FAMILIES have been using hi-tech gadgets to hunt for treasure and explore the wonders of Harcourt Arboretum.

The Nuneham Courtenay beauty spot is offering the ‘geo-cache’ trails, which have been devised by Oxford University ’s Institute of Physics, throughout the summer.

Visitors use handheld GPS units to guide themselves to hidden boxes which contain activities relating to trees and physics.

Activities include decoding a secret message using coloured filters, making a paper helicopter and creating shadow puppets.

Sarah Twinn, 40, of Sunningwell, pictured middle, visited with daughters Emily, 10, and Imogen, seven, friend Sue Skeels, of Sutton Courtenay, and her daughter Izzy, seven (left). Mrs Twinn said: “It was amazing. “The children got a chance to walk around by themselves and learn to use GPS and compasses.”

Harcourt Arboretum is open every day between 10am and 5pm. The trail will run until Sunday, September 2. Picture: OX53520 Ric Mellis