Report - - Hardham Canal Tunnel, Sussex under ground boating, Oct '10 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - Hardham Canal Tunnel, Sussex under ground boating, Oct '10


Reckless & irresponsible
28DL Full Member
Visited with Reef,

Built in 1790, the canal 343m tunnel cut off nearly miles of twists, turns and shallows on the Arun Navigation. There was no tow path through the tunnel, barges had to be 'legged' through while the horses went above ground and they met up where the canal reached the River Rother.
The last barge passed through in 1888 and the tunnel closed in 1889.
Two railway lines pass over the tunnel (both built long after the canal) and sometime after the canal closed the railway company decided to shore up the tracks by filling the tunnel with clay, blocking the tunnel.

This was my first explore by inflatable boat and I had hoped to use a tripod to take pictures as the water looked less than 2ft deep but the silt was way deeper and was very soft, with the boat impossible to keep still for long exposures it was flash all the way!

the entrance,

the water was really clear

first shot from the boat

one of many trickles of water getting in

strange mineral formations

stalactites and 125yard marker


the clay blockage under the railway, it was blocked to the top from here so we couldnt go any further, it was very hard getting in and out of the boat here due to the silt

ladder up to railway tracks

looking back

Reef heading back towards the entrance



looking back at the entrance, the pipe lets water run out into the old canal ditch


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Re: Hardham Canal Tunnel, Sussex underground boating, Oct '10

The link below details an account of a similar visit made about 58 years ago.
There are infact two sets of clay/chalk mounds, one under the Midhurst Line and the other under the Mid Sussex. The mounds never suported the railways themselves because the infill stopped short by 4 feet of the roof, except at the ends were the spoil was tipped. I think its purpose was to stop the sides collapsing inwards which could occur if voids developed behind the brickwork or the invert rising.

Last edited:


28DL Full Member
Re: Hardham Canal Tunnel, Sussex underground boating, Oct '10

Thought I'd add a few of my photo's.


The126 taking a leap of faith, it was so tempting to nik his boat:D

It took so many attempts to get this photo, I kept drifting past.


I think this place was the hardest one I've ever photographed.

Top night out, better repair the boat before my daughter finds out:D


28DL Member
28DL Member
Id love to find this tunnel been looking and researching the canal for years never knew it was possible to find the entrance


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
wouldn't you be better off with waders in that depth of water, only looks about a foot or two deep.


Reckless & irresponsible
28DL Full Member
The water only looks that deep but the soft silt was much deeper, I stuck an oar in the water and the whole thing went in up to my hand!