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Thread: Cann Tunnel, Plymouth - March '09

  1. #1
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    Default Cann Tunnel, Plymouth - March '09


    Cann Tunnel, also known as Leigham Tunnel by some local folk, was part of the Plymouth & Dartmoor Railway section between Crabtree & Roborough. It was built in the 1820's, by sinking a shaft which was then worked outwards. It was one of the first railway tunnels in England, & certainly the first in Plymouth.
    The railway was the brainchild of Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt, who was also responsible for the earlier construction of Princetown & Dartmoor Prison, & its purpose was to to carry granite from the Dartmoor quarries, peat & local produce from farms into Plymouth.It was known as "The Dartmoor Gauge" due it's unusual dimensions being 4' 6" & wagons were horse drawn, not by locomotive. All of the track were removed in 1916, bar the section between Crabtree & Sutton Harbour in Plymouth, which was retained as part of the Lee Moor Tramway.

    The tunnel itself is 620 yards in length & was adapted during WW2 as a deep shelter for the workers of Devonport Dockyard complete with a bus stop outside one entrance to transport workers into the dockyard, also containing bays for an underground hospital, should the Blitz on Plymouth get so bad. This would have accommodated up to 3000 people. After the war it was used by the Royal Navy for depth charges. In the 1950's it was noted as part of a Central Register of Underground Accommodation. Later on, in the 70's or 80's, a small section at one end of the tunnel was used as a garage by a local who has since relocated. This probably explains the remains of car parts which exist in there today.

    I first visited this tunnel early 2007 & since then others from this site, along with some who don't frequent forums, have documented it's existence, after which it was sealed up once again....until....a cold morning in early March walking the pooch, i'd realised that some cheeky chav had "opened sesame" once again. After a couple of calls another visit was made along with theterrorwheel, Chase779 & Dreamweaver.



    Remnants of the the trackbed leading to the tunnel


    Entrance to the tunnel


    Closer view of the NE tunnel entrance




    Interior view of the above entrance in complete darkness


    Another view with the lights on


    View with back to the entrance, stood in the section which was once used as a garage


    The remains of a car


    Inside the next section of tunnel, looking back towards the entrance


    This image shows the original roof of the tunnel along with the later additions




    Ladders lead to escape hatches & small service tunnels






    This service tunnel...


    ...leads to this on the surface & possibly the central shaft, where the construction of the tunnel began


    One of the sick bays from the WW2 era


    Shot from the the waterlogged end, 8" deep in places


    Some of the later more interesting grafitti...this from explorers from Crownhill Fire Station, early 90's


    This from local historian Steve Johnson (Cyberheritage)


    Finally, some life in the tunnel...there was lots of these beauties!


    I had a pretty terrible time with the camera, so hopefully some of the other guys shots came out better. I look forward to seeing them. :)

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  3. #2
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    nice one m8,
    Kernow Expeditionary Force

  4. #3
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    lovely detailed report, and a very interesting site to ( so much history!), doesnt seem to have suffered to bad over the years.

    thanks

  5. #4
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    Excellent site and history, Badoosh. Interesting stuff. :)
    "...If we lose our spiritual bond with the land they'll be nothing left of us as a nation..." Phil Rickman.

    I can't read and I can't write, but that don't really matter,
    I come from the west country and I can drive a tractor.


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  6. #5
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    you have managed to get a very good selection of pics posted badoosh, but they still dont give a clue of the cann tunnel back ache you get from being in this location, i cant really add much to this report but here is some pics anyway..












    service tunnel

    badooshs photo number



  7. #6
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    Excellent shots there guys, I can certainly imagine what type of backache you had. I certainly would not fancy that at all. The stalactite shots were mesmerising. Well done Guys!:)
    And a dreadful thing from the cliff did spring. And its wild bark thrilled around. His eyes had the glow of the fires below. Twas the form of the Spectre Hound. 'Ha' yer fa'r got a dickey, bor?' 'Yis, an' he want a fule ter roide 'im, will yew cum?'

  8. #7
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    Bloody brilliant!! I`m hooked;);););)

  9. #8
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  10. #9
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    I used to live in one of the flats just to the left of the path in picture one, I think the tunnel entrance was only about 50 yards from the end of my garden - had no interest in it when I lived there.....s*ds law again!!!!

  11. #10
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    Nice find there matey, great photos and writeup too, nice to see, thanks.

    Oh and the guy in the 3rd pic of theterrorwheels set needs a haircut :p
    >>> Moles Wight Exploration <<<
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DerelictPlaces is a forum for people with an interest in the history and documentation of disused, derelict and abandoned buildings to come together and share their experiences, photography and historical findings. Our military, industrial and historical heritage is fast disappearing under the pressure of regeneration, the need for new housing, and often through simple neglect; Our aim is to document these places before they disappear entirely.
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