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Esplanade tunnels, Dover - Oct 2010

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This elusive set of tunnels has been evading me ever since I started getting into this hobby about 3 years ago. I've seen pictures, I've missed out on opportunities to see them on more than one ocassion, and for at least the last 2 years I've been religiously checking and trying to find access into them. I'd almost given up, until a message from a certain person on Monday night changed all that!

Now for those outside of Kent, you might be wondering what all the fuss it about, after all to most it just looks like "another chalk tunnel" but this is something else entirely. Essentially Esplanade level is 3 seperate smaller tunnel systems linked by a long tunnel known as the guilford tunnel - this interlinking tunnel is 1600ft long and stretches for a fair distance along the inside of the famous cliffs.

The 3 sections of esplanade are known as the Trevanion caves, Chapel caves and Athol caves and they are all a bit different to each other, having been constructed at different times and used for different purposes. You can only get to 2 of the sections as the Chapel caves were sealed off from the Guilford tunnel at some point in the past.

Here's a plan fron English Heritage showing how far the tunnels extend inside the cliffs.


First, we went to the far end and had a nose at the Trevanion caves end of the tunnels. This was used as coal storage by the Dover gas company until the 1930's and as a result the chalk is quite black due to dust from the coal. Some areas of this are pretty large.

Stairway at the end of the guilford tunnel which leads down into the Trevanion caves area.





3. Some sections of it are lined






6. Lots of old tin bits and pieces all shoved in this alcove - there was quite a lot of bits like this, almost all of it is rusted to within an inch of its life.




Next the Guilford tunnel its self. This is a different thing to the more commonly known about guilford shaft which lies in the cliffline above esplanade level, but does not link with it. It is basically a long tunnel, not that interesting except it's had some serious support work done at some point in its history.





10. As you can see it's very long, and pretty straight. I walked about 1/4 of the way down in this shot, and pointed my torch back at the camera.


Then the Athol caves end of the complex, this is quite different to the other end, most of it is lined and it is more intricate with smaller tunnels and lots of junctions. I'm not sure what this was origenally used for.





13. Yes the stacked up wood is actually holding up the roof.


14. Image-3084.jpg



I now fully appreciate why a lot of people regard this as the best tunnel system in Dover, because it really is fantastic. It might only be another set of chalk tunnels, but it's all in great condition and different to a lot of the other tunnels in and around dover.

Thanks for looking,


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Nice right up mike..should have done similar myself ..but you know me 6.10 in the morning when i got in so the right up wis minimal glad u got in there ...fun entry wasnt it!

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Nice right up mike..should have done similar myself ..but you know me 6.10 in the morning when i got in so the right up wis minimal good luck on getting in there ...fun entry wasnt it!

It wasn't too bad for me, but I'm a skinny little f**ker.

Cheers for the comments :)

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glad we got to see this one. was a good night and cheers to frosty. well done to the three of a for finding a way in. This is a very nice report maniac, i enjoyed reading it and the pictures compliment it well .Good effort dude. And you know me, there mite be a report from me pop up sometime next year hahaha. Still got so much to post. Aint even posted harold wood yet and have you noticed that since we went there have been no reports? Anyway im wondering off...good report and photos dude :cool2:

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Nice right up mike..should have done similar myself ..but you know me 6.10 in the morning when i got in so the right up wis minimal good luck on getting in there ...fun entry wasnt it!

It wasn't too bad for me, but I'm a skinny little f**ker.

Cheers for the comments :)

skinny you noooo..slim and toned knox likes to call it lol

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Brilliant write up and generally a very enjoyable report. Although im really really jealous.

Get your arse down here and I'll show it to you! :)

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Brilliant write up and generally a very enjoyable report. Although im really really jealous.

Get your arse down here and I'll show it to you! :)

id like to go again mind u maniac uncle b is hoping he can squeeze in ill let u know v.soon:) if he does or not

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Yes, I did see the shield, but I didn't photograph it - remembered about it on our way out and couldn't be bothered to go back. It is a top quality engraving thou.

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"id like to go again mind u maniac uncle b is hoping he can squeeze in ill let u know v.soon:) if he does or not"

Well if you can't get back in you'll know who to blame! :lol:

I'm glad you got to see the place Maniac, Nice pics too. Did you see the shield engraving?

ill know who too blame oooh matey was that a subtle dig lol..mate its been in pretty much that condition for about 10 months id of thought you may have checked and seen this and gone in again sooner!Didnt mean to do it before some of the others (but cant see why i shouldnt have)but an oppurtunity is there to be taken! ;)

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It's been like that for pretty much two years, not 10 months. The squatters in the boat shed next door have been making the hole bigger and bigger and slowly making the place more accessable. We were just sitting back waiting. I wasn't being subtle either. It's been sealed now and it's because of you.

so why have you guys waited..ive only been aware of it ,being told that it was like that when my friends checked it about 10 months ago!its easy enuff to get in so why exactly did you "guys"wait..i went in and did it yes ive upset people..why sit and moan now its been sealed when youve had knowledge of it being doable for so long..have i beaten certain gents to it who arent able to squeeze thru the gap..sealed you say ,no doubt as with every tunnel other ways will be available i didnt realise i had to ask permission before going in..all this will boil down to me posting..yes hasty ..but i have ..my bad!28dl put in in private as i asked in pm to mod..but not before i got slated by your friend from tuesday night when you went for a look!and yes the other forum i posted in aswell as here im sorry but i enjoy researching ,getting in and stupidly enuff being full of enthusiasm for my hobbies posting !maniac remove all this gumpf if u want seems im not complying to "their" rules so its allways my fault..personally get in there and do it if its been like that 2 years and stop bitching youve been sitting back waiting i squeezed in and did what i wanted as did the other two with me and indeed maniac and obs !

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can you keep any hostilities off the forum please. :)

At the end of the day what's done is done, sooner or later someone was going to have a proper go at that place. If it wasn't wevsky, it may well have been me, or at least 2 other people I know of who were dead keen on getting in there. I think you'll find a majority of the damage to that door over the last few months/years is more down to explorers than crack heads - there's an awful lot more people interested in that place than you think.

None of us on here own the place, so if one particular person or group of people takes it upon themselves to gain access then so be it, and there's nothing that me you or anyone else can do to stop people from doing that. On the other hand, if you are going to do that sort of thing, then plastering it all over the internet in public is possibly not the most tacful thing you could do.

The end, we'll have no more of it on the forum please.


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yes mike understood and noted for these delicate sites in future ill curb my enthusiasm..just dont like being told what to do by people as im not fitting into their plans,as you say we dont own them its fair game, nuff said young man and ill post main streamstuff public and if im not able to post in private on other forums i wont post atal or leave for a "sensible "period of time..!

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Fair enough mike.

Edited: un-necessary provocative comment - please keep it civil.

I bet you laughed though!

I don't know why I'm moaning really. I've been in their loads of time. I supose I'm thinking of the others who haven't been in yet. When you get to my age we (or some of us) have a lot of patience. That's why we were sitting back watching the entrance being slowly destroyed...Let the chavs to the hard work, then just follow them in.

I won't mention the place again. :beer2:

2 out of focus pics where id been awake all night didnt spot them as i put them in from photobucket..i did let the chavs do the hard work and indeed followed them in..im not exactly young my self unfairytale ..just still full of energy!and what he said i wont mention either.and mike sorry for hijacking your post when mines just above it!

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but i enjoy researching ,getting in and stupidly enuff being full of enthusiasm for my hobbies posting

I'd love to see that research Wevsky - I am sure it's taken at least an hour to compile?

For me its nothing to do with who gets in first - its about having the decency and common sense to think that maybe others would like to have a look when the times right, instead of posting on 3 forums publicly as soon as you explore it. I'm glad you have been able to tick it off your list. Sadly I, like others, had been waiting quite a few months to tick it off mine, and it seems I'll be waiting a lot longer than anticipated now.

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