One freezing day in January, I set out on a quest. Armed with a map and thermals, I set out on a perilous journey through Norwich city centre in search of clues. These clues would allegedly lead me to the hiding place of the ‘lost Norman treasure’, the answer to all my empty bank balance fears.
Sadly the treasure turned out to be fictional, but the trail and treasure map were very real.
Treasure Trails have maps and treasure-hunting routes all across the country. You select the region you would like to explore, and then you receive a map and a trail of clues that you have to follow. The routes are designed to direct you to historical and scenic places in your selected area, so it is a great way to explore somewhere new or, in my case, learn a little bit more about the area I live in.
I was expecting the clues to be fairly easy, but even the combined brainpower of myself and my boyfriend struggled in a few instances. Occasionally the locations described on the map were hard to find, but we mostly got on rather well.
It was fun marching around a park in search of a face carved on to a totem pole, or discovering the name of a 19th Century treasurer buried in a cemetery. I think we may have got a few odd looks, especially as we circled a bandstand in search of a clue while a bunch of youths lounged around inside, but don’t let that put you off.
The Norman Treasure may not be real, but if you find all the clues and get the location of the ‘treasure’, you can enter in to a draw to win £1000. Not too shabby! Also, you can text to get a little helping hand if you get stuck – a very handy feature.
If you’d like to give this a go, I would recommend picking a warm, dry day to do your treasure trail. The trail I followed was estimated to take about one and a half hours, so that is quite a while to be outside. Unfortunately the day we picked was bitterly cold and we were battered by a bone-chilling wind the whole way round. At the end I had to take refuge in the blissfully-heated Waterstones, swiftly followed by a hot chocolate. So if you want to a leisurely treasure hunt, it may be better to pick a more congenial time of year. Or, you could be clever and pick a treasure trail that can be followed by car, but I like to think that this rather defeats the object.
To get your own treasure map, visit www.treasuretrails.co.uk