Lockdown-inspired dad transforms Hemel Hempstead Old Town with aliens and a robot invasion

The idea started in lockdown when Daniel created treasure hunts for his daughters

Friday, 16th October 2020, 4:10 pm
Updated Friday, 16th October 2020, 4:14 pm

A dad has used his lockdown experience to create a new treasure map company that he hopes will inspire families to explore Hemel's Old Town.

Daniel Johnson, who used to teach a fitness class in Gadebridge Park, founded Treasure Map Trails after spending the summer creating treasure hunts around his own home to entertain his daughters - Bella, eight, and five-year-old Jessica - while their school was closed during lockdown.

After starting off with simple trails around the house, he expanded the idea to cover his local town centre and added a fantasy theme to make the design even more exciting.

A family tackles the Hemel map

Positive feedback from families who tried out the first map led to further designs around Hertfordshire, including Hemel Hempstead's Old Town, Tring and Berkhamsted.

Daniel said: "After the turmoil of COVID-19 and lockdown, the past few weeks have been a real adventure for our business.

"It started out as something to do with Jessica and Bella during lockdown, they loved the them and we had a lot of fun.

"We launched our first map in July and the response has been phenomenal, the business has gone from strength to strength.

Daniel Johnson used his lockdown experience to create a new treasure map company that he hopes will inspire families to explore Hemel's Old Town

"We made over Hemel Hempstead's Old Town with an alien invasion, brought medieval mayhem to Berkhamsted, unleashed wild animals in Tring and submerged St Albans under the sea.

"Adding the illustrated element is crucial to the map’s success. The themes are there to grab children’s attention and get them excited about taking a walk around town and spotting things they would never normally look for.

"We've had some amazing feedback from parents who love the idea of an old-fashioned activity that gets families outdoors. One mum described it as team-building for families.

"Most towns are filled with interesting features that most of us simply don't notice. The treasure maps encourage people to look up and down and discover their local town."

Hemel Hempstead's Old Town had an alien invasion

At the moment it takes Dan about a week to do one map, and he hopes to add more locations to the collection.

He said: "We launched the website at the end of July, there are seven maps, we have Leighton Buzzard, Hemel Hempstead, Tring, Berkhamsted, St Albans, Aylesbury and Shrewsbury, we will also be expanding to London, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire, and we plan to go much further."

To see and buy the maps visit the Treasure Map Trails website: treasuremaptrails.com.