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Report - - Farleigh Down Tunnel - August 2017 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Farleigh Down Tunnel - August 2017



MattTheForce

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
(Please note this is my first forum post, so expect the usual newbie mistakes, I apologise! ;))

First to some history, copied from some earlier posts and SubBrit... (This place has been done to death)

-History-

Monkton Farleigh ammunition depot utilised an old stone quarry below a plateau some 450 feet above the valley floor in which ran the main line railway that was its principal source of supply. Before the depot could be commissioned, an efficient means was need to bring in ammunition from the railway at Farleigh Down Sidings. The sidings were just over a mile from the depot as the crow flies but more than four miles by road along steep and tortuous country lanes.

In November 1937 the Great Western Railway were contracted to lay the sidings and build a 1000 foot long raised loading platform complete with a narrow gauge track to carry the ammunition wagons. The tunnel was designed to handle 1000 tons of ammunition daily, which was scheduled for completion in 1941. The use of an underground tunnel as a means of ammunition transportation to the storage depot at Monkton Farleigh allowed the process to be almost invisible from the skies, reducing the risk of aerial attack.

The tunnel runs from quarry floor level near Main West to the underground loading platform near the main line railway at a constant gradient of 1:81/2. Deep tunnelling was required for the top half of the route whilst the lower half is at or just below ground level and was constructed by the `cut and cover' method. A depth of 180 feet was reached near the edge of the Farleigh Down escarpment.

Some historic photos first..

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This photo shows the sidings in use circa 1940's. Note the great expanse of platform extending all around the tunnel entrance; the vast majority of this has now been lost, leaving little trace of its initial size.

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This second photo, from a similar time, shows some unloading, presumably looking outward from the tunnel entrance.

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Finally, a picture taken from SubBrit, taken in 1988. Note that this was taken almost 30 years ago, and even then most of the loading platform is skeletal! Carriages carrying ammunition would have been stationed each side of the tunnel, and loaded onto the narrow gauge carts to be transported underground.

-The Explore-

Visited by myself and a non member. This was my second time here, and I can say that very little has changed in almost a year! Access is still very much open, parking on the roadside and walking down the valley through the fields is probably ones best bet. after walking up a short climb this brought us face to face with the pillbox (was this a pillbox?) right behind the tunnel entrance.

Overall the explore was really good fun! Met a fair few explorers there, one group coming out of the tunnel as we approached, looking rather exhausted after making it to the end and back! Still plenty of rubbish littering the tunnel entrance and main station area below ground (The portaloo and trolley still sitting proud :thumb), also one of the blast doors is now off its hinges.

Onto some pictures! (again i apologise if these are huge resolution)

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The approach from rear... summer means that the plants and trees are taking over again...

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Side view... what fencing that was there to keep people out is now pretty much non existent!

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From the front, makes you wonder how much longer the corrugated iron roofing will last...

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Ready for the descent

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The main room complex, still in poor condition and littered with the aftermath of numerous parties i'm sure :D

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Greeted with this fellow beast as we began our journey, personally my favourite bit of graffiti here, much talent!

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About half way down, approaching the 'portal to Hell' marking the point at which the tunnel changes shape, presumably as it begins to cut into the hillside.

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Some rather pretty glistening beads of water on the roof

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And finally.. we reached the bottom, after what was almost an hour of slight uphill. We met another group of explorers at the end who decided to climb through the small hole and up into the small alcove above... even after I told them they would be met with a bricked up passage :p Still, there's a lot of rubbish in there, the most random of things including deoderant cans and even a football! Weird...


Still thanks for looking, and please do tell me if there's anything i've misinterpreted or did wrong! :p:D:thumb
 

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