Experts Descended Into Britain’s Coastal Cliffs, And Found Eerie Tunnels Full Of WWII Relics

Step by step, a group descends into the pitch black of a narrow subterranean tunnel, the walls sweating. Reeking of old creosote and wet earth, the air is dank and sticky. But the adventurers finally arrive at their destination, more than 100 steps into the Earth. A year and a half of hard work has paid off. And after committing some 3,000 hours to excavate a long-abandoned World War II tunnel network, 50 volunteers and experts get to explore it in full…

Sprawling under the ground

The Fan Bay Deep Shelter lies some 75 feet beneath the ground. Held in place by metal supports, its warren of tunnels spans an area of 3,500 square feet. The shelter is located in Southeast England deep within the so-called White Cliffs of Dover – a line of high chalk cliffs that overlook the English Channel.

Not for the faint of heart

But according to the National Trust – the esteemed heritage charity that manages the site – the tunnels aren’t for the faint of heart. Speaking to the British newspaper The Guardian in 2015, one of its representatives described the shelter as “a dark, dirty and wet environment… not suitable for those who are claustrophobic or unsteady.” One also needs to be in “good health” to complete the descent.

To defend against invasion

As tour guide Gordon Wise explained to the Australian channel ABC News in 2015, the shelter was strategically positioned to defend against an invasion. “You can actually see France, 34 kilometers away, just 70 seconds’ flying time for a shell,” he explained. “You get some idea that this was really the frontline. This was where the defense of Britain had to start.”

An eerie scene

Today, the tunnels offer an unnerving snapshot of daily life in a World War II bunker. The eerie subterranean complex is punctuated by spooky relics that hint at the routine dread endured by the soldiers stationed there. After all, the Germans were fully intent on conquering the United Kingdom, just as they had numerous other nations in Africa and Europe.