Marston Vale Line Symbol Spot activity during half term Image LNR

Marston Vale is the first line to have Symbol Spot on its route

London Northwestern Railway (LNR) in conjunction with Mini Map-Makers and the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership (CRP) has developed ‘Symbol Spot’ to help keep kids entertained during the half term break.

Launching during half term, young explorers are encouraged to put their ‘spotting’ skills to the test and search for hidden disks across the railway network.

It has been designed to encourage families to get outdoors and spend some time learning together. Children will embark on a journey which will allow them to gain new valuable skills, discover more about map reading, the train timetable and rail safety, and most importantly have fun.

Stephen Sleight, partnership officer for Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership, said:

“It’s fantastic to be able to launch our eagerly-awaited Symbol Spot project which has so much to offer for families along the LNR Marston Vale Line.

“It’s been a real pleasure to work with Alice, Mini Map-Makers and the LNR team – and I’m thrilled that the Marston Vale Line is the first in the country to have Symbol Spot along its route.”

To get started, families can simply collect an activity pack* which helps them locate the disks along the LNR Marston Vale line and mark them off as they’re discovered.

The packs are available to collect from Bedford and Bletchley ticket offices, as well as Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre.

Participants can start from whichever station they choose on the line, which runs from Bedford to Bletchley. They will be encouraged to travel to each station along the route to locate and collect an etching of the symbol.

Once all disks are found and activity packs are completed, families will need to return their booklet to Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre to collect their completion coin as their reward for participating.

But families don’t need to feel rushed to complete ‘Symbol Spot’. It is set to run for the foreseeable future, so families don’t have to do it all in one go and can come back another time to complete their etchings!

Vicky Cropper–Clarke, head of Stakeholder and Community at London Northwestern Railway, said:

“With everything that’s going on, we know families in particular will need even more ways to keep their children occupied.

“The Symbol Spot activity is not only a chance to explore the great outdoors together, but it is also very educational and will give children a chance to learn new life-long skills, whilst still having fun.”

*To collect the children’s activity pack from Bedford, Bletchley or Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre, participants will need to show a valid children’s train ticket.

London Northwestern Railway Symbol Spot Image LNR

Alice Gadney, director of Mini Map-Makers, said:

“The Symbol Spot has been a lovely project to create with London Northwestern Railway. Getting to learn about the place I have called home for eight years and understanding its heritage and local history has been amazing.

“Working with the Stephen and the Marston Vale CRP volunteers has been super – they all have an extensive wealth of knowledge.

“I’m so glad to be able to use my skills as a map maker and educator to communicate to families and their children the richness of the London Northwester Railway community line in a fun and educational way.”

To find out more about the London Northwestern Railway Symbol Spot activity, visit here.