Saturday, June 24, 2006

English Letterboxing

I'm sure everyone knows that letterboxing started in England, so I was especially interested when offered the chance to teach at the MU London Program campus next fall. Cecile and I will spend September through December on the Sceptred Isle and plan try boxing on the old sod.

Searching the Web produced the email address of one particularly helpful British letterboxer, the Yorkshire Tortoise. My shelled friend responded with several links to clues, but also with the British Code of Ethics for Letterboxing and a translation of the UK names for boxes. I thought you might also enjoy them as both the code especially would be helpful. Some of our common practices here in Missouri don't quite conform with the English code. I would love to hear your comments.

Letterboxing in England
Code of Conduct
Courtesy of The Yorkshire Tortoise

This Code of Conduct is sent out with all cluelists from the UK letterboxing clubs.

1. Digging holes in the ground is illegal, and absolutely FORBIDDEN. No box should be placed in a hole in the ground, and the soil surface should not be disturbed when looking for a box.
2. No box should be placed in any animals earth, set or warren, even if it appears to be disused. (Offenders may be prosecuted)
3. If a box is placed in a hole in a dead tree, make sure that it is not likely to cause harm to rare lichen, moss, insects etc
4. Avoid putting a box on heathland where it may disturb a ground nesting bird
5. All boxes must have a contact address or telephone number
6. Do not place a box in any monument or stone wall, nor any site of historic or archaeological importance
7. Avoid public resort areas
8. Boxes should be as sturdy as possible and an unobtrusive colour, but NOT wrapped in plastic bags or sheeting – Animals eat it!
9. The grouse-shooting season starts on August 12th, and continues until December. If there is any sign of a shoot, or land management in progress, please letterbox in a different area in order to avoid attention being drawn to our activities
10. Respect other people’s property and privacy
11. Do not leave litter (aim to leave a site tidier than you found it)
12. Try not to disturb vegetation or wildlife when planting or looking for boxes
13. Be aware of the security issues of leaving boxes following recent bombings
14. Follow the country code (The country or "countryside code" is and established set of four guidelines: Be safe, leave gates and property as you found them, protect wildlife, control dogs and consider other people. )

We in journalism like to say The United States and the United Kingdom are two countries separated by a common language. Here is how the Yorkshire Tortoise describes our hobby:

Traditional letterboxes - same as with you

Cuckoos - (Not to be confused with your cuckoos which I believe are clues that move). Cuckoos here are like your Hitchhikers. It is a stamp and visitors book that is placed in a traditional box and the finder moves it on to the next letterbox they visit. You may find them more than once but they can only be counted as a find the first time. In most areas they do count towards your total find count - once.

Bonus boxes - a static box but the clue is only found in the back page of the nearest Traditional letterbox. So always check the back of Visitors Books. Count towards your total find count

Wanderers - same as bonus boxes but they can be moved by the owners from time to time. You may find them more than once but they can only be counted as a find the first time. They count towards your total find count - once

Personal Travellers - A stamp and visitors book carried by a Letterboxer. Mostly you just ask if they carry one, they don't often have conditions attached. In most areas count towards your total find count.

Parasites - not quite the same as your Cooties. These are a stamp and visitors book which are stamped into a personal traveller and the PT is stamped into the parasite book. They are not just left on a letterboxer or their belongings but stamped in properly, like a English Cuckoo but planted in personal travellers. You may find them more than once but can only be counted as a find the first time. In most areas they count towards your total find count.

Pub boxes are mainly only found on Dartmoor and do not count towards your total find count. There are a few other indoor boxes but as far as I know they do not count towards your total find count.

1 comment:

Cadenza said...

Thanks for posting these. I will be moving to the UK soon and I'm working to learn how letterboxing works there. This has helped me.