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REALLY SideTracked - Verwood Traditional Geocache

Hidden : 04/23/2021
1.5 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:

Arrival of the Railway

On 22nd July 1861 Parliament authorised the independent Salisbury & Dorset Junction Railway to link with Southampton, Dorchester and Wimborne railway. Building started in 1864 at Downton.

The 19 miles of single track line ran from Alderbury Junction (between Sailsbury and Dean) to West Moors and formed a link between Salisbury and Poole, passing through Downton, Breamore, Fordingbridge, Daggons Road (Alderholt) and Verwood, following the River Avon along the western edge of the New Forest. There were four passing loops, one of which was at Verwood.


Verwood Station

The line, and Verwood Station, opened on 20th December 1866. Verwood had previously been a minor Hamlet in the Cranborne District known as Fairwood. The bypassing of Cranborne by the railway saw it further reduce in importance and initiated the expansion of Verwood via the import and export of goods. The adjoining goods yard included cattle pens, a crane and coal depot, boosting local trade and industry, including locally produced sand, bricks, timber and other goods. High quality Verwood sand was taken to South Wales for their brick and glassmaking industries, and was also used in the construction of Mulberry Harbours in WWII. Milk would be brought to the station around 6pm to be sent to London, though as Bournemouth increased in population many local farmers found it more profitable to take send their milk to Bournemouth via motor transport.

Ironically, the railway also heralded the arrival of cheaper, manufactured household ware which contributed greatly to the gradual demise of Verwood’s pottery industry. The Crossroads Pottery was the last to close in 1954, which now forms part of the Verwood Heathland Heritage Centre museum.

The station had a canopied platform with signal box on the up line. There were few changes made during its life, and even the lighting was still by oil lamps up until its eventual closure in 1964.

Unusually, The Albion Hotel with its attached stables was built in the station yard, and can still be seen today on the North side of the B3081 road. The road was rerouted to avoid the still-standing railway bridge and now passes through the demolished station and stationmaster’s house.

A number of girls used to travel by train to school in Parkstone and the "train girls" still meet regularly today at the Heritage Centre. Boys would travel to Wimborne Grammar School, and Verwoodians enjoyed the increased shopping opportunities in Poole.

As the nearest station to the large houses of several "important" people living in the area, several Royal personages passed through or alighted at Verwood including King Edward VIII, Queen Alexandra, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.



In 1923 the "Big 4" companies were created, the Verwood line now becoming part of the Southern Company. Nationalisation occurred in 1948, the "Big 4" splitting into 6 regions, the Verwood line now under British Railways (Southern Region). Traffic on the line was always light and closure was discussed. In 1963 the Beeching axe proposed cuts to the lines and stations of many smaller towns and villages, including Verwood.

Verwood Station closed on 4th May 1964 to much regret in the area. All the last trains that ran on Saturday 2nd May were full. The Ringwood to Broadstone line continued with goods traffic until October 1966 when it terminated at West Moors for military requirements.

The lines were taken up and the main buildings dismantled, dereliction soon setting in. Few traces of its former route can be seen other than some embankments and bridges like the one here in the pub garden and on the Alderholt Road. A road now occupies the site of the station ticket office, tracks and platforms, with a housing estate built on the old goods yard and the station site now a pub garden.


The Cache

You will find the cache located behind a bollard on the old railway bridge which can be accessed from either end, though strollers and wheelchairs will find it easier approaching from up the hill behind the pub (see the suggested trailhead waypoint).

Stealth may be required if the pub garden is occupied. Please be sure to replace the lid properly and conceal the cache well when re-hiding.


About SideTracked Caches
This cache belongs to the SideTracked series. It is not designed to take you to a magical place with a breath taking view. It's a distraction for the weary traveller, but anyone else can go and find it too. More Information can be found on the SideTracked Series website at



Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Bapr na rkcbeg bs Irejbbq, oruvaq obyyneq.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)