|Lydden Tunnel, between Shepherds Well and Dover, demonstrates
features of typical tunnel construction in the nineteenth century. It is on the
London Chatham & Dover Railway's line from Canterbury to Dover which
opened in 1861. It takes the railway under the North Downs and at 1 mile 609
yards is one of the longest in southern England.
The brick portals are quite plain, but have two string courses. The north portal has had extensive repairs using non-matching bricks.
In common with many other long tunnels, construction shafts were sunk, so that work could proceed at more than two faces. Once the tunnel was completed, the shafts were often retained to provide ventilation, but sometimes they were closed off.
Lydden Tunnel has two shafts, so that excavation could proceed at six faces. High brick enclosures prevent people falling down the shafts. These are usually plain, but those at Lydden have recessed panels. Metal grills prevent objects being thrown down the shafts. The north shaft projects above a mound of spoil. The quantity of spoil produced from a long tunnel and the cuttings at its end often exceeded what was required in the area for embankments or it was unsuitable. Quite often spoil heaps will be found over or near tunnels.
There is a large heap of excavated chalk over the south end of Lydden Tunnel. Spoil heaps are sometimes found alongside cuttings. A significant amount of spoil is deposited along the top of the cutting at Deepcut, east of Farnborough.
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This page was created 21 January 2010