“The tunnel that has been exposed is the tunnel for the mineral line that ran from Hednesford siding on the Cannock -Rugeley line up Green Heath Common (now Pye Green Valley) and was built by the West Cannock Colliery Company Ltd in 1871 to get their coals from No.1 & 4 plants at the top of the common (below Pye Green Valley school) were the new road ends and No.3 plant on the opposite side of Belt Rd to the Bridge Inn hence the name down onto the main line.” Alan Dean, Chairman of the Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society
Chasewater was created as a canal feeder reservoir in the eighteenth century and remains the largest in use in the region today. It was shaped over future years by coal mining and subsequent reclamation schemes in the 1970s, which reshaped the landscape and has since then become a county park. This is one of the main drainage tunnels running under the canal and part of the nearby M6 toll road, on a warm sunday afternoon we set off for a look around.
Farleigh Down is a tunnel connecting the Monkton Farleigh ammunition depot with the main line railway at Ashley. The tunnel is over a mile long and straight. A conveyor belt was used to move the ammunition underground between the top of the hill and the main line. The tunnel is so shallow in some places that it can be seen from across the valley as a strip of dry uncultivated grass. As part of the war effort a large stone quarry in Monkton Farleigh was converted in to an ammunition depot, the depot was situated under a hill top, a mile away and 450 feet above the old quarry stone yard sidings on main GWR line at Ashley, this was the main source of the ammunition. Sidings existed on the site since 1881 when a tramway from the quarry brought stone down the hill for shipment on the GWR. Alternative means of transporting the ammunition was required due to poor road access, this was because by road it was a 4 mile journey through winding lanes between the depot and the sidings. In November 1937 a 300 meter long platform was constructed complete with a narrow gauge tracks to carry the ammunition wagons. Plans to lay a tunnel in to the depot were laid down however the depot needed to be brought in to use so in the meantime work started on a 1.8km long aerial ropeway which carried the ammunition from to a from the sidings up the hill [...]