The tunnel itself is as straight as a
dye and has 2 very slight inclines leading to the centre from both ends. What
surprised me more was that 1/3 of the way in the tunnel we came across a circular
extension. At first you could be forgiven for thinking that they had started
to build an airshaft leading up, but this was very unlikely. This round part
in the tunnel doubled the width of the tunnel, and was a perfect circle. The
most likely explanation was that the horses were turned round at this point
as the rest of the journey would have been down bank; and a man could have
pushed the coal filled carts down to the break winding drum easily thus freeing
the horses to go and fetch the next load. Len also informed me that the local
coal miners at the time bred their own horses, Clydesdales being ideal for
the job. They were stabled at Towerhill part way along the track in what was
believed to be the engine house.
We continued to the end of the tunnel, this time going on the downwards slope to sealed end, just up from the Ash Inn; to my obvious disappointment the water started to get deeper. In fact I remarked on it's temperature at it seeped over the top of the waders. I was glad to turn round and start walking back.
The roof is a little unstable in a few places, probably where the roads pass over the top, the wall are covered in coal dust and hanging from the ceilings are straw stalactites that have been made up from years of dripping water. The tunnel has been nearly full to the top with water as you can see a very clear water line mark. There are the odd wooden sleepers that have been left scattered, apparently they were placed at an angle to each other to help keep them stable and the tracks parallel with the heavy trucks pushing down. As well as the usual brickwork, there are are a few places where the gritsone has been left, these makes small cavern like structures, 10ft high in places.
THE TUNNEL HAS KNOW BEEN RE-SEALED.
Some parts were not bricked at all
Chisel found in the Tunnel
Brackish Water, Coal Dust lines walls and a sleeper by a water drain