous or illegal objects in caches. Avoid leaving food, drink or strongly scented items.
- After signing the log book, re-hide the cache well, in the same place you found it unless there is a special reason.
- Log your find on the opencache.uk web site. Cache owners spend time, money and effort to ensure that their cache is placed and maintained to give finders an interesting and enjoyable experience. In return, please try to write an interesting log with useful feedback to the cache owner, and to others reading the cache page. This does not mean everyone is expected to use perfect spelling and grammar, or to be dishonest about a poor quality cache; it just means we ask that you make a little more effort than submitting a blank or "TFTC" log.
- Fair trading - when trading items in a cache, please leave something of at least equal value. It may not be possible to do this for every individual cache, but try to maintain a fair trading average.
- Travelling items - these include travel bugs, geokrety and geocoins. They belong to the owner of the traveller and therefore are NOT trading items. When you take one of these from a cache you do not have to leave anything in its place, but equally you should not take a trade item in place of a traveller that you leave in a cache. If you take a traveller, try to move it into another cache without undue delay.