Monday, February 26, 2007

The Six Mile Mine

The "six mile mine" is located beneath wasteland next to Honeysuckle Road in Ramsgate. It stretches quite a way beneath it, with the only accessible entrance at the time being from the garden of a house in Honeysuckle Rd. The owners kindly gave us permission to explore this system about 15 years ago.

Despite it's name, the tunnel system did not extend for six miles, it went for more like half a mile (as shown in the plan) before being blocked by a heavy roof fall. The original system apparently did extend beyond this, for a total of about six miles, as far as Margate. (Could this be the same system referred to in the 'Frank Illingworth's Puzzle Tunnel' post?)

It's original purpose is unknown - was it an old chalk mine? A folly? Used for smuggling? It's a mystery. It was however used as a shelter during both world wars.

Exploring this tunnel system was fascinating. It was about 6ft high in most places, but dropping to a crawl in other parts. There were many side tunnels leading off in different directions. If you had discovered it for the first time, without knowing how far it went, it could be very daunting, and one could easily become lost!

Inside was cool and dark, with regularly spaced alcoves in the chalk walls to hold candles.

I have no idea how much of this system still remains intact - there has been a lot of development work in the wasteland behind the Honeysuckle pub recently, with the construction of a new doctors surgery and car park. It would be nice to think that some of this secret history still remains beneath it!

The tunnel entrance!

Inside the mine

Showing a typical cross-section. Note the rather ornate candle recess to the left

Low section of tunnel

One of the areas of the tunnel where we were reduced to a crawl!

A small roof fall

Which was possible to clamber over and continue on our journey!

Roof fall blockage!

Unfortunately a heavy roof fall blocked our way into the rest of the system (the remaining 5 1/2 miles!?)

An old map from the nineteenth century, showing the surrounding area and location of the six mile mine. There were numerous chalk pits and limekilns in the area at the time


Thanks to my esteemed tunnelling colleague Paul for the pictures!

Labels: , , ,


Blogger Phil said...

I used to live at no. 4 Honeysuckle Road and discovered what I thought to be a "priest hole" under the inglenook fireplace on the wall adjacent to Honeysuckle Road. It was dug out of virgin chalk but strangely the road side was brick. I never did investigate further but we could hear activity in the cellar of The Honeysuckle Inn.

The Honeysuckle Inn also had a bricked up tunnel entrance in its cellar.

1:58 pm  
Anonymous Phil said...

I've just remembered that some cottages in Honeysuckle Road were once known as Lime Cottages. Chalk was used for Lime Mortar and was used for neutralising the acidity of soil for agricultural purposes. Maybe this was the origin of the caves.

10:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i know a way in to the network and my mate was looking for this last month,we walked through the wasteland and in the undergrowth there appeared to be a tunnel going down, i still have photos of it,i didnt go down into it tho.I didnt have a torch my email is, if you want some photos of it or information of were it is.

3:32 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home