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Thread: Groundbreaking Guidelines

  1. #1

    Default Groundbreaking Guidelines

    Firstly I want to say that this is not a thread attacking our reviewers who do a damned good job of reviewing caches in this country, a job that I wouldn’t want for all the coffee in Costa’s. They are in a difficult position of being damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Neither is it an attack on the GAGB for whom I also have a lot of respect

    With all the recent debate going on regarding the disabling of the KT series, especially on Geocaching Midlands (GeM) I thought that it may be prudent to bring to issue to the GAGB forum

    For anyone who doesn’t know, the KT series is a trail of over 100 caches along a canal in the North West of England. It is a series that is relatively new and has already gained a fair few favourite points. However, someone decided to report the series to the reviewers as they feel that the caches are buried. I can’t comment on this myself as I have not done the trail, only on what I have read. It appears that tubes are stuck in to the ground and they themselves contain the actual cache. Quite rightly, under the present guidelines one of our reviewers temporarily disabled the caches whilst they investigate

    A few days later, again on GeM, another member reported that his cache had been TD’d as that had also been reported to a reviewer for being in the ground, this cache was a solar light with the cache inside it.

    ]If every cache that was staked in to the ground was reported, there would be a lot of blank spaces throughout the country. I would think that most of you reading this have found at least one cache fixed in to place like this in your caching lifetime

    Many cachers have spent good money at geocaching outlets in this country on caches that have to be staked. Fake grass, toadstools, birds etc. etc. Why would these be for sale if they couldn’t be used?

    If we want to take things to the extreme regarding the breaking the ground guideline, then surely camping events shouldn’t be allowed to take place!!! Tent pegs, flag poles and banners come to mind.

    The GAGB have also come in for a lot of stick over the last few months on various forums and Facebook pages for being out of touch with the UK population of cachers and for not representing their needs.

    This would be an ideal opportunity for the GAGB to do something that would get you a lot of support.

    ]I would ask that you, the committee, negotiate with Groundspeak on behalf of our community to rethink, reword and revise their policy on ground breaking. Obviously no one wants to go out there burying caches, but to stop people staking stuff in to the ground is going to stop a lot of innovative caches being placed.

    Last edited by Jacaru; 6th September 2012 at 05:59 AM.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    The Mendips, Somerset


    We have a committee meeting tomorrow, so I will add it to the agenda
    GAGB member since 2005
    GAGB Committee member 2010 to 2016 (Chair 2012 to 2015)
    UK Mega Event Chairman 2009 (Weston-super-Mare)

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2010


    Can you clarify what you would like the GAGB to lobby for?

    How big a stake would you say is ok? A bottle lid with a sample tube? A piece of plumbing tube with a 35mm film pot inside? A 6" tube with a plastic bottle inside? What about a fake drain cover?

    Are you asking for more complex guidelines that state widths and dimensions?

    Would you ask Groundspeak to allow buried caches with express landowner permission? If so would you want the fact that the cache is buried to be stated on the listing?

    I'm not trying to be argumentative or picky but to foster a debate about what it is that you'd like the GAGB to lobby for.



  4. #4


    Hi Andalusite,

    I welcome your question. I posted the thread to start such a debate off. It's okay people moaning on other forums about the GAGB, but I hope that by pointing them here some serious debate and discussion can start so that the committee have something firm to take to Groundspeak.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 1970


    A Poll of members to see if there is even a wish for it to be taken to review would be a good plan

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2011


    Quote Originally Posted by Andalusite View Post
    Can you clarify what you would like the GAGB to lobby for?
    I would like them to lobby for consistency in the implementation of the guidelines. We all know that there are caches which are buried and whcih have obviously broken ground but which are (currently) not TD or archived.

    Quoting something I have already said on the GAGB Facebook page:

    Reviewers are in a very difficult place as they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. They have to follow the guidelines/rules set out by the listing company (as do COs). Groundspeak are in a tough situation as well as they have to try to create/amend guidelines/rules which cover every eventuality across the world and no "governing" body has ever managed to get the rules/guidelines correct the first time.

    The rule on burying has been around for a very long time and it was amended in April to make it clearer that it was the breaking of the ground which is at fault and not using a natural dip and some camouflage to hide the cache. I am in total agreement with this rule although we have all seen many, many caches which "bend" it.
    And another quote

    ET#1 is very much buried - it is " a big ammo can placed under a little trap door in the ground". Have a look at and (taken from Even photos such as from the gallery page show it very much has broken ground.

    The same page shows sprinkler caches - "sprinkler containers placed in white pipes in the ground at the base of bushes with a rock on top.".

    Please note that I am *NOT* saying these should be TD or archived but simply asking for consistency. If a guideline is applied in one area, it should be applied in another.

    It maybe that the COs for the above have explicit permission to break ground but as the guideline is currently worded, they are still against the guidelines. If they have permission and are allowed to "bend" the guidelines because of the permission, this should be allowed elsewhere in the world (again I am not saying if the CO for KT Power series has that permission as I do not know but if the Canal & River Trust (ex British Waterways) gave that permission, we should have a level playing field.
    Personally, all I want to come out of this is for GS to clarify the situation and have it implemented consistently.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Gt. Limber. Lincs


    I wish for it to be taken to review. I've found many good hides which have broken the ground.

    I support the GAGB and thoroughly appreciate what they do for the caching community.
    I'm also aware that this site appears to have a much lower volume of traffic than the social networking sites.
    I didn't know there was a committee meeting for example, don't know if I should have. However, it helps when I see Jacaru start a thread and see the GAGB respond and say they will put it on the agenda for discussion. This is a positive thing.

    I didn't know there was a committee meeting, unsure if I was meant to. BUT I think I would like to know so if I had any burning issues then I could mention them on here or on the GAGB facebook page and hope they may make the committee agenda. Perhaps a wee note or status update on facebook would make the GAGB more accessible to us Joe Publics. I digress.

    I would like the GAGB to discuss the 'ground breaking' guideline. I disagree with it myself and wish for it to be rethought.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default GAGB please lobby Groundspeak

    cache with a small spike or tube pushed into the ground do no damage. In many cases they secure the cache so that it does not migrate from its intended location and makes locating them straight forward. This can in turn prevent damage to the surrounding area through caching activity.

    With regards to what I think should be allowed I would say a spike with a diameter no greater than a regular pencil which can be pushed into the ground by hand. A tube large enough to accomodate a 35mm film pot. Again which can be pushed into the ground by hand.

    If groundspeak committee members are unaware there has been a huge wave of support on the GeM facebook page for the KT Power series. Clearly this is something that the vast majority of cachers think is acceptable and support the use of. Even the reviewer Royal Oak has done the series and clearly saw nothing wrong with it. I think they even favourited it.

    Please represent the views of UK cachers on this issue by petitioning groundspeak to allow this type of hide.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Halifax, uk


    I'm a little surprised there's so little activity on here regarding this, considering the hundreds, of not thousands of comments on the various Facebook groups.
    I've also found some great creative and imaginative caches which were buried, do the no burying (or breaking ground) rule operates to have been flouted regularly globally (et highway), but most cachers and reviewers turn a blind eye.
    Perhaps "we should campaign for greater reviewer flexibility though I do understand lines needed to be drawn, and three only way to guarantee consistency is to treat guidelines as hard and fast rules.
    One thing we could do to raise awareness of this issue is report et1, this is a global game, lets see if the rule are interpreted the same?

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    I would like to make the follow suggestions regarding breaking the ground.
    The rules should be altered as follows.

    1. Spikes including tubes up to 50 mm diameter my be inserted into the ground to a maximum depth of 300mm should be allowed anywhere except SSIs or similar.

    2. On ground that is in agricultural use, on private fenced land, SSIs and similar then ground breaking should be completely prohibited except as above with landowners specific permission.

    3. On road verges and areas on the road side of fences or hedges and similar areas with public access it is permitted subject to the following:-
    Maximum size of any hole to be 500mm x 500mm x500mm.
    Excavations must be carried out with hand tools only.

    4. Where ground braking has taken place then the area must be left safe for ANY persons that pass the area.

    5. No digging or similar is allowed in the search of a hidden cache. (This should prevent areas being dug over by finders)

    6. No ground braking of any sort is permitted within 2 metres of any services such as cables and pipes.

    These suggestions should allow the hider and the searcher to operate in safety without detriment to the environment.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    I agree that caches shouldn't be burried.

    But, I think it should be acceptable to permit 'temporary' supports, which do not cause any permanent damage, so when removed the area will heal naturaly, such as when using tent pegs, sprinkler spikes or solar lights (to name some examples).
    Paved Roads: Another fine example of unnecessary Government spending!

  12. #12
    keehotee Guest


    Quote Originally Posted by Jacaru View Post
    This would be an ideal opportunity for the GAGB to do something that would get you a lot of support....
    The aims of the GAGB are
    To enhance caching and to progress it as an activity within Great Britain and Northern Ireland by:

    • liaising with land owners, agreeing mutually beneficial guidelines so that caching on their land is approved and encouraged (for members and non-members alike)
    • helping all cachers to enjoy the activity without falling foul of the civil and criminal laws of the land
    • establishing good caching practices by accepting advice from land, environmental, archaeological, historical and other relevant bodies
    • acting as intermediaries, and being the first point of call for all interested parties in The United Kingdom ensuring that the positive educational, environmental and recreational aspects of caching are properly represented
    • helping new members of the caching community when they begin
    • To keep membership of Association free of charge.
    • To keep the Association “non-commercial”.
    I don't see anything in there about approaching one of the four active (in this country) listing sites, because some of the membership disagree with the wording of one of the site's guidelines.
    Although the wording has changed, the intent is still within the GAGB's own guidelines.
    IMO this action will not serve to enhance the GAGB's failing image with any but a few cachers.

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Groundbreaking Decisions

    I, am not a fond lover of forums, “You will see that by the number of posts I have placed”. It will take a great deal to get me to type something unless I feel something should be said. Today is that day!

    Firstly, GAGB & Reviewers. You all do a great voluntary job, and without you, we would not have the fantastic sport we all enjoy. I appreciate times can be difficult upholding rules, and conflicts of opinions will always occur, however, maybe this is one time, when public opinion is so strong, this rule, just may need to be reviewed its self. Perhaps it’s outdated, or perhaps it needs toughening up on?

    I have read many articles on Facebook etc, condoning the reviewers actions taken on this cache, yet many forget, reviewers have guidelines to follow and for whatever reason, you can not please everyone all of the time. Bringing this matter to the forefront for discussion, may be the best way forward once and for all! Irrespective, this matter needs resolving sooner, rather than later, so we can all carry on, knowing where we stand and what’s correct and what’s not!

    For 4 years, I have cached throughout the United Kingdom, and to say I have never found a cache in the ground would be a complete lie. On average at least one find in 50 is buried in one way or another. From a simple cache fixed to a bottle top, pushed into the ground, to one say by a manhole edge, squeezed in-between the concrete and the grass.

    As others mention, some fixed to grasses, artificial plants and even a CO has scraped away a small piece of soil, placed a cache and then recovered it with a stone. I personally see no difference to these, as I do to one placed inside a cave. All are below ground surface, and all could be seen as breaking the ground and breaking the rules

    Guidelines need to be clear, and should set examples for all to understand. Personally I seem no harm in push in the ground caches provided they are safe, and unobtrusive. Neither do I see problems with caches hidden in caves, manholes, pipes, tunnels, mines , pillar boxes, drains, under a piece of moss! etc, etc. The lists are endless, but there all out there now and have been for years! Its part of the challenge! And that’s what Geocaching is all about! “A challenge!!!”

    Digging ground with tools, however, I feel should still be permitted, “ but “ under a stricter guidelines of permissions required by land owners. If they have no objections, then posting a reviewer note with the consenting name and contact details, should be suffice. I appreciate there is a huge difference to a cache that has been dug out by the use of tools, and perhaps this is what we should be looking at closer, rather than the broader spectrum, that everyone enjoys already and has done for years.

    Why change something that obviously works and everyone likes and enjoys. (or archive 1/50th of the worlds caches.) I see an uproar looming!hmy:

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    I agree caches should not be buried - as in: a hole is dug, the cache is placed in the hole, the hole is filled with earth.

    I don't understand why the guidelines had to be changed to this incongruous "If one has to dig or break ground to hide or to find the cache, then the cache is not permitted."

    All cachers will have "broken ground" when hiding and finding caches unless they have only walked on city streets - earth is not concrete! It moves when we step on it! We break ground every time we walk across it.

    IMHO the guideline should be changed back to simply say that caches should not be buried and noone should have to dig to find them.

    Regarding the GAGB's involvement - I do understand that it is not in their remit at present to act as go-betweens with listing sites on behalf of it's members, but I suspect that a lot of cachers believe that it is and it would increase membership if it were. Certainly many cachers feel aggrieved that they have no voice to speak for them in matters such as this one.
    GAGB Member since 2009
    UK Mega West Mids Committee - Treasurer 2011 - 2013
    GAGB Committee - Treasurer 2016 -

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    Caches placed and published, before the guideline was updated, have been Grandfathered.

    Those containers are still on sale, probably, to aid COs when their container needs replacing etc. Also, other listing sites probably have no problem with it - who said Geocaching shops only sold products to users of People do use other sites too!

    I think it's a sensible guideline, but not as it is worded - it should read "Caches will not be published if they break into ground more than Xcm in depth"
    GAGB Committee Member

    Author of my Geocaching Blog ~ SUBSCRIBE.

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