Report - - Hillhead Tunnel, Northumberland- Nov 2015 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Hillhead Tunnel, Northumberland- Nov 2015


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
My report on Hillhead Tunnel was posted in 2015 from photos taken between April and September of that year. In the November I gave it another visit, this time with a remote shutter. Prior to this I either had 30 seconds to get the shot or If I wanted longer, my friend had to hold down the shutter while I light painted down the bore for several minutes. With that method comes blurring as keeping the camera dead still is near impossible, so my photos never came out the way I had hoped, yet at the time I had to make do and generally they came out alright.

I thought I'd add several that I took nearly a year ago (where has the time gone) as they've been sitting on a hard drive without anyone really seeing them since. I'll include a history taken from my previous report.There are no portal photos though my previous report includes one.
The photos are taken directly from the camera. I've not altered them in any way.

The Tunnel was built for the 35.5 mile Alnwick to Cornhill branch line which was created to link the farming communities of north Northumberland and traversed through some amazing countryside. Construction on the line began in 1884 and was finally opened in 1887. The Tunnel has a brick lined bore with sandstone portals together with buttresses and triangular retaining walls either side. It is 351 yards in length and is generally straight with a slight curve to the west at the southern end.
The tunnel passes underneath farmland at a maximum depth of 125ft and has within it several large yet shallow refuges. Two air shafts were constructed and to this day are uncapped and stand quite prominently in the field above. The base of the shafts are lined with a thick concrete ring.
I have read in a book as well as online sources that a small 2 mile rail line was built to join a brick works to the tunnel for construction. However from studying old maps from the time of construction and seeing remains of a structure many years ago, a brick works was located immediately adjacent to the tunnel's north portal which would seem to be more feasible. I can't find any evidence of this 2 mile line.

The line was not a major success and by the 1930's was starting to go into decline. Bus services and general road traffic was increasing and after a major storm in 1949 which split the line in two, the end was becoming ever closer. The last time a train passed through the tunnel was in 1953, yet after 62 years of abandonment it remains in very good condition.


Looking straight down the bore with the open air shaft.

The open air shaft is brick lined except for a concrete strengthening ring at it's base.

A small stream passes through the tunnel especially at this time of year.

Water ingress has caused areas of the tunnel's side walls to spall.

A final view down this very colourful tunnel bore.


Irregular Member
Regular User
Lovely tunnel this and you have captured it well,stick to underground stuff all that derp stuff just isn't any fun unless you need a poo
You're not a real explorer until you've shat in a derp ;)


A Predisposed Tourist
Regular User
You're not a real explorer until you've shat in a derp ;)
Damn right mate,when i first got into this i thought UE stood for underground exploration,when me mate suggested doing an abandoned building i just gave him a funny look


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Have to agree with the other comments very well lit great pics we have some very nice tunnels up here in the North East.

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