It is believed that the two tunnels remaining today were actually two entrance-ways into an enormous shelter capable of holding hundreds of people. It may have been built to accommodate the workers of the nearby Alpha cement works opposite the road. Each tunnel was s-shaped with two toilet cubicle sections at either end. One end held the entrance with an air-lock door, the other an emergency exit. It is thought the shelter they connect to is filled in or demolished.
What are the tunnels like today?
Following an English Heritage archeological survey and a few brief mentions online, we managed to track down a set of air-raid shelters built during the Second World War down Salt Lane near Cliffe ponds. Thinking we’d have trouble locating the shelters; supposedly hidden in an overgrown area, we luckily spotted the two entrances peeping out of the hedgerow on a roadside corner whilst driving by. Both chambers had a divided toilet area adjacent to the entrance, and turned two corners in an ‘s-shape’. You could see marks on the walls low down where timber seating for the refugees would’ve been. The end of both shelters was broken and blocked with infilled earth – supposedly done purposefully. The right-hand shelter was considerably cleaner than the other; with a distinct lack of graffiti, burn marks, and cave spiders compared to the other!