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SideTracked - Oxenholme, The Lake District Traditional Geocache

Hidden : 08/10/2013
1.5 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

A 'SideTracked' cache near the West Coast Main Line station at Oxenholme, just outside Kendal, and connecting with the Lakes Line to Windermere.


Oxenholme is only a small place on the outskirts of Kendal, which grew up mainly around the railway station, opened in 1846. The building was designed by architect William Tite, who is better known for building the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange in London. The station has had many names over the years! It was known as Kendal Junction until 1860, then renamed as Oxenholme. Recognising its role as a gateway to the Lake District, the name grew to become Oxenholme The Lake District in 1988. Arthur Ransome included it in his Swallows & Amazons books under the name of Strickland Junction.

The station is on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) and is also the start of the branch line to Kendal, Staveley and Windermere. The station serves as a main line connection point for Kendal, and is managed by Virgin Trains, serving Scotland, Manchester and London. Transpennine Express also run services from here to Windermere and Manchester Airport. Oxenholme has the distinction of being the only 'village' with a station on the WCML!

You may be wondering why, when they built the railway they 'missed' Kendal? Surely it makes more sense to take the rails to the people and not build a station a couple miles out of town in an age when personal transport was rare. No doubt the councilmen of Kendal wanted the railway and its increased trade opportunities in the town, as they had welcomed the canal a generation earlier. However, they had to be content with a branch line. The route to Scotland was to be via the Lune gorge, Tebay and Shap, and height had to be gained to get round the end of Docker fell and into the Lune. Staying low and going into Kendal would have resulted in an expensive, steep and difficult gradient. Oxenholme station is about 40m/130ft above Kendal - a valuable 'head start' in getting over and into the Lune valley.

Oxenholme has had a chequered history with various crimes and accidents over the years.  A death in 1965 is commemorated by a plaque on platform 1.  See PC G.W. Russell

The cache is just a short way out of the station. Follow the eastern approach road, past the car park. On your left, over the wall is an overgrown couple of ponds, fed from a spring further up the wood lined valley, which the road heads up to reach the Station Inn. I suspect the ponds acted as reservoirs, providing a water supply to the station in the age of steam.

At the top of the station road, where it meets the 'main' road. Go left, over the stream on a small road leading to the what was a 'grand house'. Don't worry about the private road sign. Further along is a new electrickery sub-station serving the now electrified main line, and a nice view. Your gps should lead you to an obvious spot before this. A large beech tree.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Onfr bs fubeg guva zrgny ebq ng gerr; tebhaq yriry ol ynetr orrpu gerr & guva zrgny ebq. Guva oynpx ivyr. Eruvqr tragyl naq jryy pbirerq.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)