Site Name: Monkton Farleigh Ammunition Depot - Farleigh Down Tunnel
Sub Brit site October 1985, March 1988 & February 2005
Great vigilance was required to ensure that correct spacing of the shells or boxes was maintained in order to prevent congestion at the top of the tunnel where the ammunition was transferred to the much slower belts in Main West corridor. Men were stationed at intervals along the conveyor charged with the unutterably boring task of keeping watch over the thousands of ammunition boxes as they trundled past -in the cold miserable gloom, checking that none slipped off or jammed.
Following the installation of conveyors in Main West a signal-box was built at the junction of Main West and the tunnel to control all the main haulage conveyors and the two tunnel belts.
Conveyors still in place in the tunnel in February 2004
Photo by Nick Catford
When the tunnel was brought into use the aerial ropeway link to No.20 District was maintained intact as a standby in case of a failure of the tunnel belt. It was used for a while in January, 1944, following a breakdown of the Farleigh Down tram-creeper. Later, approaching D-day, the tunnel belt and overhead rope were used simultaneously for the enormous issues of ammunition required for the invasion of Europe.
On closure of the depot the sidings at Farleigh Down became overgrown
and derelict but the site was cleared in the mid 1980's when the depot
was opened up as a museum. .
Much of the depot has now been sold to Wansdyke Security for secure storage and they have securely sealed the top end of the tunnel close to its junction with the Main West gallery.
Plan of the underground sorting yard
Drawn by Nick Catford
At present the northern end of the tunnel at Farleigh Down remains open and accessible but the landowner has indicated that it will be securely sealed in the near future. Some sections of the two conveyors are still in place along the mile-and-a-quarter long tunnel but the underground sorting yard and adjacent offices have been completely stripped and the walls are now covered in colorful graffiti.
Photo:Looking up the slope shaft towards the transit shed in February 2004
Photo by Nick Catford
The travelers in the sidings above have gone but they have left plenty of rubbish and old vehicles which are strewn around the site. The thousand foot long loading platform has been demolished but many of the concrete supports for the wooden platform remain on site heaped together in several piles. The slope shaft and the tram creeper-retarder and transit shed are largely intact. The mechanism can be accessed from a short vertical ladder at the remaining stub end of the loading platform.
A number of other buildings still survive within the sidings complex including three pillboxes, three static water tanks and a surface air raid shelter.
For further pictures of Farleigh Down Tunnel click here