Monday, 14 May 2012

Western Heights, Dover, May 2012

This was a learning experience, this one. We were quite excited (well, I was, anyway) about our first visit to explore Dover, given its status as a gold mine for urbex sites. We rocked up at Western Heights with about three hours to work our way around before we had to head off to catch Nathan in Canterbury. It took me a while to realise what settings I was shooting in too (the wrong ones) before I changed them.

We pondered how to cross for a while, then gave up.


The North Entrance and the second bridge
 At this point it was starting to look unlikely that we would make it in to the North Entrance, so we went off in search of other ways in. Any hole would do, if you'll pardon the expression.

This small staircase would take you up to the raised land between the two bridges if it had all of its stairs.

From here we followed the ditch around, and things didn't look great. After climbing a wall and then inspecting a dead end for a while, it looked like it was game over. Then came a stroke of luck. Someone walking towards us. I said hello, and asked if he knew any ways in. He did, and had his girlfriend checking on their usual entrance. We followed him around, and it was sealed.

From here we teamed up. It turned out that they were locals, and when they recognised my Network shirt, revealed they had Scouting connections too. We were in good company.

After a bit more of a walk, a search and a climb, we found an entrance! I assumed that it was to the Detached Bastion, but couldn't be entirely sure as I'd got a little disorientated, which is pretty rare for me (sober). 

The four of us got in and made our way down the tunnel to find a spiral staircase. Down went nowhere, whereas on the way up each step was covered in slime and mud. Being the only one with a torch, I bravely led my team up the treacherous traverse, only to be greeted by the stairway finishing after about two spirals. The metal hatch above my head didn't want to budge, so back down we went. Nice muddy arse!

You can just about make out the spine of the spiral staircase here.
I have since been reliably informed that this was the North Lines Sally Port Tunnel, which is allegedly the shortest tunnel in Dover! After leaving and making our way back to the North Entrance for our local guides to check it, we decided to head over to the Drop Redoubt.

Nipping via the car (and not having to run back for the tripod this time) we made our over to this lovely structure. Unfortunately, like the rest of the area, it was pretty well sealed, with the only potential access being a bit out of our reach. 

All hope was not lost though, and we were shown down to some short tunnels right on the cliff front where I got these shots.

This tunnel led us up to a pillbox where we chilled out for a while, taking some landscape shots. 

Unfortunately time had caught up with us, and we needed to leave. On the way back to the car, our guides quickly showed us two other entry points that they thought would interest us, one of which was definitely open, which promises good things for the future. 

Whilst not exactly 100% successful, our first Dover run was informative, we met a lovely couple, secured some access points for next time, and still came away with decent enough shots. And we made Nathan's gig on time, despite my somewhat flawed plan for attacking Canterbury at rush hour.

1 comment:

  1. North lines sally port..oh happy memories of a nigh time mission to find that entrance from above to the staircase,then the next night finding it from the moat to be greeted with ,well that tunnel..happy days