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Report - Ravenstones/Ashway Tunnel

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by The Lone Ranger, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Safety is paramount!
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    Ravenstones/Ashway Tunnel - Nov 2010

    History

    Dovestones Reservoir was built in 1967 to collect water from the surrounding moorlands. This received a lot of opposition from the local mill owners who claimed the damming of the river would cut off their water supply. As a result of this, a tunnel was built higher up in the hillside to bypass Greenfield and Yeoman Hey reservoirs empting into Dovestones Reservoir.

    The tunnel basically runs through this hill, bypassing this reservior and the one above.

    [​IMG]

    Situated over 1000ft above sea level, Ashway Tunnel must be one of the highest tunnels of significant length in England. It enters the hillside below the impress Ravenstones Crag and is fed by two major streams; Birchens Clough and Greenfield Brook and terminates 1.15km below at Ashway Gap with an impressive water chute much favoured by pissed chaves in the summer months to launch themselves down (well before the ladder was removed) :)

    The tunnel itself is about 3.0m in diameter and appart from the entrance, exit and base it is brick lined, and very, very straight. There is an interesting feature half way into the tunnel (images to follow), the exit (downstream end) is the most problematic as there is a 3.0m wall, the top end is very slippy even on the stonework which is always under water.

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    The whole area is immersed in history, the tunnel passes under the Ashway Memorial Cross which Commemorates James Platt, an MP for Oldham, who 'was killed here by an accidental discharge of his own gun' in 1857 (I wonder if Phil Woolas is going shooting locally soon). The track to/from the upper entrance takes you close to the infamous demolished Moorcock Inn, home to a terrible murder which occurred just as news papers became national, it attracted much attention by the public flocking to the pub at weekends. "On April 2nd 1832 a landlord and his gamekeeper son were violently murdered at a remote pub on the edge of the bleak moorland above Greenfield near Saddleworth. Reported at the time as “one of the most diabolical murders ever committedâ€￾, the murders were never solved and have become a fascinating, if dark, part of the local lore of Saddleworth."

    My Visit

    A perfect combination for me, a nice wander on the moors, a few photos and a bit of an explore; what more could I ask for?

    Given this is only a couple of miles away from me and I wander around here often; I have never ventured through. I had a look earlier this year from the top end but the flow of water was too strong and had images of me doing the water flue used on a credit card advert!

    This time I went in from the exit, gets the hardest bit over first and you get a feel as to how strong the water flow is without being washed through the tunnel :eek:

    Access I knew wouldn't be a problem as we had climbed the water chute (dry tooled is the correct term I think!) over 10 years ago!

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    This was no concern as it's obviously a local tunnel for local people :)

    The entrance (exit)

    [​IMG]

    A nice long, straight brick faced with gritstone based tunnel.

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    The obligatory tunnel shot :thumb

    [​IMG]

    As I set off from taking this shot I could hear the rumble of falling water, it took me a bit to work out where it was comming from. Half way down the tunnel is a vertical feed from a 12" pipe, I hadn't packed my umbrella either.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There are some nice features on the way through, some seapage holes and water spurting from the brick work at many locations.

    [​IMG]

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    The upper end of the tunnel came all too soon (my feet were glad to get out, my boots leak)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    View of the upper entrance

    [​IMG]

    Not a bad place to spend an hour or two, but wellies would have made the whole experience a fair bit drier. All that was left was the long wander back to the car around the hill that the tunnel cuts through.
     
    #1 The Lone Ranger, Nov 20, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2010

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