Fan Bay has been done to death really, I missed my chance to have a crack at it with a few other explorers in August due to being atrociously hungover, and had been putting it off for some time. Well it turned out that today was the day that I lost my deep shelter virginity.
Some history from underground dover (John Vaughn's site, quite handy really)
This shelter is at the site of Fan Bay Battery, a WWII site originally comprising 3 x 6" guns with associated magazines, shelters, plotting room, administration and accommodation areas. Today only traces of the gun pits can be discerned among the undergrowth, and all surface buildings have been demolished. However there are still extensive underground remains at this site, the largest being the deep shelter, constructed in 1941 by No.172 Tunnelling Coy., Royal Engineers, which can still be accessed via a hole in the ground where the upper entrance once stood. Completed on the 28th August 1941, it was designed to accommodate 4 officers and 185 other ranks.
All of the stores, weapons and associated metal was removed during the mid 50’s by Bird’s Commercial Motors Ltd.
So after yet another cycle ride up yet more big hills, I eventually arrived at my destination and locked my bike up, and made my way to Fan Bay. What was a hideously foggy and dull day in Ashford turned out to be a gloriously beautiful day at the coast, which suited the scenic location of the former battery. I had a rough idea where the entrance was, but found an entrance to one of the underground magazines first.
As I took my second photo of the ammo holders I spotted that my camera battery was about to die. Wasn't the first time that I'd made this n00b mistake, so stopped the photos of the magazine so I'd hopefully have enough juice for the shelter.
After making my way out of the magazine, I began my search for the deep shelter entrance. Two minutes later it finished. I've seen a few comments around saying that people can't find it - do some research people! Anyway, I knew I was going to be having an interesting journey down to the deep shelter as the first set of stairs is missing, with mud in place instead. What a brilliant choice of mine, to tackle this shelter after a week of wet and miserable weather. So I started lowering myself in, and realised it was going to be more slippery than I imagined. Had a little panic when one boot completely slipped, but caught myself, then made it down eventually.
Clearly it was all worth it.
It was nice being in somewhere that I'd seen so many reports on, I almost felt at times when I lined up a few shots like I was covering someone else's song
The infamous staircase of signatures there, made for a nice read, quite liked the one on the next staircase up that read 'Thanks for visiting', then the step above 'We hope you enjoyed your stay'. I managed to snag myself the very bottom step after I finished the explore. I did think to myself as I walked around that there was a lot of chalk graffiti, and I couldn't believe that so many people had brought along chalk when they visited. Then I realised where I was! Did have a chuckle about that.
There are a fair few original fittings, light switches and random big boxes around the shelter, the air vent in the first main corridor has collapsed away from the roof, however.
There's a whole section of the shelter that wasn't properly completed, and the metal fittings to put up are still there. Photos didn't go as planned of the unlined section, however. Apologies for the focus on this one.
And lighting on this one.
That one was better though.
That pretty much concluded my visit to Fan Bay, just one more cheeky snap and I was on my way out, which I found a lot easier than the way in, and on my way over to South Forelands...
Thanks for reading.