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Found 20 results

  1. History Once part of Lancashire, Worsley is a small town in Greater Manchester, England. It is first mentioned in the Great Rolls of the Pipe (a collection of financial records maintained by the English Exchequer) in 1195, when it was known as Werkesleia, meaning, in the language of the Saxons, ‘the cleared place which was cultivated or settled’. Prior to the 18th century, Worsley comprised a small farm-based village and a manor created by William I; however, after the completion of the Bridgewater Canal in 1761, the village began to expand as cotton manufacturers, iron and brick works and coal mining companies were established in the area. Further expansion of the town came following the First and Second World Wars, as large residential estates were introduced, to house the increasing number of workers of nearby factories and evacuees from the south of England. A small section of Worsley Brook was culverted during the Industrial Revolution, because a canal had to be constructed above to provide a more efficient means of transporting coal from Worsley to Salford. The first part of the culvert would have been built sometime in the late 1750s. After the completion of the canal it was considered a major engineering achievement because it was accomplished in a timely fashion, built over the top of obstacles such as Worsley Brook and the River Irwell, and even allowed boats to travel underground into the coal mines themselves. By 1887, however, the mines in the area ceased production. Most of the works and several large warehouses were demolished during the early 1900s and the area was transformed so that new developments could be positioned on the land. As part of this redevelopment a larger 400 metre section of Worsley Brook was culverted, to allow for building over the top. Today, Worsley Culvert is undergoing major restoration work to address various structural problems. It was reported that the deteriorating state of the brickwork posed risks to 260 local properties because there was a risk of it collapsing and causing subsequent flooding. The plans to stabilise the structure involve lining it with thirty-six four-tonne concrete sections. According to the Environment Agency, a number of pumps have been installed to help drain and divert the brook while the work takes place. Our Version of Events After a rough night sleeping beneath a tarp, we were pretty keen to get moving and do some exploring. To avoid sleeping in two cramped cars (there were eight of us after all), which were each filled with a lot of Tesco sandwich packaging, pigeon shit, a little bit of asbestos and enough gear to get us through a nuclear war, four of us had decided to kip outside beneath the stars. We’d found a nice little spot in some sort of country park by a small duck pond, and it was only really as we were setting up that we started to noticed that the floor was turning white with frost. Still, we decided to ignore it, and cracked on with setting up our campsite for the evening. We figured that we’d just each wear three or four jackets and hoodies and light a few candles for warmth. By the morning, though, none of us could feel our arms and legs anymore. The last bit of warmth in our bodies was centred around the torso area. Getting up was the worst bit, as we left behind the little warmth there was inside our sleeping bags. Putting the boots back on felt like stepping into blocks of ice. The morning didn’t get any better as we noticed that there was a layer of ice covering the tarp, and that the pond behind us had completely frozen over. What is more, we’d left a large half-eaten cake outside, thinking it would be perfectly fine throughout the night for us to enjoy at breakfast, but it was gone! All that remained were several fox footprints (or so we guessed) in the frost. It took a wee while to thaw out a bit before we could pack everything up, so our start to the day was a little delayed. Nevertheless, once we were back inside the cars, with the heaters running at full blast, we were ready for some more exploring. First on the list was an old culvert… You can tell this was a well-planned winter trip. Having said that, there was some intelligent thinking behind this decision to don the waders in December. Prior to embarking on our trip to Liverpool, we’d stumbled across a few old reports on a fantastic looking culvert known as ‘Old Worsley’. Judging by the photographs we found, it was short but filled with all sorts of old brick and stonework. The problem, though, was that we’d read about redevelopment work being scheduled between 2016 and 2017. So, since we were passing through Manchester on our way to Liverpool, we figured it would be nice to take a quick look. We hoped, with a little bit of luck on our side, that the work crew might not have ruined it too much just yet. We arrived at the entrance of the culvert, which is situated at the side of a nice residential estate, just as everyone else seemed to be waking up. What this means is that we looked like a right bunch of space cadets as we wadered up in middle of the street. One guy who was walking his small sausage dog, which made him look ever so slightly like a camp paedophile, stared at us with an angered expression on his face. He even doubled back on himself to walk past us another couple of times, and the entire time he kept his beady little eyes on us. Thankfully, it didn’t take long to walk up to the brook, so we were soon out of sight. You know what they say, out of sight out of mind. Inside, we were instantly a bit disappointed because the redevelopment work seemed to be in full swing. The first section is now almost completely reinforced with concrete. The next part, where there is an arched entranceway and what should have been a rugged boxed off section inside, didn’t look too good either; now, a concrete shell has been erected inside it. The work looked very recent too, since some of the cement was still a bit damp, which was unfortunate indeed. Things looked a lot more promising, however, once we reached the end of this fresh Soviet-inspired culvert (someone ought to stamp a little hammer and sickle in the cement as the company logo really). We had reached a brick chamber with an arched brick tunnel leading off to the right. The first steps into the chamber were tentative. The water looked deep and cold. We weren’t wrong. As we waded a few steps forwards towards the arched tunnel, the water instantly became thigh deep (and by that we mean upper thigh). But, ignoring the ball tingling chill, we carried on; the tunnel ahead was interesting and, as far as we could see, there was much more to see further ahead. It was at this point that Ford Mayhem started to find the explore a lot less entertaining mind, as he had discovered a hole in his waders. The main thought whirling around his head at the time was something along the lines of “for fucks sake, why is it getting deeper?! Man, I’m going to have to hold my torch and snap shut the hole on my waders with my hand. Here goes… Fuck, fuck! It’s cold! Jesus, my hand is cold”. Things got even more tricky towards the middle part of the arched tunnel too, as it dips a little bit, so we were forced to lean further into the water. At this point, it was safe to say that most of us were within inches of breaching point as the water was chest deep. For poor Mayhem, the situation was even worse because the key thought swirling around his head now was, “Wait. Why am I getting wet down my right leg? I thought I was holding it shut?... Oh shit. I have a hole on the rear side as well. FUCK!”. Inside the next section the ceiling was considerably higher, so we could stand up straight again. We were still waist deep in the water though, and by this point our legs were starting to go a little numb. It was so cold in there that there was an icy mist hovering over the water. It was a bit like walking into a steamy sauna, but without the steam and heat. At least we didn’t have to worry about our balls being cold anymore mind, since they’d moved right up into our stomachs to hibernate. For reasons unknown even to ourselves, we continued on. Once again the water level started to get deeper and deeper. It was at this point, two of the Boyz bailed after having stopped for several minutes to discuss how much of a shit time they were having. They had almost reached the breaching point of their waders and couldn’t continue forward any longer as it was still getting deeper. Mayhem was left standing in waist deep water the whole time, trying to pinch shut two holes while holding his torch. What was running through his mind at this point was a slightly desperate “why won’t the others hurry the fuck along? I’m freezing my tits off here!” After a bit more debating, the rest of us made the decision to carry on and see how far we could get. Two metres later, though, and almost all of the other Boyz had decided to bail. The water was millimetres away from pouring inside the waders at this stage. So, now, there were only two happy-ish WildBoyz willing to carry on, all for the sake of producing a swish new report at the end of it. Soul led the way, followed by Mayhem. For some reason, Soul’s waders seemed to go right up to his nipples and beyond. He might as well have been wearing a dry suit, so he was pretty comfortable throughout this entire endeavour. As for Mayhem, he battled on, trying to pinch his waders with one hand while carrying a torch and now a tripod and camera in the other. The rest of the group had handed it to him as they weren’t going any further. Somehow, he was doing well for a few more metres or so, until, all of a sudden, another icy trickle could be felt down the inside of his right leg. The water was so cold he’d lost all feeling in his fingers, and they were no longer capable of gripping anymore. The bitter water, which might as well have been a murky flavoured Slush Puppy, quickly started to fill up his waders. A sequence of the foulest words known to mankind quickly filled the still silence of the tunnel, followed by the cruel laughter of five others. Cold and completely wet, Mayhem decided that he might as well continue and finish off the explore. Motivated by the knowledge that he had a dry flannel back in the car, he cracked on like a proper legend. Meanwhile, everyone else headed straight for the Barton Arms, a pub that’s not too far from the entrance of ‘Old Worsley’, for a quick shandy. By the time Soul and Mayhem got to the pub, looking a lot like two washed up submariners, the rest of the Boyz had knocked back a good few drinks and a few steak and ale pies. It has to be said that sitting in the pub, close to a roaring fire, after being permanently cold for the past 12 hours or so felt pretty damn amazing. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do, Rizla Rider, Box and Soul. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22:
  2. History Faverdale is a northern suburb of Darlington in County Durham, and is well known for being the site of a large industrial estate. Although the area was rural until the twentieth century, when a large wagon works was established in the 1920s, there is evidence of prehistoric, iron age and medieval activity at Faverdale. Nevertheless, as hinted above, the area owes its expansion in the interwar period to the wagon works as wooden freight wagons were in high demand for the North Eastern Railway (NER) company. The first residential housing estate, consisting of two hundred homes, was built to the west of the growing industrial estate, to house the workforce located there. As for the culvert, there is evidence from 1939 of a bridge having been constructed of stone and brick at its current location, which was part of the Darlington to Barnard Castle Railway Line (LNER). The bridge allowed passenger and goods trains to pass over West Beck, a small stream that eventually flows into the River Skerne. The same evidence also points to the fact that Faverdale Black Path, a track running adjacent to the train line, existed around the same time as the bridge. Although the Darlington to Barnard Castle Line stopped operating in 1964, as part of the Breeching cuts (a largescale restructuring of the railways in Great Britain) which saw to it that the track was lifted almost immediately afterwards, Black Path still exists today. By the time it came to the removal of the railway, much of the original surrounding industrial estate had already been demolished, as it had slowly begun to shift to its current location following newer and larger developments. The Faverdale Wagon Works was one of those casualties, as the factory closed in 1963 with 366 jobs lost; steel framed and bodied wagons became more popular and, subsequently, left little place for wooden bodied wagons. The nearby residential area, however, continued to expand. It is this expansion that called for a larger culverted section of West Beck, to allow more houses to be built over the top. The exact date of this construction is unknown, but based on its concrete box-like design it is likely to have been sometime the late 1960s/early 1970s. Modern day culverts tend to be circular to avoid becoming clogged with sediment and debris, especially during periods of heavy rainfall. Our Version of Events Recently, we’ve been working our way through a book. It’s all about experiences underground inside the ‘unknown worlds of the urban subterrane’. In that book, there are several sections (it’s essentially a collection of short stories) that talk about things such as descending into ‘dark and winding tentacles’ which ‘extend far into the subconscious’, and the allure of mystery and curiosity which has the power to encapsulate our imaginations. Others talk about the palimpsest nature of underground places, and how they allow us, if we look close enough, to peel back the layers of history. And then there’s the stuff on the dead and ghosts of the past. Apparently, the metaphoric juxtaposition between the warm surface and the dark underworld is capable of inciting powerful feelings that are steeped in questions about our mortality. It does get a bit weird in places, though, as one guy gets onto the topic of ‘infrastructural fetishism’, where he discusses being awash with satisfaction as a result of experiencing vibrational tremors of machines and brake dust. Anyway, after reading this book we found ourselves in the mood to find something underground to explore. As it would turn out, we had a nice culvert we’d been meaning to explore ready for the picking. Our aim was to go out and see if there was any truth in the book’s tales. So, excited by the prospect that we might find ourselves, or a skeleton, deep in the underworld, we wasted no time in gathering our equipment and getting to the car. Access was a little tricky to begin with, as we had to navigate our way down an overgrown beck. There were brambles and other spikey plants everywhere, so we took our time to prevent the waders from suffering several punctures. At one point we debated whether we should have brought along a machete, as a wall of barbed branches prevented us from moving any further downstream. Perhaps these were the ‘winding tentacles’ in the dark that one of the writers had been on about? It was night-time after all. Very confused about their meaning, and its effect on our subconscious, we continued on by moving the tentacles with our bare hands. The only thing going through my subconscious was panic about getting a puncture, and the pain of being prickled on every finger. Sometime later, we found ourselves stood before what we assumed was the former railway bridge, or at least what looked like it had been a part of it. We stared into the abyss ahead, preparing ourselves for the encounter that was about to ensue. We were going to step inside and look for the peeling layers of history. Apparently, the whole experience is not unlike an onion, where layer after layer reveals more and more. One by one we stepped inside the great arched structure, taking care not to disturb the dangling cobwebs too much. After taking several steps forward we all stopped and took a moment to properly take in the full sense of the underworld. I stared long and hard at the wall in front of me. But, after two and a half long minutes, nothing happened. I couldn’t quite fathom how we were supposed to see into all the so-called layers the book had described, especially when the bricks were caked in years of shit and dirt. What about the cobwebs for a start? How are you meant to see past those? Were we supposed to scrub a bit off? We didn’t have time for that, and nor did we have a bucket and sponge with us, so we were forced to abandon our search for the secret layers of history. We pressed on, a little disappointed with our lack of success. It was OK, though, because we had a few more things to try out. Next, we wanted to try and get a feel for the dark, ghostly, underworld, to see if we could be at one with mortality and all that other morbid shit. Further down the tunnel, in a section that was less stoopy than the rest of the tunnel, we decided that the best way to feel a sense of the proper underworld would be to turn our torches off. Surely, if we stood in the dark and listened for it for a wee bit, we’d sense something. So, that’s exactly what we did. One by one we turned off our torches. A moment later darkness shrouded us, and it was as if we’d entered into the arcane shadows of a nun’s knickers. Its veil closed tightly around us and an eerie silence followed. We stood motionless for a while, just listening. Listening hard for any sign of the darkness – the very void that is the underworld. Nothing. Only the dull ache of my back, as it screamed at me for being in a place too small to be comfortable. Until, suddenly, a low fffffffffffffff sound rose from the depths, almost as if someone was blowing on hot soup. One of the lads mumbled something of an apology, and told us it would probably be best if we evacuated this section of the tunnel. These were wise words indeed, for we’d stumbled across the darkest thing possible to find in the underworld. It was the incarnation of death itself: the raw, sticky, stench of cabbage. For a brief moment, as the whiff floated gently past the tips of my nostrils, I felt a true sense of what it’s like to be mortal. It hadn’t been what we were expecting, but we continued feeling as though we’d gained a real insight into our mortality. There was only one thing left to do now, and that was to develop a fetish for infrastructure. This was a tricky one. Looking around, one of the lads pointed out a small portal in the side of the wall, enclosed by a ‘hydraulic’ (or so it said on the side) metal cover. “Perhaps if two of us lift the flap, and you pop something in and have a good jiggle around, we’ll understand what all this fetishism is all about”, one of the lads suggested. We thought about it for a moment, and it seemed to make sense, in a weird sort of way. So, as two of us set about lifting the flap, the third among us set about finding a long rod which he could poke into the hole and have a jiggle. He found a stick that was protruding slightly from the water and prodding uncomfortably into his waders, and decided that it would have to do. Getting down into a bit of a crouched position in front of the portal, the third among us signalled to the others to lift. As they did, he was quick to insert his stick. A bit of back and forth pump action was required to clear much of the old stagnant debris, but once he was through he was able to have a good jiggle, as we’d discussed. And then he stopped. There was a pause, as everyone waited for something to happen. Perhaps an alluring drain aroma would overcome us, or we would suddenly feel at one with the drain having been so intimate with it. There was nothing for the next few moments, until the slightest trace of something sent prickles down my spine. The smell of egg. All of a sudden I was losing the feeling in my hands, my arms, my face, until it finally consumed my lungs. A great cloud of green gas erupted from the pipe, choking us all. “Fuck man”, someone yelled amid spluttering and coughing, “did you poke it in the right hole?” The lads holding the flap quickly dropped it. Suddenly realising that we’d got this fetishism idea all wrong, we decided to escape as quickly as possible. Unlike the guy in the book we’d read, we certainly weren’t awash with feelings of satisfaction. No, no. We were awash with the putrid smell of shitty egg! To conclude, then, and to offer our own contribution to the book. Inside this culvert beneath Darlington, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to peel back the history of the place, because there are too many cobwebs. You will get a sense of your own mortality under certain circumstances, but it will require a strong curry the night before. It’s unlikely that people with a fetish for infrastructure will get off on the architecture here, unless egg is your thing. And finally, the ‘winding tentacles’ are a load of bullshit; what they surely mean are spikey fucking brambles, and there’s nothing spectacular about those. As for the allure of mystery and all that, this explore is a culvert, so you should expect that you’ll probably reach the other, unspectacular, end at some point along the way. Unless, of course, there’s a fuck off grill at the other end – and then, the only mystery will be how long it’s going to take you to walk all the way back. Explored with Meek-Kune-Do. Faverdale back in the 1930s (Black Path is up on the top left hand side of the image, beneath the railway line) Darlington to Barnard Castle Line The Wagon Works 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17:
  3. History Tanfield culvert was built in 1723 as owners of nearby coal mines needed a way of moving material from their pits to the Tyne (see Tanfield Railway). From the river it could then be loaded onto ships and transported to large industrial cities in the South. As the surrounding land was not suitable for a canal, and two sections of the Causey Burn had to be crossed, the mine owners were forced to build a wagon way to reach the river. At one of these sections, the culvert was constructed; it was dug out by hand, and the land above was raised higher by manually adding thousands of tons of soil. This ensured it was capable of supporting a railway line. Later, in 1725, at the second problematic section of the stream, a large single span bridge was constructed using the Roman compression arch concept, alongside large abutments to the valley sides. Today, the surviving Grade I culvert and archway are, in effect, open to the public; the former is a road, while the latter is a pedestrian walkway. Both the culvert and the archway were built using the same sandstone. If entered from the Western portal, the first part of the culvert comprises an arched stone section. Further on, wooden support beams, which were placed inside the tunnel to help prop up the rock and earth directly above, are still in situ. The floor is largely uneven and rocky throughout, until the wooden boardwalk section is reached at the halfway point. Finally, towards the end there is a large modern concrete structure, presumably created when the bank required reinforcement work, when the railway was replaced with a road. Our Version of Events Back in the safety of the north, and away from the chaos of London, we decided to return to the Tanfield area and check out an old culvert a couple of us had spotted there many years ago while climbing near Causey Arch. We arrived bright and early (early for us at least) and wadered up in a nearby car park. From there we walked over to the stream. As there were a few walkers around giving us confused looks, we played the ‘we’ll pretend to be fishermen’ card. However, our plan didn’t seem to work at all; if anything, they stared even harder. At the stream’s edge, the sun was beginning to come out from behind the world famous overcast cloud that often seems to be a permanent feature of the North East. It was a pleasant change from all the rain we’d been experiencing of late. Unfortunately, however, our time getting a tan was cut short as the number of people watching us was growing at an alarming rate, to the extent that a small crowd was beginning to form. So, wasting no time, we jumped straight into it and headed directly for the Western portal to get out of sight. The first section was incredibly rocky, so going was slow to avoid falling over and filling the old waders up with water. A couple of sofas also lay ahead and required a spot of climbing; they made a perfect gathering place though, while we waited for the welly-wearers among us to catch up, as it offered some convenient seating. Of course, we did fail to take into account the fact that old sofas don’t fare well in wet conditions, and as we made the mistake of using them for their original purpose we very nearly ended up in the drink. After our near-mishap, we avoided the seating and chose to stand as we watched the others. They were struggling hard to avoid breaching their wellies; the water was millimetres away from spilling over. They almost made it too, until an unexpected drop cause an unavoidable deep area. Once we were all past the sofas, the stream suddenly became much shallower and less rocky, and our progress through this section quickened. From this point on we found ourselves beneath archaic wooden supports. Water trickled from the ceiling and the beams, causing sporadic droplets to fall on us as we walked. It smelt earthy and damp in this part, and there’s something oddly satisfying about that combination, it smells good. The odour continued right up to the boardwalk section, where old wooden sleepers have been lain out perfectly on the floor. We were surprised to find a floor like this; you would have thought the floor would rot very quickly being in a river, and yet, it’s been there for years. The final section of the tunnel finished with the large concrete arch. From memory, the ceiling felt much higher in here and, although it’s modern, there is something about it that gives it a dramatic sort of feel; there’s the sense that’s it’s a bit boring, but somehow it’s also very impressive at the same time. If you don’t like spiders, however, you might find this section less appealing because, for some unknown reason, there were hundreds of them here – all different shapes and sizes, and lots of legs and eyes. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do, The Hurricane and Box. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19:
  4. History Johnsonville, otherwise known as J’ville, is a large suburb of the city of Wellington, New Zealand. Originally, J’ville was the site of an old Maori track which stretched from Wellington to Porirua and ran through a dense native forest; no native inhabitants resided there until European settlers arrived in 1841. After the arrival of the settlers, Frank Johnson purchased a 100 acre section of land. Once felling of trees began, Johnson names the clearing ‘Johnson’s Clearing’. A timber mill was quickly erected at the centre of what is now modern J’ville, along with a house which was set by the Johnsonville Stream. Johnson was quick to exploit the local land and vegetation, and soon became one of the biggest suppliers of timber to the nearby town of Wellington which was expanding rapidly. By 1858, after accruing a substantial profit, Frank Johnson sold his land and property and returned to England as a wealthy man. The land left behind had been changed dramatically, and as Wellington continued to grow it seemed like an ideal site to develop a large farming industry that could support Wellington; the town that would, in 1865, become the capital city of New Zealand. As Wellington grew, so did J’ville. By 1874 the area had become a small town and by 1881 it became a small dependent town district. The early 1900s, which brought electric lighting, drainage and kerbed streets represented a point where J’ville had become more of a suburban area than farm land. Although drainage was first installed in 1912, it was not until around the 1950s; when J’ville became a district of Wellington, that larger concrete drains and a main public sewer were constructed. Today, as J’ville has become more of a commercial area; with a supermarket, two supermarkets, many small shops and a library, most of the small streams and freshwater drains have been fully culverted. This has allowed the area to expand over natural and man-made features that would have otherwise inhibited further development. Our Version of Events It was fairly late on in the evening, but we decided to meet up with Gunner and have a crack at a large underground drain that has recently been uncovered in Wellington. Access was a little more public than we would have liked, but once we climbed down into the stream we were no longer visible. The first section through the stream was awkward, on account of the thorns and bushes which were extremely overgrown; like England, there were also the usual things you expect to find in a river or stream: trollies and prams etc. For Gunner, the going was a little harder since he’d forgotten to bring his gum boots, so he’d opted to go barefoot. The ground wasn’t exactly smooth either; at one stage it looked a little like he was walking over burning hot coals. One final trolley, although it could have been a push chair, presented itself as a final obstacle before we reached the large mouth of the drain. I’ll admit, at this stage things were looking a bit too concretey for my liking, so I wasn’t expecting to find anything exceptional down this one. The first cylindrical section continued for a short while, before it opened out into a box shaped passage; this was much easier to walk through as it was less slippery. Next, we entered more of the same cylindrical pipe we’d encountered at the start of the explore. There were a few old access points above us here and there, but they looked like they’d been sealed years ago. As we continued we passed several small junctions and at each the design of the pipe seemed to change slightly. After what felt like a good bit of walking; although, I did stop and start a lot to take photographs, we reached a section with a cave-like roof. It looked fairly natural, but it could easily have been man-made. After that, we were greeted by more concrete once again. This time, however, the gradient of the drain seemed to vary; some sections were straight, while others suddenly dropped off steeply. At this stage, Gunner, who wore an expression that said something along the lines of “fuck this shit boys”, and decided to head back up to the surface. I didn’t blame him, like, since there were quite a few crayfish (koura) down there and they give a good pinch apparently. After Gunner’s swift departure, up to the point we were at, the walk hadn’t been too bad in terms of stoopiness, but I was starting to notice, much like that scene in the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film where they walk along the corridor to the tiny door, that the ceiling was becoming lower and lower. Ten minutes or so later and we were stooping; the back-ache quickly commenced and that desperate longing for a higher section ensued. Like old men, the mumbles and groans directed at the drain quickly began: “fucking bastard”; “piece of shit”; “cunt-fuck”; “jesus christ, my back”. Relief was soon felt, however, as we approached a large twin waterfall. Climbing down seemed a wee bit sketchy at first, as you have to walk down a slippery slope before you reach it, but as it turned out it was easier to descend than we’d first anticipated. Still, the splash back from the water was quite powerful as we walked in between both of the flows towards the next section of the tunnel. The next section was a bit more varied than what we’d already encountered, and not stoopy whatsoever; thank fuck! First, we encountered a section cave-like section once again, and then a junction where we had three choices: continue forwards, climb upwards, or turn right up a steep incline. By the end of the explore we made sure to test each of the three routes. The first led straight to the outfall; it ended in a small reservoir surrounded by bush. The second route involved a climb into another chamber above us; this inevitably led to another ladder that ascended to the surface. The final route, up the steep incline, led into a completely different styled tunnel which was more ovoid. The ovoid tunnel continued for a kilometre or two, until it reached the outside world once again. Here you are greeted by a locked gate and, unless you have starved yourself for two weeks and taken contortionist lessons, the council gets the last laugh. This means you have to turn around and walk all the way back. Explored with Nillskill and Gunner. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22: 23: 24:
  5. History Newburn Culvert, located underneath a block of flats known as Spencer Court, was originally built on land owned by the Duke of Northumbria sometime in the mid-1800s. The culvert was a traditional brick Victorian structure. On the 17th May 2012, after heavy rainfall, a large 6 metre wide hole appeared in Millfield Lane, in Newburn. Teams were immediately deployed to uncover why a hollow had appeared. After initial examinations of the area had been conducted, an old privately owned culvert was discovered. A few days later, on 20th May, a number of pumps were installed, to reduce the water level in around ‘The Winnings’ (a small valley that can be found further upstream). Although immediate repair work was set in motion, extremely bad weather throughout the summer months, especially on 28th June when a severe storm occurred. A few weeks earlier the pumps that had been installed were already becoming overwhelmed by the amount of water accumulating in the valley. A number of houses in the area, including Spencer Court and several cars, were subsequently flooded during the early hours on 10th June. The next day the flats were evacuated by the police, as they were identified as being ‘high risk’. Eighteen days later, the citywide storm hit Newcastle. Though more pumps had been set up, the water in ‘The Winnings’ soon broke its banks, resulting in the flooding of Spencer Court once again; this time up to the second floor. Over 50mm of rain fell within a two hour period; the Environment Agency reported that it was the largest storm Newcastle had experienced since the 1900s. In anticipation that a major storm was heading towards the city, a number of sandbags had been deployed, prior to the incident. Although they did prevent more serious damage from occurring, a further nine properties within the area were evacuated on a precautionary basis. Once again the police assisted in the withdrawal of residents. Following another period of heavy rainfall on 25th September 2012, all of the remaining blocks of Spencer Court were successfully evacuated. Floodwater managed to hollow out the ground beneath a number of the flats, severely damaging the foundations and exposing a number of supporting pillars. Newburn High Street was also closed in the wake of another lower culvert breach. According to ‘the extreme events scrutiny review’, what initially seemed like a reasonably straightforward task soon escalated into a major incident. There were disruptions to the electrical supply in the surrounding area, damage to a major water and gas mains and, as is well known, Spencer Court was partially demolished. When it was discovered that six inches of subsidence had taken place within many of the flats engineers agreed that the some of the premises should be dismantled. After the downpours approximately forty million litres (8.7 million gallons) of water was pumped out of the area. Teams were forced to work twenty four hours a day to rectify the situation and carry out the necessary repairs to the heavily damaged culvert. Over 140 tonnes of ‘high-tec grout’ was used to stabilise the ground above and around the culvert. Following this an estimated three hundred tonnes of displaced soil was excavated and a new concrete section of culvert was promptly installed. A further 125 metre concrete structure was also built over the non-collapsed section of the culvert that is located on Northumberland Estate land. According to the ‘extreme events scrutiny report’, in cases such as this, where public property is damaged and unstable, people are generally not permitted to return to collect valuables and personal belongings. In this instance, however, the council granted access to the site, so people were able to retrieve some of their possessions before the buildings were razed. Throughout the whole disaster neither Northumberland Estates, or Dunelm Homes, admitted responsibility for the collapse, although the Duke of Northumberland is reported to have paid more than £10 million to help repair the culvert and provide support to those who lost their homes. Our Version of Events Newburn culvert has always been something we wanted to see, but up until now we’d never managed to get it done completely. Anyway, a few years on from the disaster and things have changed considerably in this area; half of Spencer Court is gone and the culvert has had lots of new concrete added to it. Since the storms are long gone now, we decided to finally get down there and take a look. This report, then, is made up from photographs from a few different visits. As we first approached the culvert, it looked like an ordinary, classic, culvert… boring. The bridge at the beginning wasn’t too bad, but it looked as though we were about to encounter a lot of concrete. Nevertheless, we’d spent five minutes getting here so we decided to persevere and have a look inside anyway. As we first entered the water reached about knee depth because it was silty as fuck; before we’d taken our first few steps it hadn’t looked too bad. Much to our surprise we were met by a number of large pipes, so we had a bit of ducking and diving to do pretty much straight away. Inside this section it was obvious that many parts of the culvert have been reinforced, although there was a fair bit of debris covering the floor. Further on, it was clear that some parts of the brick floor had sunk, which made the whole thing a bit uneven to walk on. The water was fast flowing at this point, but was beginning to get much shallower. The brickwork in this section was good, a classic Victorian type of structure, so we spent a while trying to take photographs here. Finished trying to capture the brickwork, after a bit more walking, we were suddenly overwhelmed by the sound of running water. It had been getting louder and louder up to this point, but we hadn’t expected to turn a corner and find such a large waterfall; not under Newcastle at any rate. Stood at the base of it, you could barely hear yourself think, it was almost impossible to hear anything. Climbing the waterfall was a wet experience, as you might imagine, and a bit of a tricky task in waders. After a bit of slipping and sliding, we found ourselves inside a new corrugated metal tube which felt quite big. It almost felt like a slipway rather than a culvert since the water was so shallow, but it ended after 20 metres or so. Next, we reached the section that had collapsed back in 2012. Concrete galore! Boring as fuck… A large concrete inspection chamber greeted us a few minutes later though, and it was immaculately clean. There wasn’t a single piece of rubbish or dirt in here which was quite amazing to see. From the chamber, up the end of the culvert, it was basically the same type of structure throughout, until we reached the inflow and a large metal box grill. Explored with Ford Mayhem and Husky. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21:
  6. History The Kaiwharawhara stream and its tributaries, which are located on New Zealand’s north island, drain from an area of steep land from Ngaio in the north and the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in the south. The natural catchment has, however, been altered considerably in recent years as sections now flow through residential, industrial and commercial areas. Some parts of the stream have also been modified because of the presence of two former landfill sites and Karori Cemetery – New Zealand’s second largest graveyard. The stream does retain most of its natural lowland sections as it passes through pastures, scrubland and the surrounding bush. According to Kingett and Mitchell Resource and Environmental Consultants, the Kaiwharawhara stream exhibits high levels of dissolved reactive phosphorous and ammonia beneath the former landfill sites, but these levels do not breach recommended guidelines for toxicity and they do not appear to affect plant or wildlife. The culverted section of the Kaiwharawhara shown in this report runs for approximately 1.5km. Construction of the tunnel began in 1881, when the Kaiwharawhara gully was filled in and the stream was culverted as a new road was to be built above; the main objective was to improve access into the capital city of New Zealand. This section of the Kaiwharawhara flows beneath a large public park and, as noted above, a sizable working cemetery. From there, the stream runs out through Otari Wilton’s Bush; a 100 hectare site constituting forest and some of New Zealand’s oldest trees (including an 800 year old Rimu) and the only botanical garden in New Zealand that is dedicated to native plant life. Our Version of Events Finding ourselves back in Wellington, ready for some midnight exploring, Urbex Central led us to what looked like a small steam somewhere on the outskirts of the city. We faced a little walk to reach the culvert’s entrance, so it took a short while to find our way through some bush. Thankfully, though, it wasn’t too dense – carrying tripods and cameras through thick vegetation isn’t very enjoyable. We found the stream, which was only a few inches deep, and made our way towards a fairly large cylindrical concrete opening; this was the beginning of Kaiwharawhara (the urban section we were interested in at any rate). The first section continued for ten metres or so, until we reached a tunnel that looked as though it was built using WWII schematics. The entire structure was made up of large concrete blocks which arched at the ceiling, giving it a very bunker-like feel. To our surprise, considering we’d expected the culvert to be fairly straight, the tunnel curved and changed direction a great deal. As we continued on we began to notice things glowing on the ceiling above us; these were, upon closer inspection, glow worms. The tunnel ceiling was covered in them, but we were unable to capture them on camera; clearly our skills need some work. After the glow worms, we continued on and I began to notice the old lightbulbs that have been left down inside the culvert, which were presumably installed for maintenance workers. At this stage, I surmised that we’d probably seen the best bits already; namely, the glow worms, but I was wrong. Much deeper inside the culvert now and the arched concrete ceiling suddenly ended, revealing a high ceiling of bare rock. The number of glow worms inside this part was incredible, and the light they gave off was bright enough that we could walk on without using torchlight. Beneath the fantastic glow of those tiny creatures it felt as though we were walking under a mind-blowing starlit sky; it certainly didn’t feel as though we were underground anymore. As the number of glow worms gradually diminished, we reached a large chute and a bad smell which was growing increasingly stronger. Refusing to give in to the stench, we managed to climb our way down the slippery slope until we reached more tunnel with an even larger cave-like ceiling; the only different in this section was that there were rather large stalactites. The further on we walked, the larger the stalactites got. It was at this point we realised that we were probably right beneath the large cemetery I mentioned above. Along with the bizarre shapes and colours down here, there was a lot of seepage coming from the walls and ceiling, and a smell that was strange to say the least. My guess: old bodies. At one stage, the stalactites were so numerous and dense the ceiling was no longer visible and we had to crouch low to avoid touching them. Aside from the whole ‘body thing’ it was pretty spectacular seeing the variety of colours down there. All of a sudden, almost as if the stalactites had been imaginary, they simply ended and we were back inside the WWII bunker-styled tunnel. One final challenge awaited us, however, lying in wait just before the exit into Otari Wilton’s Bush: an eel. As we got closer it became quite obvious that the eel was no longer alive, though; it must have become stranded there when the water levels dropped after having been significantly higher. We carefully bypassed the dead eel and were greeted by a great rush of fresh air. It was a satisfying moment as we suddenly found ourselves out in the open, surrounded by trees and bushes in every direction. Explored with Nillskill. 1: Cylindrical Section 2: WWII Styled Tunnel 3: Onwards 4: Poor Attempt at Capturing the Glow Worms 5: A Touch of Back Lighting 6: More Concrete Tunnel 7: A Light Bulb Moment 8: The Cave Ceiling Section Begins 9: Another Junction 10: Back to Concrete 11: Getting a Little Dirtier 12: Back to the Cave Again 13: Rusty Looking Walls 14: Old Timber 15: Section Full of Glow Worms (Although You Can't See Them Here) 16: The Slope 17: The Bigger Cave 18: The Stalactites Begin 19: Under the Cemetery 20: Right Under the Cemetery 21: The Eel 22: Close Up 23: Exiting into the Bush
  7. History Being a flood hazard every year in Newcastle Upton Tyne, several culverted sections of the Ouseburn have had major work done to them in recent years. Many of the smaller tributaries, such as the one in this report, have also had their flow diverted or restricted to prevent it from running straight into the Ouseburn during flash floods. The 2x4 wooden block on the inflow restricts all water flow, so only water is only able to enter underneath. It may seem counterproductive, however, as we have the feeling this tributary will never actually get 'full', or even reach up to knee depth. Originally, this culvert was a natural stream that ran through a small gully that would have been where an affluent urban district now lies. For many years, only a single stone bridge crossed the waterway, but as Newcastle began to expand in the 1800s much of it was culverted, to channel the water flow through a manmade stone tunnel. Our Version of Events After clambering over bicycle wheels, tyres, rocks and other local artefacts, we finally reached a large arched entrance. The entire arch was coated in a thick layer of moss, and very little water was flowing out. As we wandered inside, almost immediately we were greeted by a long, reasonably straight tunnel. There were a fair few pieces of rubble here and there; various bits of rock, stone and mortar. A little further in we were greeted by the 4.9ft ‘blue lagoon’; as we walked through a pool of water, the reflection of the plastic covering some reinforcement work that has been done gave it a blueish sort of tinge. In the middle of the ‘lagoon’ there is a vertical pipe leading to a manhole at street level, which was placed there back in 2007. After the ‘blue lagoon’ we were greeted by steel beams, which we believe are for reinforcement of the older parts of the tunnel; we could say, given that some of it was built around 200 years ago, it’s getting on a bit. As we made more progress into the next section the maximum head reaches around 4ft, so by this point the legs were aching pretty badly. Quite soon after, though, the structure of the tunnel changes to circular brick work, with a bit of a shallow gully to walk in. After following a few bends here and there we were greeted by a long straight stretch, with what looks in the distance to be light. However, after burning 500 calories walking towards it, we soon discovered that it wasn’t light at all, it was a very fresh smelling 2x4 timber structure; plonked right on the inflow to block torrents of water when it rains heavily. With nowhere to go that was that, we turned around and walked all the way back to the beginning. Explored with Ford Mayhem. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14:
  8. History The Ouseburn Culvert provides an interesting counterpoint to the nearby Victoria Tunnel, for while the latter was described during the Second World War as the worst air raid shelter in Britain, the Ouseburn Culvert was considered by some one of the best, thanks to its dryness, facilities, the sense of camaraderie due to its size, and of course the level of protection afforded. It was also one of the few shelters in the country where no one would have noticed if the chemical toilets were a little ripe. It had come into being in the first decade of the 20th century when the city fathers of Newcastle culverted the Ouseburn stream and then proceeded to bury the 655m long Hennebique ferro-concrete tunnel with a covering of industrial waste and spoil to improve cross-city access. Building work started in 1907 and was completed in 1911 at a cost of £23,000. The original idea was that it would take ten years to fill the 30m deep dene which would then be built upon, but by the 1940s it was still not full and plans changed, and the new City Stadium was built on it instead. The two tunnels were built in very different ways. The Victoria Tunnel was bored in shorter sections between sunken vertical shafts which were then backfilled, while the 9m wide by 6m high elliptical culvert was built in the open and then covered over. Construction photographs from 1907 on show first the timber formwork and then the tunnel being built in a steep banked valley. In 1939 the culvert was converted into a shelter for 3000 people for £11,000, just under half the cost of its initial construction. The work included the construction of a concrete platform floor a little above stream level. The finished shelter would have been incomparably drier than the Victoria Tunnel and the background sewer smell one notices today would at the time have had competition from other shelter aromas. Its size and dryness allowed a wider range of communal facilities such as a canteen, sick bay, library, wardens’ offices, a stage for musical events, a youth club and space for church services. An unusual dispute arose between the canteen operator and the Council over his unwillingness to pay for the electricity he was using. Resolution was achieved when he agreed to lower his charges for tea and other hot drinks and sandwiches (a bargain at 1½d for a cup of tea and 2½d each for cocoa, coffee and sandwiches). Interesting remains from the wartime period are the shelter bay numbers painted on the walls, and glass “tell-tales” fixed across roof cracks with wartime dates inscribed on the mortar. The latter show that it was being regularly monitored to ensure its safety, and may have been placed there in 1941 after a fracture 30m long was found, possibly caused by bomb impacts on parts of the city above. Our Version of Events Once again we found ourselves wandering along a river, but eventually we reached a nice dirty outflow; precisely the one we’d been looking for. Unfortunately, owing to the amount of rain we’ve had recently, it was a bit of a welly breacher, so we quickly hopped up onto the side platform. At first glances, the beginning of the culvert looked quite scruffy and chaotic, it was a little disappointing. Once inside, there are a few parallel tunnels situated on a lower level, and above there is a raised platform to walk on; all contained in an A-frame-styled type of structure with a few blast walls in-between. The tunnel has various different sections throughout; lowered and raised, with plenty of ankle breaking type holes in the floor to watch out for. Occasionally you encounter a few manholes where you are able to view the culvert flowing beneath your feet. The metal girder section mid-way offers quite a nice view; I believe this is underneath quite a busy road. It is a shame there is nothing left from the WW2 era, it resides mainly as an empty shell now. But, the tunnel doesn't seem to have lost much structural integrity, it looks to have been a fine place seek shelter during the war. I have no doubt that it would probably be used today if a war broke out. Although, it’s probably not nuclear-proof… Towards the end the smell of fresh is real, and it has quite a strange culmination: a few manhole steps implanted into a brick wall that leads towards the ceiling and an open square opening. Through the hole there is a small room full of absolute shit – mainly spray cans and needles. It was no surprise that at this point we encountered two hipster 'taggers', who made a hasty exit after we interrupted their activities. There is also a series of manhole steps leading to another manhole at the Ouseburn inflow, however, we did not photograph this as we were feeling quite high off of the fumes at this point. Explored with Ford Mayhem. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13:
  9. Explored with Lost Explorer History Winding through the middle of Loughborough is Woodbrook. Since 1870, Woodbrook has mainly been below ground. This was following a Cholera outbreak in 1848. This section of the brook starts after Bridge Street and eventually flows beneath the canal. This is more a section of culverts rather than a single culvert. The majority of which is roughly 5ft high. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) This is flows below the canal, looking at google earth and the OS it continues the other side of the canal. (10) Cheers for Looking
  10. History “The area used to flood quite regularly until the corporation carried out work to improve the drainage system. The water used to come up through the drains after heavy rainfall as there was nowhere else for it to goâ€. Markeaton Brook, which runs through the centre of Derby, has been the cause of many problems since the medieval ages. As early as 1610 it is recorded that the brook spilled over its banks, flooding a nearby gaol which killed three prisoners because the cells were located beneath street level. Floods continued to torment those living in Derby throughout the years, and St. Werburgh’s church is rumoured to have faced extensive damage in both the 18th and 19th centuries. A Great Flood of 1740 was perhaps the worst of all, however, since it caused great damage to many homes, as many rooms which were positioned on the ground floor were entirely submerged. A significant amount of cattle was also swept away from nearby pastures during this disaster. More recently, in the early 1930s, Derby endured two more major floods which remain famous to this day since they each caused some substantial damage and disruption to the centre of the town. The first occurred in September, 1931, after many days of heavy rain. The full effect of the flooding led to many residents who lived alongside the Markeaton Brook being trapped inside their homes. Many shops were also damaged. Additionally, several allotments were ruined and what would have been the harvest was uprooted and swept through the main streets. The second flood hit the area in May, 1932; this was also known as the Great Flood of Derby. The damage to buildings throughout Derby was catastrophic. Alongside the effects of Markeaton Brook, it is thought that excessive rains from the hills around Kedleston and Mickleover also caused what was described as “an avalanche of water†to cascade throughout the town since it is located at the base of the neighbouring high ground. While a large culvert did exist, and had done for ninety years or so, the sheer volume of water was too great. By ten o’clock on May 22nd water had already breached the streets in low lying parts of Derby, to the extent that shops in the Cornmarket, St. James’s Street and St. Peter’s street were submerged half-way up to the windows. Describing the scene, one resident suggested that “the centre of town presented the appearance of a lake and the sight was unforgettableâ€. In the aftermath of the 1932 Great flood, the Borough council launched an investigation to understand why the area was hit so badly. In response to the research that was carried out, two flood relief culverts were constructed. Further improvements were also implemented on Derby’s sewage system. The relief tunnels were officially opened in 1938, with the first draining excess flows from the Markeaton Brook and the second taking surplus water from Bramble Brook. Each brook has its own inlet spillway along with a weir that overflows during periods of high flows, and once inside the system the flows are taken eastwards for 2.2km, beneath the suburbs of Derby, to an outfall in Darley Park which links to the River Derwent. It is estimated, especially during the winter months, that the catchment can generate a flow of 50 cubic metres per second within thirteen hours of heavy rainfall. Since they were originally constructed, the culvert has been improved and upgraded to cope with expected deteriorated that has occurred over the years. Our Version of Events With the alarm set at 5.30am, we decided that we would aim to get an early night after a BBQ which was organised by KM_Punk. But, once the whisky came out, it was clear that the original plan wasn’t going to happen. After many burgers, sausages, a couple of cheese slices and a philosophical conversation, we made it to bed around 3.30am; those of us who didn’t pass out at least. Two hours later, with blurry vision and the taste of whisky still in our mouths, we rose – albeit very slowly – at 5.30. After a quick coffee though, we managed to grab our cameras and tripods, and a bucket for The Shepshed Diamondback, before we made our way to the car. Somehow we managed to endure the early morning ‘domestic’ which exploded in the back by cranking up the volume of some good old heavy metal tunes, and, as it turned out, the bucket wasn’t needed after all; so we could say that, in spite of the late night shenanigans which ended only a few hours earlier, the plan was coming together quite well. We arrived at our destination in good time and it wasn’t long before we were climbing our way into Markeaton Interceptor. Due respect to The Shepshed Diamondback who managed to get this far whilst in such a state, but he wasn’t quite so lucky once inside the overflow culvert. Despite his tentative steps, the slimy slope claimed its first victim and he went down harder than a sack of potatoes while yelling something about saving his camera. Ultimately, all I heard was a very loud BOOM echo throughout the tunnel. The slippery tunnel would later claim more victims, but somewhat ironically, only those who were stone sober! (The Stranton Express for instance who, all of a sudden, sounded like a derailed train). On the whole, however, despite the slick surface in certain areas, the Markeaton Interceptor is a fantastic example of late Victorian architecture and the overflow culvert stands, rather proudly, as an example of something that was built to last. It is only while you are stood inside the tunnel that you can really comprehend the sheer size of the place, and the effort that must have gone into building such a structure. Explored with KM_Punk, ACID-REFLUX, The (Still Pissed) Shepshed Diamondback, Miss Mayhem and Stranton. The 1932 Flood. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13:
  11. History “If you hear water coming, grab a chain and hope for the best†– Punk. After the Second World War, like most other major towns and cities across Britain, Leicester was widely redeveloped; these were partly reconstruction efforts, alongside the much wider movement to improve the country as a whole. As part of the rehousing initiative, many new affordable homes were built and the road systems in and around the city were improved. At the time, Thurmaston, where the culvert is located, was a small village located just outside Leicester. However, as the city has expanded radically, it is now considered to be an urban suburb area. By the late 1950s a new ring road was proposed for the Thurmaston area, to ease traffic congestion. But, during construction it was discovered that the area was at a high risk of being flooded. The area in the photograph displayed above, at the bottom of Melton Road, was often referred to as ‘the Leicester Lagoon’ or a Venetian suburb. Subsequently, a storm relief culvert was created beneath the new road, to take excess water from Melton Brook to the River Soar in Watermead Park. The culvert is based on a simple concrete design, because it had to be positioned in haste to avoid delays in the construction of the road. The entire tunnel runs for about 1.2 miles and had a diameter of approximately 2.2 metres. Despite the countermeasures against flooding back in the 50s, the area has still not fully escape the threat since a water main burst back in December 2012 and consequently a number of houses were affected. Our Version of Events We’d only been in Leicester a few hours and, after having been shown ‘The Golden Mile’, with its endless rows of jewellery shops and takeaways, we decided that it would be safer underground. Apparently there’s as much gold there as Fort Knox (I’m exaggerating, but there is an awful lot of gold lying around). Anyway, it’s an incredibly dodgy looking area with some even dodgier looking folk wandering around. It seems like the sort of place you can climb into a construction site, up a lamppost perhaps, or into an abandoned building and no one bats an eyelid; and we did indeed do all of these things to test this theory. Finding our way to the culvert wasn’t particularly difficult, and we didn’t have far to walk to reach the entrance; which is always a good thing whist rocking the waders. The actual entry was less alluring, however, since we had to navigate our way through a few nettles and brambles to reach the brook itself. Like warriors in waders (and wellies) though, we made it. Thereafter it was easy going, since all we had to do was follow the shallow brook up to the tunnel entrance. The evening that ensued was an entertaining one, as we tried a few different light art techniques we’ve never really bothered with before. Although, it wasn’t until afterwards that we realised how long this culvert actually is; all I can say is that it was an exceptionally long walk back to the car. It was the early hours of the morning when we finally arrived back at the UrbexLodge, ready for a 15 inch pizza and a bevvy or two. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Soul and KM_Punk. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14:
  12. History The River Sherbourne, whose name is said to have stemmed from the term ‘Scir Burna’ (meaning clear stream) in the Medieval Ages, flows through the centre of Coventry, England. Essentially, Coventry originated owing to its close proximity to the river, and it depended heavily on it for its continued survival; it was a vital source of food and, of course, water. Over the years a number of small villages and hamlets subsequently merged as industry grew. The river itself begins in the fields around Hawkes End, in the Parish of Allesley. From there it flows through Spoon End, and then directly into the city of Coventry. Although the river was open and visible before the Second World War, Coventry had to be rebuilt following the extensive damaged caused by the Luftwaffe between 1940 and 1941. The reconstruction of the city involved building 4,000 new residential homes and a new cathedral; in order to do this a large stretch of the River Sherbourne had to be culverted, to provide additional building space above ground. The culverting of the river, which runs for approximately 1.25 miles, was finally completed in the 1960s. More recently, however, plans to reopen the River Sherbourne have been revealed, in efforts to make the city appear more attractive: for some reason, unbeknown to myself, it would appear that there’s a widespread rumour that Coventry is a shithole and in desperate need of a facelift. Our Version of Events This was the first explore with a new crowd of people, and my first time in Coventry. In my opinion, it’s really not as bad as everyone makes out; the ice cream, for example, is apparently quite tasty. But, having said that, I guess I’ve seen more of Coventry’s underworld than its surface, so my opinion might not be the greatest to go by. Anyway, with that aside, we arrived in Coventry despite having got lost several times, and I managed to endure the wee domestic situation going on in the front of the car. Access was interesting without waders, and particularly brambly, but we cracked on and, after a bit of walking, we finally reached the entrance to the culvert. For the most part, the entire tunnel is long, and some might say rather samey; however, there are a few interesting features which stand out – especially when you reached the bricked sections. There are also a number of other pipes and tunnels leading into the culvert which, all in all, make the systems very large indeed. Explored with KM_Punk, Lost Explorer, Miss Mayhem, The Shepshed Diamondback and Stranton. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22: 23:
  13. My visit Got a tip off from a fellow 28DL forum member Northern Ninja, (unsure if they are on OS) and a lot of information regarding this little local explore right on my doorstep from him, so big thanks to him for that. Off I went to order some waders as at the end it was indeed waist deep as it flows in to a local fishing lake, They arrived and must say I was a bit dubious at first as to whether they would really keep water out but they actually really worked well, need to use them some more! Off I plodded down to the culvert, all kitted up in my waders, access is a doddle, I was in, pitch black inside for about 4 miles, so I had plenty of battery power for the torch, my £10 cree effort did "ok" but now I realise its time to grab a P7.2 and I used to laugh at the torch geeks Paul and Steve, never again! I was taking my time this first visit, I hadn't a clue what I was stepping into and really first venture into underground and culverts, would have been nice to see a bit more history, but the town is a relatively new town so a lot of concrete, but was still a blooming good explore, there was a few side tunnels that definitely need exploring and there was one part where there was a vertical pipe pouring out water and a very powerful side pipe, never realised just how powerful water could be gushing out at an pretty decent rate out some of these outlets. I was trying to get to the end the first time I visited, but I had been in there for a good few hours, mucking around trying to get half decent shots in complete darkness and with a pretty inadequate torch really for the job in hand, I decided to turn back because I didn't really want to pop up any drain covers to get out, wasn't sure where I was going to end up, so I walked back against the flow of the water, bloody good exercise I tell you that! I visited a second time and as had some half decent shots of most of the culvert, decided to power on walk straight to the end, and that's what I did, some more nice bits, and tunnels shapes, certainly more interesting than the square concrete culvert, saw light, the end was in sight, carried on walking there was a lot of silt or sand or whatever it might be under my feet, certainly got a sinking feeling, used my tripod to see just how deep things really were, as I was a bit concerned about the camera bag going under, luckily moving along at the end I felt concrete bottom, was waist deep and I am six foot, so I wouldn't recommend this for short arses at the end, the first half is fine in wellies (just about dependant on rainfall) Got to the end, as was greeted by the quacking of some ducks in the fishing lake peering at me through the locked gate, and must have wondered what the hell I was doing there Have to say where the water joined that lake I was standing still for a bit taking some photographs, and my word the water was cold, had to get moving again, wasit high in cold water, I thought that wasn't such a good idea, turned around and walked back, once back fully inside the culvert was a nice feeling, when hitting that relatively warm water again, but boy its not a short culvert and it certainly builds the muscles up on the legs. It was a cracking explore, great it was on my local doorstep, and a bit shout out to Northern Ninja for the heads up! Much appreciated mate and this now I think will be more new playground, might have to check out some of the side tunnels I think. Enough waffling and hope you enjoy the photographs, best I could do with a 8 year old camera and a £10 torch, but considering it was pitch black I don't think they are a bad effort Thanks for looking and I think I really have the underground bug now!
  14. The Culvert in Ebbw Vale is along the River Ebbw Fawr, a stretch of just over a mile of the river was culverted in 1937 to accommodate expansion of the steel works. The tunnel was originally a brick lined concrete arch for its entire length. In places it has raised walkways on either side, it is well documented that someone died in this Culvert from touching a live wire that some metal theives had cut some years ago. Pics Thanks for looking
  15. I can't find much information on these tunnels unfortunately, except a suggestion that they were built in the 1800s. The river is a winterbourne, so it is dry through the summer months and available to explore. This was my first underground explore, also my first solo explore. Thoroughly enjoyed myself, but the sound of approaching footsteps had me hurrying to get out...They weren't echoing footsteps either, as I wasn't moving at the time Thanks for looking, hope you enjoyed
  16. visited with alanmowbs82 and captain_kid this culvert runs for about a mile and half, it has three different build techniques, prefab concrete rings, round victorian and egg shaped, I'm assuming that the downstream half of the culvert was changed from victorian brick to the concrete to accept an overflow pit from the main sewer (pic 4&5), although the floor into the overflow chamber wasn't particularly slippery so i'm assuming it doesn't see that much use 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. cheers for looking
  17. Whilst chasing up a couple of leads i thought it would be rude not to stop and have a look at a couple of the many culverts this part of the world has to offer, plus it's been a good while since i did anything underground. With the recent rain there was quite a flow in parts, that plus the slippy floor meant an early bath, but minus the skin on my knuckles and with a fcuked ankle i plodded on....literally, and to my joy found it was a bit of an ankle breaker in parts. This culvert carried the Alden brook under Helmshore in Lancashire approx 500m and is a really nice old stone construction typical of this area with a few little modern touches thrown in, decent height to so no stooping which was nice. Upon entering the Infall you are greeted with approx 6ft stone archwork A little further brings you to a modern short corrugated prefab section. Then a section with reinforced arches. This then opens into stone and a couple of small weirs. There's a few twists and turns plus a few unexpected deep bits..... Before straightening out and leading to the outfall.... I didn't bother with the other section i was going to look at, this was enough hobbling for the day, i'll have to return at some point to check out some more around here. Cheers for looking.
  18. For the first time in a long while I was able to take my break in Manchester and as I was just on top of it I nipped down to Big Humpty and the Medlock Culvert. Big Humpty is a victorian brick culvert and to be honest that's pretty much all there is to it, the culvert section is relatively short but it's worth going through if you're heading to the Medlock culvert. Big Humpty Medlock Culvert
  19. It's been a scorcher of a day with temperatures reaching 30 C I was on my way back for a job in Luton and a combination of the heat and my sweat had my balls sticking in my inside leg, I needed to head underground where I could be cool for half an hour. I've been in the major drains around derpy all ready this year so decided to head down this one The culvert is mainly a corrugated construction which can't be very thick as I got a phone call half way in I believe the culvert was first explored by TheNewMendoza
  20. Okay!! As culverts go, it lame as shite, but its my first one and lets face it they can only get better!!! I didn't appreciate just how tricky it was to photograph in there, cold water up to my nuts, the fear of my camera going in and trying to walk on slippey crap and staying upright. The culvert goes pretty much underneath the beautiful church at Waltham Abbey

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