By: Blonde Two
If you’ve heard of Dartmoor family activities, you’ve probably heard of Dartmoor letterboxing. This treasure-hunt activity involves heading to certain locations (sometimes remote like the Cranmere Pool letterbox) on Dartmoor and collecting stamps to show how fabulous you are at exploring. It’s great fun and really gives the kids (big and small) something to get excited about on a walk or picnic.
Royal Mail letterboxes
Dartmoor letterboxing is not on the cards for most of us at the moment but I have recently discovered that local letterboxing can be just as much fun. The other day Mr. B2 and I were looking for a letterbox that would be big enough for the parcel we needed to send, and we found ourselves fascinated by the Royal Mail map that shows the locations of all our local letterboxes. We had no idea there were so many, or that you could check out the different types on the website. We also had no ideas that the history of letterboxes was so interesting, or so well protected.
Different types of letterbox
Within ten minutes walk of our house, we have six letterboxes. Of these five are Wall Box B Type, and one is Wall Box C Type (despite research I still have no idea what the B and C mean). Whilst this information didn’t help us with the parcel size, it made me eager to find out more about the different types of postboxes. So I went hunting for post box information. There was plenty of it about so I have turned my research into a kind of postbox treasure hunt. Although it’s a great way of keeping the family interested in local walks, you don’t even need kids to enjoy this one, Mr B2 and had a grand time on the way to the supermarket last Friday. In your local areas can you find?
The letterbox treasure hunt
- A postbox that is also a listed building? (my nearest is in Plymouth)
- A fluted postbox (I grew up with some of these in Malvern)
- A Victorian postbox (look for the letters VR – Victoria Regina)
- An Edward VII postbox (lovely curly cipher with VII)
- A rare Edward VIII postbox (before he abdicated, cipher E VIII)
- A George V postbox (plain cipher, no ‘V’)
- A George VI postbox (decorative cipher with VI)
- An anonymous postbox (one with no cipher and no ‘Post Office’ designation)
- A postbox that isn’t red (for a while they were all green)
- A lamp box (one fitted to a lamppost)
- A priority postbox (designated as such for the coronavirus pandemic)
- A wall box in an unusual position (I’ve visited this one in Rous Lench)
This treasure hunt comes with a warning. It could become an obsession (I found four interesting letterboxes in just one walk but some types are proving more tricky). If obsession does strike, you might also want to (when the time is right) visit the highest postbox in the UK at Cairngorm (not the summit), learn this Ode to a Postbox, or even send your valentine a message from one of these romantic postboxes.
Two Blondes Walking has an affiliate advertising relationship with Ordnance Survey