Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Winchelsea Caves - Dover - July 2018

  1. #1
    Join Date
    December 2014

    Default Winchelsea Caves - Dover - July 2018

    The trawl uphill and downhill in the midday heat was worth it once we finally found the tunnel entrance. Interesting and different to the other tunnels we had seen in the area.


    Also known as the Winchelsea to Priory Hill caves shelters, this series of tunnels were used as a shelter for 1350 people in the Second World War.

    There was hot and cold running water and flush toilets, and an above ground Decontamination Centre and First Aid Post with four rooms accessed via air locks and with gas curtain separation from one another. The tunnels themselves had “an overhead cover ranging from 25 to 90 feet” and were adapted and extended after the Munich crisis

    The main tunnels were bored near the end of the First World War to test a rotary cutting machine, possibly a Whittaker machine, that could be used to drive tunnels on the Western Front. The advantage of cutting a test tunnel at Dover was to allow it to be also used as a “dug out”, as air raid shelters were often called at the time, to protect citizens from Zeppelin and Gotha bomber attacks. The tunnels at the time may have been called Priory Gallery. A 1923 newspaper recalled that "...the R.E. Tunnelling Company made a series of experimental tunnels between the chalk pit in Folkestone Road and the chalk pit at Tower Hamlets, which were intended for use as an air raid shelter, but were never actually used, as by the time it was finished in 1918 the raids had ceased."

    The quarry entrances are now used as storage for the company that owns the quarry site.

    The Explore

    Despite having a very accurate location for the entrance, we had real trouble finding it. The midday heat and steep hills didn't help matters, but we eventually found quite an easy way inside after a lot of searching through tall undergrowth.

    The Tunnels are constructed very differently to over Wartime tunnels, in that they were mostly bored out of the rock, rather than dug and supported with beams.
    We didn't realise that the other side was open and used by the nearby quarry, so we had to be a little careful not to make too much noise, as sound echo'd down the tunnels with ease. Turned out to be worth the effort of finding it, something different and interesting.


  2. Thanks given by: ajarb, etc100, fluffy5518, HughieD, krela, Mearing, noiseboy72, oldscrote, paul.richards.up, psykie, RedX_unleashed, Rubex, theartist, Tigershark, WhiteStag13
  4. #2
    Join Date
    December 2008


    Mate, Shot one is as sweet as ....... !!
    Did this back in Feb this year but took the easy way in via the recycling centre. Me n Mrs F wore hi-vis vests, sturdy boots and hard hats, walked straight in and told the guys on duty that we were doing a survey of the old tunnels and would they mind if we entered from their site !! They were very obliging (and I'm sure they knew we were just exploring) so on the way out we dropped them a tenner !!
    Must admit I was a little bit disappointed with the tunnels as I thought they were bigger than they turned out to be !!

  5. Thanks given by: HughieD
  6. #3
    Join Date
    January 2013
    People's Republic of South Yorkshire.

  7. #4
    Join Date
    September 2005
    Bristol, UK.


    Small but sweet. Thanks Grom.

  8. #5
    Join Date
    June 2014


    Thats nice, strange to see so many different types of construction in one tunnel!

  9. #6
    Join Date
    September 2015


    That was such a fun day out! I think we were all close to loosing our minds with the heat by this point! Such a pain in the ass to find this one hahaha! You pics came out great, we need to organise another day in Dover soon!

Similar Threads

  1. Winchelsea air raid shelter Dover - August 2016
    By Newage in forum Military Sites
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 15th Aug 16, 16:19
  2. Scott's Caves + Small Shaft - July 2015
    By SlimJim in forum Underground Sites
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 18th Jul 15, 19:53
  3. Champagne/Oil Caves- Dover - Dec 11
    By tank2020 in forum Underground Sites
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 7th Jan 12, 22:54
  4. Caves, Western Heights, Dover, Feb 2011
    By tank2020 in forum Underground Sites
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 1st Mar 11, 09:37
  5. Dover-Detached bastion,napoleonic caves-April 08
    By tucker in forum Underground Sites
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 24th Apr 08, 15:11

About us
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.
Follow us