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Friday, 20 February 2015

The Ramsgate Tunnels

The original railway tunnel, the opening on the left leads to the tunnels we visited.

A few weeks ago my friend Sheila and I managed to have a long overdue day out, we decided to go to Ramsgate, and parked on The Marina Esplanade. We realized that although it was only January, the RamsgateTunnels were open, with a tour starting very shortly, so we joined the group.

The first tunnel stretching off into the distance. This section is lit.

We were supplied with hard hats and tiny LED lanterns, and set off on a very interesting walk through the tunnels which run underneath the town.

Graffiti carved into the chalk.

A First Aid station.

The stairs you can see are another entrance into the tunnels.

The Tunnels were constructed in 1939 over a period of nine months,  which is amazing as the tunnels stretch for miles under the town. There was already an old Railway Tunnel in place, with the ‘new’ tunnels branching off from that. Initially there had been a lot of opposition to the plans, but eventually the tunnels were dug, with space to hold 60,000 people. There were entrances to the tunnels from various locations through the town, including the Hospital and a local School.

The unlit section of the tunnels, our guide very kindly shone his very powerful torch to allow me to get my photo Smile

A recently discovered blocked up doorway, behind the chalk is probably another tunnel, but further investigation is needed.

Blocked up with a brick wall, behind which is another entrance, with a key still in the gate!

The tunnels very quickly earned their keep, as Ramsgate was the first civilian town to be bombed in World War II, with over 500 bombs being dropped on the town on August 24th 1940. Many lives were saved because of the tunnels.

The only part of the tunnels lined with concrete, beyond that the tunnel is blocked by the only chalk fall in the complex.

Spooky dark tunnel…..

The same tunnel, once again lit for me by the lovely guide Smile

At one stage some people actually lived in the tunnels, probably because their homes had been destroyed.

The meeting of two of the tunnels.

I think this bike has been down here for very many years!

Back to the first tunnel, you can just see a bunk bed on the right hand side of the tunnel about half way along.

It is really amazing walking through the tunnels, part of which are lit, part of which are not, which is where the tiny lanterns come in to play. These tunnels are well worth a visit, so if you are ever in Ramsgate do put them on your ‘places to visit’ list.

A makeshift ‘camp’ maybe not very comfortable, but safe from the bombs above.

Out in the fresh air, a lovely but very cold day.

A ‘rainbow’ cloud spotted by Sheila on our way to the Belgian Cafe and lunch Smile

A lovely day out in January!!