Wednesday, July 22, 2015

When workers first set
eyes on the previously forgotten tunnels beneath the White Cliffs of
Dover—dubbed the Fan Bay Deep Shelter—they were in for a historic
surprise. The location, which  opened back up yesterday for the first
time in 40 years, preserved artifacts and graffiti that had been left over
from the shelter's heyday during World War II. The passageways, which
only took 100 days to carve out, were used to camouflauge German shipping
activity within the area. The only thing older than the tunnels on-site are
two sound mirrors from World War I—concrete devices used to detect early
signs of approaching enemies. All together, the passageways take up 3,500
square feet, which were frequented by as many as 190 men in its prime. The
underground maze was put out of commision in the 1950s, but wasn't fully
abandoned—read: filled in with rubble and sand—until the 1970s. To get
the space ready for the public, more than 100 tons of debris was removed from
the site. It took 50 people (a mix of volunteers, mine consultants,
engineers, geologists, and archaelogists) 3,000 hours to ready the tunnels.
 The area will now host visitors daily until September 6th and then on
weekdays through the end of September. Erika Owen is the Audience
Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure.  Follow her on Twitter and
Instagram at @erikaraeowen.
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