A VIRTUAL treasure hunt app will soon allow people to win prizes simply by walking or cycling around parts of Oxfordshire.

The free game, developed by StreetTag, gives players an interactive map filled with digital check points to reach.

Challengers can win points for every marker they hit, and those who clock up the most points will win prizes.

With many of the virtual tags on popular walking routes and in green areas, the game aims to get people more active.

Eat Out To Help Out scheme: the Oxford restaurants

It is even being touted as a way to help protect people against the coronavirus.

The app has been developed by StreetTag in a partnership with north Oxfordshire's Cherwell District Council.

Lead councillor for leisure and sport George Reynolds said: "Health and wellbeing have never been more important.

Banbury Cake:

Spiceball Park in Banbury could soon be worth a lot of points. Picture: Richard Cave

"The statistics show that the healthier you are, the more likely you are to recover from Covid-19 if you catch it. We also know physical activity helps to improve mental health.

"By working with StreetTag, Cherwell is helping residents to improve their wellbeing by providing a fun and easy way to increase their activity levels."

The app turns the whole of Cherwell district into a giant virtual treasure hunt, including Bicester, Kidlington and Banbury.

Also read: Oxford Mail joins Oxford City Council to promote city centre businesses and attractions

Using the latest GPS technology, the game will log when a player is in the correct area, rewarding them with points.

Anyone can download it, and those who collect the most points in the game can win prizes from Cherwell District Council.

Each tag is worth an average of 10 points, but the council will be able to increase the value of certain markers on particular dates or encourage people to go to specific points of interest such as libraries or leisure centres.

Mr Reynolds added: "Anyone with access to a smartphone can get involved and with the extra competitive element, where points mean prizes, we hope this will become a popular activity for a wide variety of people all year round."

Banbury Cake:

These shoppers in Bicester could win by walking. Picture: Ed Nix

Participants can play as individuals or as a family, with teams of up to six people allowed.

Families signed up to Cherwell’s Families Active Sporting Together (FAST) programme are invited to join a special league with extra prizes including 1,000 bonus points for signing up with their FAST membership number.

There are also plans for an inter-school league to be established this autumn.

Banbury Cake:

Parkhill Park in Kidlington could be a prize-winner. Picture: Ed Nix

Although the app is designed to encourage users to go to specific destinations, the player can pick up points within a 40-metre radius of the target, ensuring social distancing can take place.

Download the StreetTag app from Google Play and the App Store.