Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset

April 1, 2005
Secret tunnel uncovered under Burnham by builders

Surprised builders in Burnham-On-Sea have stumbled across a secret tunnel running underneath the town which could be a major historical find.

The half mile long tunnel - which was accidentally uncovered during construction work near the seafront last weekend - runs from near St Andrew's Church to the Somerset and Dorset pub at the other end of town, although some believe it could run for miles inland.

A historian at Bristol University, Paril Olof, who studies local history in Somerset, said: "This is quite an unbelievable find - a real historical gem. I'm sure we'll be exploring it further in coming days."

It is believed the tunnel, which has not yet been fully explored, could have been used by smugglers during the 18th and 19th centuries. Narrow metal tracks for a train or pulley system were found in the tunnel, as pictured above.

The tunnel is currently locked and closed to the public but could be opened later in the year.

Were you fooled by our April Fool's Day story above?

Yes - our story below was an April Fool's Day hoax, published on Friday April 1st 2005. Clearly, some of you were taken in by the article and hadn't spotted the date, while others were on the ball and realised we were having a bit of fun.

Several visitors suggested new uses for the tunnel...

Turning it into an underground car park to solve Burnham's parking problems!

Extending it underneath the Bristol Channel all the way to Wales and opening up a third Severn crossing!

Turning it into a giant underground Tesco supermarket to avoid Burnham's existing store being expanded!

Using the tunnel to lock away 'boy racers' in the town!

Well done to those of you who spotted the hidden April 1st reference in the story; the name 'Paril Olof' in the quote is an anagram of the words 'April' and 'Fool'!

Have your say about this story in our discussion forum





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