This is our second hide. Relatively new to caching, our favourite caches are those which take us to new places or teach us interesting things about places and historical features which we often walk by and do not notice. This cache is inspired by a great website (see below) following a historical walk along the River Chelt.
Such a plain wall which I have walked by most of my life and never even noticed its beauty or historical significance – our eyes are normally drawn to the graffiti.
This cache will require stealth (it’s a busy spot by the traffic lights), a steady hand and maybe some tweezers. Please take care when retrieving and replacing to avoid dropping! It can be accessed without going over the fence.
The large white, ivy coloured wall to your right is the last surviving building of the Chalybeate Spa.
The spa was founded by William Humphris Barrett, in 1801. Barrett owned much of the land now occupied by Sandford Park. Historically, local people had been visiting a spring on the river bank where water emerged “in a very sparing quantity, depositing in its course a yellow ochery matter” (Griffith’s Cheltenham Guide of 1818). Visitors “drank it successfully as a lotion in weaknesses, and other complaints of the eyes.” The iron-rich water was a diuretic and recommended by doctors for nervous diseases, chronic inflammation of the eyes and convulsions.
In 1801 Barrett built a spa house over the spring and charged people for access to it. He also built a villa beside it and laid out “gravelled walks to the upper part of the town, from which it is distant but a few hundred yards.” These paths were along the south side of the River Chelt where the footpath through Sandford Park still runs today.
When Sandford Park was founded in 1927 the villa he built; Chalybeate Spring Villa and Field Lodge were bought by compulsorary purchase and partially demolished. The building which housed the spa was replaced with the parks department offices, now Community connexions base.
There is a large park, play area and scenic gardens nearby.
Thanks to https://cheltonia.wordpress.com/ for inspiring this cache!