Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Mysterious tunnel at Great Linford

There's a curious brass plate set into the path by the offside visitor moorings at Great Linford. It's not very big and so is easy to miss.

It reads: "Crown of tunnel 4.760 metres below water level - May 1975".

Er... what tunnel? Looking at the OS map gives no clue. Perhaps there's a culvert down there.

Oh look, this is slightly easier to read.

The plate is just visible on the extreme left centre of this photo of Jubilee.

And to locate this more, the Nag's Head pub is just across the grass down from the mooring.


Anonymous said...

You're hot on our heels then - we left there yesterday

Jill, Matilda Rose said...

I don't know why that came up as anonymous, Jill Matilda Rose

Davidss said...

I've used Google, Google Maps, and Old-maps.co.uk to show your location, and its environs.
Google places the Nags Head at 30 High Street. Google Maps shows the visitors moorings by 'a lot of boats'.
Old-maps.co.uk (Great Linford Pre-WWII 1:2,500 maps) highlights 'water features' between the canal and the High Street, with another water feature on the other side of the canal, between it and the railway.
From their regular outlines, these water features appear to be man-made. I also note the presence of a spring just to the South of the circular water feature.
Google Maps aerial view shows these water features still exist, although the outlines are disguised by trees.
Could the tunnel be a link between these three water features? You will be better able than me to associate the sign plates with the water features on Google Maps.
It would be useful if you could pinpoint the plates on Google Maps.
Perhaps a 'transferable skill' that can be used on future enquiries? :-)


Davidss said...

I should have included a short url to the Google Maps view showing the water features (and I hope, 'your location and its environs').
http://goo.gl/maps/TUIdA is that link.

Coordinates 485130 and 242424 can be used in http://www.old-maps.co.uk/maps.html to show the same area.

K1 said...

I assume the plaque can't be very old if it is in metres?

Halfie said...

Jill, I should have made it clearer - we were there in February when I took the photos.

Davidss, looking at the satellite view you sent me, the plaque is just to the left of the blue boat at the end of the path through The Wilderness. I'll have a look at the "old maps" coordinates later. When I've worked out how to move the pin on Google Maps I'll be able to include this in future posts of this type - thanks for the suggestion. Oh, and I think you must be right - I saw the water below the level of the canal when I was there, but could see no sign of a tunnel or culvert.

K1, the clue is in the date on the plaque - have another look!

Davidss said...

"When I've worked out how to move the pin on Google Maps".
I realised it was a skill I also did not have, but that might prove useful.

I found a couple of online videos, but having just created my first 'indicator' there are a couple of additions.
1. You need to have a Google Account of some sort, because what you are creating is a personal entry in 'Your Places', then sharing it. With each entry you choose whether to make it available for the whole world to find, or just share it with those you give the url to, which could obviously be via your blog.
2. You have now signed into Google maps, and have displayed the area you want. The next step is to click 'My Places', but DO NOT then click the red button, instead click the link (in small print) 'Or create with classic My Maps'.

Now you can follow the 7 minute video, which also covers adding a picture to your pointer; you may find this a useful addition.

I'm going to assume that creating a short link of the style I posted earlier, from within Google maps, will be straightforward for you.

Have fun.

Halfie said...

I've had a play with Google Maps - try this: https://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?msid=200737977884331211263.0004f47bb8533f5aafddd&msa=0&ll=52.073763,-0.758812&spn=0.000188,0.000477

Davidss said...

Yes, that works for me.
It also gives a demonstration of the benefits of clicking the 'Short URL' option while creating the link :-)
http://goo.gl/maps/NdZkJ takes readers to the same view.

Reverting to the original line of your enquiry, a tunnel there doesn't fit entirely with my supposition it links the water features North and South of the canal.
In passing I note two additional points.
The water feature to the North appears to have disappeared since 1925. The 1925 and earlier 1:2,500 'old-maps' show a construction of some sort between the Northern bank of the canal and the water feature, but there is no text to indicate the purpose.
Just re-checked the maps and feel I've missed the obvious.
A Manor House is shown; how about the 'lost' water feature was a storage lake used to supply the house? The unlabelled building being a pump house, the tunnel being either a water route or a pipe route, and the remaining water features being garden ornaments, as well as additional storage?
The 1970 1:2,500 map labels the house as Great Linford Manor, and the water features as 'ponds'.
With a name to use, a quick Google brings results, with an entry in Wikipedia, and a relevant paragraph from 'theparkstrust.com'.
Water gardens

In front of the Manor the track was lined with trees leading to four descending water gardens fed by springs from a well that still flows today. Two of the ponds can still be seen and are a lovely setting for a picnic. A third was destroyed when the Grand Junction Canal (now the Grand Union) was cut through the estate, while the fourth, with its brick-built cascade, lies derelict and hidden in the trees between the canal and Railway Walk.

I think that's as much as can be reasonably expected, without approaching the Parks Trust directly.

Thanks for the distraction :-)