The Tunnels

The Tunnels

The area around the tunnels is an opportunity to investigate the history of Ingleborough Hall and some of the extravagances of Victorian life between 1807 and 1845. The Farrer family made considerable changes to the northern part of Clapham village at this time. The area now occupied by the Hall was bought up in small amounts until the whole area could be changed. There had been a shooting lodge on the present site of the Hall and this was extended considerably to create the present building. The area between the Hall and the church was landscaped to provide an embankment, which would then provide some privacy within the grounds of the Hall from the prying eyes of passers-by who might use the old track from Clapham to Wharfe known as Thwaite Lane. This desire for privacy was probably the prime motive for the construction of the tunnels.

Two tunnels were constructed in order to lower Thwaite Lane beneath the route the Farrers would want to stroll along when visiting their ‘back garden’, an area encompassing all of the wooded area towards the Show Cave and Trow Gill. It was also at this time that the Farrers dammed the valley to form a lake as a landscape feature. Certainly the carriage ride from the Hall, along the top of the dam and through the woods to the entrance of Clapham Cave (now Ingleborough Show Cave) and on to the gorge of Trow Gill would have impressed many of the visitors to Ingleborough Hall.

The third tunnel is probably even more bizarre and fascinating. It was used as a service entrance to the Hall for deliveries and servants arriving for work. The entrance from Thwaite Lane was blocked in the early seventies but access is still available for groups staying at the Centre. The tunnel travels underground and enters the back courtyard of the Hall near the kitchen area. The end nearest the Hall is now used as a kit cleaning area but just beyond this the tunnel is about 80 metres long with three skylights showing the way forward.

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