Our top picks for Treasure Trails in National Parks
If you’ve just completed our Coast and Countryside Tour, you’ll know that there are 15 National Parks in the UK. Well, great news – we’ve got some fantastic Treasure Trail adventures in and around each and every one of them! So if you’re in or near a National Park and struggling to decide which Trail to choose, take a look at our top picks below!
What is a rock’s favourite fruit? A Pome-granite!
Dartmoor has over 160 granite outcrops – perfect to duck behind to avoid enemy agents or rival treasure seekers! Want to take a peek at some of them?
Hop into your squad car and head out into the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Dartmoor detective mystery Trail! Eliminate the suspects with rock-solid alibis and unearth the incriminating evidence as you zoom around Princetown, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Chagford, Moretonhampstead and Lustleigh.
If you need a dash of danger (and a dose of Dartmoor ponies) on your adventure, Dartmoor Granite Way spy mission Trail is just a stone’s throw away! Swap the squad car for an undercover bike ride from Okehampton towards Lydford along the line of the former Southern railway. If you really tap into your keen observation skills, you might even see Exmoor in the far distance!
If long drives and bike rides don’t boulder you over, head to the outskirts of Dartmoor National Park and slip your detective cap on. Examine the evidence around Tavistock, follow up on witness reports in Ivybridge and chase down the crafty crook through Okehampton.
The countryside of Exmoor is full of rolling hills and open skies… meaning it’s much easier for you to get spotted by enemy drones! After all, those spies over in Dartmoor have been able to observe the area from afar.
For a real-life adventure and a chance to save the day, slip into your undercover vehicle and weave your way from Dulverton to Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor, on the Exmoor spy mission Trail. Can you track down the code to the secret bunker before the enemy agents beat you there?
Enjoy the view from the other side of the National Park as you investigate the clues on the Dunster detective mystery Trail. Soak up the sights of the postcard-perfect town – the jewel in Exmoor’s crown – with its medieval castle nestled on the hill. Don’t get too distracted by the pretty views – there’s a villain to catch!
Did you know that the Brecon Beacons was the fifth place in the world granted International Dark Sky Reserve status?
While a starry night in the Beacons is a special sight to behold, you’ll need daylight to tackle the curious clues – all the carrots in the world won’t make your eyes sharp enough in the dark to examine the evidence.
Head over to the former county town of Brecon for a detective mystery Trail on the edge of the National Park. Slip along the scenic canalside and study your surroundings for glimpses of the crook (and the countryside).
For an expedition with a stunning view, head to the south of the Beacons and take on the Abergavenny treasure hunt Trail, unearthing the historic loot in the shadow of The Blorenge. Or, trek out to the west, to the heart of the Tywi Valley, and evade rival explorers beside the vibrant buildings on the Llandeilo treasure hunt Trail.
Need a dose of Vitamin Sea this summer? Take a trip to the Pembrokeshire Coast for sun (hopefully), sea, sand… and suspicious suspects!
Something fishy is going on… Patrol around the ancient walls and reel in the cruel criminal on the Tenby detective mystery Trail. Weave around the winding cobbled streets to uncover fascinating stories about this bustling seaside retreat, soaking up the spectacular sights from dazzling heights! For some Halloween vibes without the dark October nights, brave sleuths can embark on the Pembroke detective mystery Trail to unveil the truth behind some spooky goings-on.
Intrepid explorers are needed in the UK’s smallest city – do you have what it takes to solve the St Davids treasure hunt Trail? There’s a pirate treasure trove to unearth – said to have been buried by the notorious Captain Blackbeard himself! Keep a steady eye on the horizon and see if there are tall ships to spot while you enjoy the coastal views.
Set your sights on Snowdonia National Park, home of the highest peak in Wales – Yr Wyddfa (Mount Snowdon) – for one final Welsh escapade.
Explore the heart of Snowdonia on the Betws-y-Coed spy mission Trail, where you have to pay close attention to all of your surroundings – not just the gorgeous, rugged backdrop – otherwise, the future of Wales’ beloved Bara Brith may be at stake!
Enemy spies aren’t the only prying eyes in Snowdonia – rival treasure seekers are lurking too! The legend of land lost to the sea (riches and all!) is ringing in Aberdyfi… along with ghostly bells from the vanished city. Can you boldly crack The Lost Bells of Aberdovey treasure hunt Trail?
For stunning views over the River Glaslyn estuary to Snowdon and beyond, it’s the Porthmadog’s Slate Railway Heritage treasure hunt Trail you’re after, where more bells are pealing. This time, a golden bell, treasured by the community, has mysteriously vanished and needs ace adventurers to recover it!
Welcome to the Peak District, the first of the UK’s National Parks to be designated, which spreads across five different counties. Impressively, this National Park is home to 26,000 miles of dry stone wall, which could loop all around the Earth!
With eight Trail adventures within the park itself and even more on the outskirts, there’s plenty of exploration and clue-cracking to keep you entertained during your staycation! How many will you solve?
With real-life historic hoards of coins found not so far away, it’s no surprise there are stashes of long-lost loot to be tracked down across the Peak District! Venture past thatched cottages on the Baslow Trail, scramble alongside the rippling riverside on the Ashford-in-the-Water Trail and evade rival treasure seekers in the old plague village on the Eyam Trail. Want to see more? Then hop into your expedition and seek the sights of the Peak District on the Staffordshire Moorlands driving Trail.
Get up close and personal to some of the National Park’s peaks with the Castleton spy mission Trail, nestled into the High Peak district and brimming with enemy agents. Super sleuths should head to the idyllic Staffordshire Peak District villages of Ilam and Alstonfield on the Land of the Manifold Trail, which can be completed in a squad car, on a bike, on foot or even on horseback!
Did you know that Yorkshire hosts nearly a third of the area of all the National Parks in the UK that we’re exploring today? That means there’s plenty of sights to soak up, from the valleys to the rolling hills and towering peaks, windswept moors to chocolate-box villages lined with dry stone walls.
With Yorkshire Day just gone by (1st August for those who want to celebrate with some parkin and a proper brew next year), it seems fitting that we’re heading to the Dales to get back to nature and discover why they call this ‘God’s own country’.
To really see the best that this area has to offer, there are two ‘must do’ Trail adventures with help from a squad car. To the west, the Yorkshire Dales – Three Peaks Scenic Drive detective mystery Trail does exactly what it says on the tin – solve the clues and reveal whodunnit in the shadow of the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct and Yorkshire Three Peaks. Wend your way from the Great Stone of Fourstones to Bentham, Stainforth and the wonderful village of Langcliffe. Intrepid explorers can head to the east of the Dales to tackle the Yorkshire Dales – The Coldstones Cut treasure hunt Trail. Begin exploring the Bolton Abbey Estate before travelling up the Dales to scamper around Appletreewick, Hebden, Grimwith Reservoir, the Coldstones Cut art installation, Thruscross Reservoir, Swinsty Reservoir and Fewston. Now that’s a lot of hidden gems to discover!
Inquisitive investigators who’d rather stay on foot, don’t worry – you won’t miss out! Put your clue-cracking capabilities to good use on the Grassington detective mystery Trail, where an art mogul has been painted out of the picture, or the Hawes & Gayle detective mystery Trail, where you’ll be patrolling past the home of Wensleydale cheese! Both locations are found in stunning areas of the National Park, so there’s plenty to see and do!
The Lake District is so close to the Yorkshire Dales that they practically touch! Northern England is definitely an awe-inspiring place to visit on your summer staycation. Beloved by ramblers and poets, the Lake Districts is home to lakes and mountains (and something else, as you’ll know if you’ve completed our Coast and Countryside Tour leg!) that radiate peace and tranquillity.
Trek off the beaten path and away from the tourist hubs to explore an old fashioned Lakeland village on the Troutbeck treasure hunt Trail, surrounded by rolling countryside. Nearby, follow the footsteps of the famous Lakeland poets and be inspired by the staggering beauty of Cumbria on the Grasmere treasure hunt Trail. You’ll even get to visit the Daffodil Garden, cultivated to honour William Wordsworth (who was buried in the village) and inspired by his most famous poem.
Of course, you can’t take a trip to the Lake District and not see any lakes! Get your water fix on the Coniston Low Yewdale treasure hunt Trail, with epic views of Coniston Water and a journey through Whins Woods and Cumbria Way. Explorers who are really up for a challenge could try tackling the Coniston Village and by the Lake spy mission Trail too! Or, head up the National Park to dip your toes in the iconic Derwentwater on the Keswick – Down By The Lake treasure hunt Trail, where you can round off your quest at a spectacular scenic viewpoint.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
Talk to your Scottish friends, and there’s a good chance they’ll have had adventures in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park – after all, 50% of Scotland’s population lives within an hour’s drive! With 41 mountains over 2,000ft tall, 22 large lochs, loads of smaller ones and nearly 50 rivers, is there anywhere better to soak up the wild scenery and get back to nature?
Swap four wheels for two and hop on your bike on the Loch Lomond West treasure hunt Trail, venturing around two lakeside villages and along the West Lomond Cycle Path, which is nearly all traffic-free. Still on your undercover bicycle (those enemy agents will never realise what you’re up to!), zoom around Loch Ard on the Aberfoyle and Kinlochard spy mission Trail, where an evil genius is trying to seize this idyllic area for themselves!
Daring detectives who want to investigate the superb sights more closely should head up to the north of the National Park to ‘The Land of the Giants’. On the Breadalbane detective mystery Trail, you’ll need your squad car to patrol around Tyndrum, Crianlarich, Killin and Balquhidder in search of the crook, surrounded by 16 of the parks 21 Munros (that’s mountains over 3000ft high). For a curious case on foot, look no further than the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’ and the Callander detective mystery Trail, where the river is rife with salmon smugglers – can you solve the fishy mystery?
Time for adventure AND snowman building? Yes, we know it’s the summer, but even in August, you can get a glimpse of snowy peaks and plateaus!
This natural treasure and wild gem of a landscape scores many of the biggest and best awards – it’s the largest of the UK’s National Parks and the northernmost. Plus, it’s home to five of Scotland’s six highest… well, you’ll have to solve the Coast and Countryside Leg to find that one out!
The highest village in the Highlands can be found here, too! Tiptoe down forestry tracks and paths to unveil each hidden gem on the Tomintoul spy mission Trail. That’s not the only vital assignment in need of top-secret agents in the Cairngorms – from steam trains to the shadows of the mountains, dodge detection beams and horrible henchmen on the Aviemore spy mission Trail.
For a curious case surrounded by dramatic Grampian mountains, find rural bliss on the remote Braemar detective mystery Trail, exploring a picturesque conservation village. Or, check out the Newtonmore detective mystery Trail, where a vicious rumour is circulating about a former shinty winger…
The northernmost National Park in England, home to 425 Scheduled Ancient Monuments and 31 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, is also the most remote and least populated – that’s lots of uncharted, untouched territory to explore!
With Hadrian’s Wall to the south and Scotland to the North, this countryside is drenched with history, filled with wildlife and surrounded by rugged landscapes. With so much rich history, it’s no surprise that there are hidden caches of long-lost loot to unearth! Take your brave team crew of explorers to Rothbury for The Inventor’s Book treasure hunt Trail. Step back in time as you weave through the ancient streets and venture along the rippling riverside in search of the legendary ‘Book of Innovations’, which contained the best ideas of great inventor Lord Armstrong.
Slippery spies will discover a top-secret assignment waiting for them at the natural gateway to Glendale and the Northumberland National Park. Pack your gadgets and join the Wooler Bond Bairns spy mission Trail, where there are plenty of places to hide from enemy spies and evade aerial drones as you tiptoe around the stone-built market town. But don’t get too distracted by the quaint, quiet charm and impressive backdrop – horrid henchmen could be lurking around every corner!
North York Moors
Now here’s somewhere where you can really get back to nature – tonnes of flora to hide behind and fauna to discover from a distance. Around 23% of the National Park is covered by forests and woodlands, while a third is covered in heather moorland – one of the largest expanses in England and Wales!
There’s treasure galore to gig up across the North York Moors! So, grab your spades and your favourite explorers and take a journey to the coast for the Robin Hood’s Bay treasure hunt Trail. Scramble up hills and down quaint lanes in the seaside hideaway while enjoying spectacular views and tracking down sneaky clues. Swap the smugglers stash for a supernatural seaside story on the Staithes – The Mermaid’s Curse treasure hunt Trail. Do you have what it takes to return the golden fish to the sea and finally break the ancient curse?
Travel inland to seek adventure and exploration in the heart of the National Park, where even more supernatural goings-on are raging on the Goathland – Legend of the Gytrash treasure hunt Trail. Discover the hidden gems of the village known to many as Aidensfield – the location of TV’s Heartbeat – visiting many filming locations as you whittle treasureless spots off the map. For a change of pace and a curious case, it’s the Helmsley detective mystery Trail you need. Patrol along part of the Cleveland Way, surrounding medieval streets and the castle.
Hop into your expedition vehicle to see even more of the moors on the North York Moors – Hole of Horcum treasure hunt Trail. The scenic route takes you across valleys and moors, stopping at Falling Foss Waterfall, Littlebeck, the wonderful natural feature of the Hole of Horcum, Lockton and Levisham Station, just north of Pickering. Can you help to hit upon the hidden Hole of Horcum hoard, once believed to have belonged to a giant?!
Get your water wings and head to the Broads, chockablock with rivers, lakes, wetlands, fens, marshes and waterways to travel along! But, did you know that the waterways were actually man-made?! The area was a popular spot for peat diggings, which then flooded to become the paradise you see today!
Sneak along the coastline to explore the best of both worlds – wonderful waterways AND seaside scenery! Inquisitive investigators are needed for the Caister-on-Sea detective mystery Trail, where a mystery fan wants to help detectives crack the case of her disappearance. Examine evidence around the town’s very own Roman fort and keep your eye on the horizon for escape boats and jet skis circling the wind farm.
Back inland and just over the Suffolk border, a local Boxer has been counted out permanently, and the chief needs your help to crack the curious clues on the Beccles detective mystery Trail. There are even more suspicious circumstances on the Coltishall detective mystery Trail where super sleuths are required to patrol through “The Gateway to the Broads” to catch the crook.
Intrepid explorers keen for a longer trek to really soak up the sights of the National Park should tackle the Salhouse and Woodbastwick treasure hunt Trail, where missing deeds to a remote island are causing havoc for a resident. Can you track the vital document down and save the day?
Did ewe know that the wildlife here come in all sheep and sizes? You herd it here first! As well as being home to more people than any other National Park in the UK, up to 125,000 sheep live in the boundaries at any one time.
What better spot to see what the South Downs has to offer than right in the middle? The Midhurst detective mystery Trail weaves through the charming and historic parts of the town, passing the place where writer H.G. Wells once worked, the Norman castle and South Pond site in search of incriminating evidence. Just a stone throw away, still, in the heart of the National Park, the Petersfield spy mission Trail requires awesome agents to save the world! Explore the eastern side of the town, and even sneak onto the heath and out of sight of enemy operatives as you covertly crack the code.
History lovers need to travel no further than the east of South Downs to trek along the Greenwich Meridian Line on the Lewes treasure hunt Trail. Hit up the highlights – Priory Park and its ruins, Anne of Cleves’ House and museum and Southover Gardens – before you head up past Lewes Castle to views of a historic battle site and the spectacular National Park!
The Eastbourne detective mystery Trail is technically outside the boundaries but still a treat for a seaside stroll. Soak up the breathtaking views as you patrol down the pier and chase the crook through the gardens. Plus, post-case, you could widen the investigation zone and scramble up Beach Head onto Birling Gap for some white cliff action and a picture-perfect South Downs backdrop.
Why can’t trees solve the sneaky clues on a Treasure Trail? Because they’re easily stumped!
This is a National Park of beautiful contrast from miles of stunning countryside and the tall trees of the infamous New Forest to seaside vistas and quaint chocolate box villages.
Head into the heart of the forest on the Brockenhurst spy mission Trail to solve the legacy of the infamous New Forest Snakecatcher, who was also laid to rest in the village. There are more covert operations among the trees to tackle, too! Spy HQ needs a hand on the Lyndhurst Forest & Footpaths spy mission Trail, once home to Alice Liddle, the inspiration of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Or, hop into your undercover vehicle and drive past free-roaming ponies on the Beaulieu Station to Beaulieu Village spy mission Trail.
Mystery lovers can’t get much closer to the curious case than on the Minstead and Sherlock Holmes detective mystery Trail, a charming and peaceful village in the middle of the New Forest, where The Arthur Conan Doyle fan club has been struck by tragedy while on tour. Can you eliminate the impossible to reveal the truth? Meanwhile, on the edge of the National Park, swap the forest footpaths for coastal walks on the Keyhaven & Milford on Sea treasure hunt Trail. Explore through Keyhaven to Milford on Sea and Shorefield Park, trekking along the stunning coastline, overlooking the Isle of Wight, Keyhaven Nature Reserve and Hurst Castle.
Plan your rural adventure
Feeling inspired? Grab your coast or countryside adventure via any of the links above, or type the name of any UK village into the search box at the top of the page to see which adventures await. Before you head off for a day of exploration, make sure you’re up to scratch with your rural sleuthing, sneaking and unearthing skills with our handy guide to being a TT Coast and Country Champion…
PS – don’t forget to complete the Coast and Countryside Leg puzzle on the Staycation Tour! Get your answer in before the end of August for your chance to win the awesome family picnic backpack set. Get it in anytime before the end of September, along with the other two puzzles, to be in the draw for the holiday!
rachelfoxton 5th August 2021
Posted In: Ideas