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Report - Frome Tunnels, Somerset - December 2014

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by Bertie Bollockbrains, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. Bertie Bollockbrains

    Bertie Bollockbrains 28DL Regular User
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    Background:

    The Frome Tunnels, lying underneath the Somerset town of Frome, appeared as a lead on this forum in April 2012. Posted by paulpowers the lead caused a bit of excitement with several members of this forum stating that this was going onto their to-do list. From the same posting it looks as if member paulpowers entered the tunnels in October 2013 - but there was no report and no photos. Well for the first time here are some photos.
    Thanks to paulpowers for the original lead.

    History:

    A local group, the Frome Tunnels Project, has an informative website and Facebook page that details the history of these tunnels. They do digs each year in the tunnels and conduct occasional guided tours (at £12.50 a head it seems!) So with some blatant plagiarism, here is the history:

    Excited by persistent local stories of tunnels under Frome, but frustrated by the lack of access or real information, a group of 'tunnel myth' enthusiasts formed an investigatory team a few years ago to research, excavate and document the so called 'Frome Tunnels'.

    Through site investigations, historical document research, interviews and tip-offs we are starting to assemble the missing pieces of the jigsaw of part of Frome's history from 300-400 years ago. At that point in time and earlier it seems that Frome was a significant town, occasionally engulfed by the tide of significant national historic events such as the Monmouth Rebellion (which started near Frome and Monmouth even built a house in Cork Street), the Reformation (the pendulum of Protestant-Roman Catholic religious persecution) and the Civil War, (which was very UNcivilised by all accounts).

    It would appear that tunnel myths date from this period - the reasons for their construction and detail of how many and where they ran a carefully guarded secret and now lost over time, blocked or filled in.

    Since the BBC1 Inside Out program in 2006, many contributions from locals and frequent tours in the Frome Festival, we a growing list of over 40 sites to investigate and nearly 100 people have contributed locations, maps, or let us look around their buildings. We have over 30 first hand accounts from elder residents of Frome of them play in and going through some of the tunnels in their childhood.


    The website has a map:

    [​IMG]

    The Explore:

    Visited on a cold winter's day with Son of Bertie Bollockbrains. Entry involved wading through water that is up to about 12 inches deep, but this could well be dry in the summer. A drier entry from a different direction is possible via kayak, but I chose the wetter option for this explore.

    The entrance:
    [​IMG]

    Which becomes a high wide tunnel:
    [​IMG]

    Off this high wide tunnel, are two smaller tunnels. First the smaller one which is about 3ft tall:
    [​IMG]

    and after about 30 metres, ends at a gate:
    [​IMG]

    Look carefully, and the gate is open at the bottom by about 10 inches. It's possible to explore further but would involve getting very wet.

    The second much bigger side tunnel:
    [​IMG]

    With stalactite detail:
    [​IMG]

    This tunnel ends after about 40 metres at a gate, and no way through with a fresh looking padlock:
    [​IMG]

    But look to the left, that's the same gate we saw from the first side tunnel, with the gap at the bottom. So it is possible to explore further but involves getting very wet, which I wasn't go to do in the depths of winter and with my son in tow. Lets look through the gate and see the way ahead:

    [​IMG]

    The way ahead are those two drainpipes, each about 50cm in diameter. By shining my torch, I could see that they are about 10 metres long and then it seem to open up again.

    Summary:

    This is an unfinished project. The map from the Frome Tunnels Project suggests there is much more. The Frome Tunnels Project website suggests other entrances, one of which is named on their website.

    I will be returning in the summer and with more suitable clothing and equipment and getting beyond the gate and the drains. This will involve crawling through water and getting very wet. But as far as I'm concerned, if anyone out there wants to do this before I get the chance then please do.... PM me and I will give you info and access details if you are a username with history that I recognize.

    Thanks for reading
     
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  2. wellingtonian

    wellingtonian Subterráneo
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    That's a great start. Well done for getting out there :thumb
     
  3. sirjonnyp

    sirjonnyp 28DL Regular User
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    I seem to remember styru getting down here?4

    edit: just seen the lead thread, probably wrong
     
  4. Snake Oil

    Snake Oil go in drains
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  5. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    Shame we ran out of time over the weekend, that looks very interesting!
     
  6. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
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    Interesting,nice report mate
     
  7. slayaaaa

    slayaaaa 28DL Regular User
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    Awesome mate, some brilliant looking brickwork there. Cheers for that. :thumb
     
  8. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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  9. Bertie Bollockbrains

    Bertie Bollockbrains 28DL Regular User
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    I would agree with you Ojay, just drains and not a major archaeological find at all which is what the Frome Tunnels Project website seems to be claiming.

    But still an explore and just waiting for warmer weather now.
     
  10. paulpowers

    paulpowers Massive Member
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    They're a really nice set of tunnels :)

    The local bods sent a few emails my way after my report, expect to be told off
     
  11. Bertie Bollockbrains

    Bertie Bollockbrains 28DL Regular User
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    I'm making my way to the naughty corner now for a good sit down
     
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