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Report - Oil Mills - Dover - Sept 2016

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by Pinkman, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. Pinkman

    Pinkman 28DL Regular User
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    History (shamlessly ripped from the web)

    These tunnels in Limekiln Street were most likely dug in the early to mid 19th Century to extract chalk for burning and turning into lime. The limekilns, which gave the street its name, were located nearby. It is probable that the lime and excavated chalk were used in the construction of Dover Harbour. Almost cavernous in places, the extent of these tunnels is impressive and it is not surprising they've had many uses over the years including WW2 shelters and storage. The tunnels are cut directly into the cliff, some are very short and end after a few feet, whereas others go back a few hundred feet and join up, the ceilings are up to 30ft high in places. There is much evidence of alteration over the years, including the addition of blast walls. The condition inside the majority of the tunnels is reasonable, although there are some collapses in an area in which some pallets caught fire some years ago. This area has been bricked up and has been abandoned, but other sections are lit and are still used for storage. Further up the cliff face, a large horse shoe shaped tunnel with blast walls exists, but has been damaged and is unstable due to the fire below.

    The Explore
    This was one of many weekend all night adventures, which everyone knows are always so much fun. I was treated to a little Dover tour by my mate & fellow explorer Letchbo, as I’d never been there for a splore before. While on the top of Duga in August, he mentioned that we should give it a crack, & that there was a lot to be had in the area. He wasn’t wrong, & it turned out to be a blinding night, filled with the usual ducking & diving, as well as a good bit of banter to boot.

    West tunnels

    We arrived in the area in the small hours, & got ourselves set up to do the first tunnel set. After pretending to sit down for a bit (extending the telescopic), we waited for our moment & then bolted up there……..well as quick as you can with that sort of thing. After a bit of nosing around in the dark we found our way in. We climbed down, & we were immediately stuck by the size of the place. The vaulted ceilings must have stretched to over 30 foot in some parts, which was rather impressive. We quickly set ourselves up & began snapping away. I used this opportunity to have a play around with light painting, as apart from POV lighting for documentation purposes, it’s something that I don’t have that much experience in. I had some fun making light trails & patterns, as well as generally dicking about. What was interesting about this place were the diagonal shafts that cut through the rock to the ceiling. They run from the small tunnels on one end, cut into one of the main rooms, then along the same trajectory followed up & out. I thought it quite an odd feature, & after some later reading discovered it to be a crude form of ventilation. After about an hour we’d had our fill & decided to head out.

    When we got out we soon realised that we were unable to make an exit, as there was an SUV parked directly below. We watched & waited, as three gentlemen got out. Two of which went around the corner, with one proceeding to perch themselves in a weird way on a wall. The third chap began to wash himself. Thinking “maybe he’s having a pre-ferry clean up”, but he continued to other areas. We began to find this rather amusing, & I perked up “he’s washing his ears!” It became clear that he was having a little prayer, of all the places to do it…….sod’s law. He began bobbing up & down, & a peevish thought popped in my head. Before I could stop myself, I blurted out “he looks like fucking Pingu!” We were pissing ourselves, while trying to keep quiet & not get seen. They eventually finished their business & we got out of there.

    East tunnels

    Once we had dropped off our entry aid to the car, we headed back & ventured further down to the next location. After climbing over some horrible pointy bits, we were lurking through the shadows to the entrance. What was immediately apparent was the amount of stuff that had been shoved into the tunnels, the site obviously treated them like a spare room. Why not, it’s a redundant space that needs using I guess. This place was more expansive than the last one, with lots of small tunnels branching off in different directions & connecting in places. There were lots of omissions, areas that has either been back filled or bricked up. Lucky for us a lot of them had been opened up again. It made me wonder just how far into the cliffs they extended. We climbed through a hole in one of the bricked areas, to find the room on the opposite side full of rubble. This wasn’t a back fill, rather a partial collapse. The sight of which didn’t fill either of us with much confidence, & we proceeded over the boulders in a rapid fashion. We got to a large cavernous area, which had one main tunnel that had several junctions coming off it. Where the junctions met the main passage, the Architects/Engineers had formed an ornate structure that went from square to a graduated dome shape, eventually jutting up to the ceiling in a cylinder. It was reminiscent to the inside of a bottle, & I found it rather fascinating. There were two of these main features, each being slightly different in design.

    After taking some time to shoot them, & to refuel with some energy drinks (I need to stop drinking that shit), we started to explore the smaller offshoot passages. There was an interesting set of stairs which caught my eye, & Letchbo said that it lead to the rail tunnel next door. We went down to have a nosey, & through a small crack in the brick wall, sure enough there it was. Later on we heard a few of them hurtling through there, which reminded me of being in some of the London deep level shelters. Exploring down the opposite side we came to a smaller vaulted ceiling with a crisscross structure, which I thought was rather cool. In here there was a pool of ooze that looked like it came from a disintegrated crate. It had moulded over & the fibres from it were standing an inch tall. It was disgusting to say the least, & at that moment I really wished I had found my proper breathing mask with the hepa filters. Instead we were both rocking some cheap B&Q dust masks, like a right couple of newbs!! We had a further root around, saw what more we could from the place, & finally made our way out.

    Time was really getting on by this point, & we were needing to get off. But seeing as we were in the area, we decided to pay a certain aerial a visit…….because it would be rude not to. Not much to do with the locations visited, but I thought it was a lovely way to finish off what was an awesome night’s exploring. We then got off home for some much needed rest.

    The Pics - West

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    East

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    Aerial shot

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    Thanks for looking :thumb

     

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  2. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Some cracking pictures of the oil mills there mate. That was the first place I ever explored in Dover, and I never noticed half that stuff.
     
  3. wellingtonian

    wellingtonian Subterráneo
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    Stunning snaps matey. Enjoyed the report :thumb
     
  4. Pinkman

    Pinkman 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers @Oxygen Thief, I really enjoyed exploring these tunnels. They're a real hidden gem, & I'm sure there are so many out there that are still to be discovered.
     
  5. Pinkman

    Pinkman 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks @wellingtonian, as usual it was a fun explore. I'm glad you enjoyed the write up :D
     
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