GAGB Logo
Twitter Button Facebook Button

Getting Permission to Place a Geocache

You must have permission to place a geocache on both private and public property. This is a requirement of the listing site and also the law - you can't just drop a geocache on a farmer's land and expect anyone to be happy. Remember public footpaths are rights of way - to walk etc. - they do not give us the right to place plastic boxes where we like! As the cache owner you are responsible for determining whom to contact to obtain permission and this is where we may be able to help.

Some places already allow us to place geocaches without needing to seek extra permission, and many locations can be 'deemed' to be OK. Wherever you place the geocache, even if permission is pre-granted, it is a good idea to talk to anyone who lives or works nearby so they know why strangers are rooting around in the hedge or behind the bushes. Just talk…! Sometimes it helps to have a leaflet - you can download and print the GAGB What is Geocaching? leaflet.

Landowner Agreements

There are over a hundred agreements listed in our Geocaching Land Agreements Database (GLAD). They range from large areas such as Forestry Commission land to smaller private estates. There are also some where placing geocaches is not allowed. These agreements have been negotiated by keen geocachers to ensure that landowners are aware of and supportive of our hobby. It is vital that geocachers are seen as a responsible group of people especially when it comes to placing caches on someone’s property.

You can also take a look at the UK's Regional Geocaching Resources Wiki. In this case the reviewers find out about geocache placement policies for a certain location and they can add it to the 'Wiki'. Again this is not a complete list and is just another guide for reference. Both these sources of information are there not only for geocachers but also for landowners and the reviewers. Indeed, in some cases, the reviewers are able to check the requirements for placement in the areas where we have an agreement in place.

Not all land is covered in these agreements but it is worth checking here before you plan your geocache. If your location isn't covered by one of these hundreds of pre-existing agreements then read on for some tips on how to get permission yourself.

How to Get Permission

If your location isn’t covered by one of these hundreds of pre-existing agreements then read on for some tips on how to get permission yourself.

How to Approach a Farmer

It's hard to work out who owns or manages land in the UK - the best bet is to ask whoever lives nearest. Honestly just go knock on a door - around about tea time is a good time - and have a chat about who owns the field, hedge, path, wood, or whatever. They'll generally know and be able to give you a name, place, etc. Take your GAGB leaflet with you and go ask the land owner if they are happy for you to bring geocachers across their land. Most are happy to cooperate and will give you guidance about what and where - for example if they use a field for livestock some of the time they will need you to be careful - nobody wants a cow to eat your geocache!

If they don't give you permission then don't get annoyed or sad - what you've done here is avoid a future problem! That's still good. Leave that leaflet with them and they'll likely look us up and learn more, and next time who knows - they may say yes.

Caching around Businesses

Even if you stay on public land, if you place a geocache right outside someone's warehouse or offices you need to consider them as 'suspicious neighbours'. Businesses tend to be wary of strangers rooting around near them, so again it's a good idea to explain what you are doing to their security guard, receptionist, or whatever. Be friendly, explain it's a treasure hunt, and show them the geocache - most of the time they'll be intrigued and happy, once they understand. While they can't refuse you permission - if it is not on their land - it's best to have them know so geocachers don't spread suspicion unnecessarily.

Special Locations

There are certain special locations such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAM) that require an extra step. You need to work carefully with the land managers to make sure you do no damage to the area - and any geocachers too. We don't want hundreds of walkers trampling down those rare plants do we? As long as you follow the land manager's rules and get written permission from them, you can proceed. In any case the reviewers cannot simply take your word for it that you have permission in these places - you'll need to forward the email to them and provide a contact name/number.

To check if a location is an SSSI or SAM a good resource is MAGIC and a very useful link called MagicMapIt! where you can enter any coordinates to check a location.

Other Locations

If you are unsure who owns the land try contacting the Local Authority they may know who owns the land. For only £3 you can find out who owns the property from the HM Land Registry.

Example Letter to ask for Permission

Here is a sample letter to send to local authorities, farmers, rangers or organisations to help get you started:


Copy this letter:

Hi {enter name if possible},
I am a geocacher and a member of the Geocaching Association of Great Britain (GAGB) (www.gagb.org.uk). I would like to know if I can seek permission to place a geocache in the {enter place} that is {managed or owned} by {enter organisation or "yourself", if you are writing to a farmer}. The cache will be {describe the container and its size} and I'd like to hide it {state how it'll be hidden, e.g. under a fallen tree} at this location - {enter OSGB coordinates}. The geocaching.com site requires that caches are placed with permission from the landowner or manager and guidelines must be followed to ensure the location is not damaged in any way. For example, caches are family friendly, never buried (only hidden out of sight), and there must be no visual sign of disturbance after finding or hiding the geocache. Maintenance of the geocache is my responsibility. May I ask whether you would give permission for my cache in the {enter place}? I would be happy to provide regular feedback on how popular the geocache is and any comments I receive from visitors. I hope you can help me bring a few more people to this beautiful and peaceful location.
In case you are wondering, geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game. We use a GPS or smartphone and navigate to a specific set of co-ordinates to find a geocache (container) hidden at that location. Geocaches can be found anywhere; there are over three million geocaches hidden worldwide and over five million people who play the game. It's a great way of exploring the local area and wider outdoors.
You may find more information about geocaching at www.gagb.org.uk and you can read the GAGB's guidelines on placing geocaches here: www.gagb.org.uk/geocache-guidelines.php. You can also find Geocaching.com's guidelines online: https://www.geocaching.com/play/guidelines.
Many landowners are supportive of the sport and several have issued their own guidelines. If you would like to prepare your own guidelines, the GAGB would be delighted to help.
Please get in touch if you would like any further information. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely, {Your Name} {Your Email} {Your Phone Number} {Your Address}


Did you get a New Permission Agreement?

If you do get into negotiations with a landowner we can supply a draft agreement, which can be tailored to their specific requirements. No agreement is complete without the maps showing the boundaries of where geocaches are allowed or not permitted. If you cannot obtain this in digital form then we can help convert paper copies or screen copies from apps like Google Maps.

Contact the GAGB as usual either by email or use our phone message service: 033 3340 4242.

For more advice, keep reading on about adding a new land agreement… List a New Land Agreement right