Hidden treasure: a GPS receiver is used to find the geocache boxAuthorities in the Yorkshire Dales are making life easier for treasure hunters.

A new computer has been installed at the National Park Centre in Malham so geocachers can download locations of the hidden goodies stashed throughout the area. Visitors who want to try the craze will soon be able to borrow Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment to help them find the caches.

Hidden treasure: a GPS receiver is used to find the geocache box 

Geocaching combines walking, navigation skills and a little detective work to find hidden waterproof boxes and pouches containing a logbook and goodies. The caches are stashed under rocks, in tree roots or in other places which challenge participants to discover their location using ten-figure grid references and a GPS receiver. Normally, the co-ordinates have to be downloaded from a geocaching website, but the Yorkshire Dales scheme will mean they can be obtained at the Malham Centre.

There are caches within the Yorkshire Dales at Malham, Dentdale, Hawes, Reeth and Upper Wharfedale. In November last year, grough went in search of the last set, based around Buckden.

Karen Griffiths, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s interpretation officer, said: “The idea of having the dedicated computer is to make it as easy as possible for people to download cache locations and spend the day on a treasure hunt in this spectacular countryside.

“We hope to be able to offer GPS equipment for hire in Malham by the end of the year and, eventually, in all our National Park Centres.   

“Geocaching has really taken off in the UK and the caches we have created within the national park have proved to be very popular, especially because they contain information which helps the finders to understand and appreciate the beautiful scenery and features around them.”

The Malham centre has just undergone a £50,000 revamp. Local weather forecasts are available as well as information on the area and accommodation booking.