Tunnels that don't appear on maps are found near 12th century abbey

Mystery medieval tunnels that don’t appear on any maps are uncovered near 12th century abbey by workmen moving electricity pole

  • The team stumbled on the underground network – unseen for hundreds of years
  • The tunnel site was found near to the Tintern Abbey close to the England border
  • Engineers working for Western Power Distribution stumbled across the network
  • The firm said the four-ft tunnels were not on any previous Ordnance Survey map

Mystery medieval tunnels near a 12th century abbey were accidentally uncovered by workmen moving an electricity pole.

The team stumbled on the secret underground network unseen for hundreds of years.

The tunnel site was found near to Tintern Abbey close to the England-Wales border in Tintern, Monmouthshire by engineers working for Western Power Distribution.

The company said the four-ft high tunnels were not on any previous Ordnance Survey map but work at the site was halted so heritage chiefs could inspect.

The tunnel site was found near to Tintern Abbey close to the England-Wales border in Tintern, Monmouthshire by engineers working for Western Power Distribution

The team stumbled on the secret underground network unseen for hundreds of years

Team leader Allyn Gore said they were excavating a trench in a customer’s property when they came across the tunnels.

Mr Gore said: ‘Nothing had shown up on any of our drawings or records to indicate there was anything unusual about the site.

‘Shortly after the excavation work began, the digging team made the extraordinary discovery of what they initially thought to be a cave. Work stopped immediately.

‘I have been involved in other excavations where we have discovered old wells and cellars not shown on any plans, but nothing as exciting and impressive as this.’

The company said the four-ft high tunnels were not on any previous Ordnance Survey map but work at the site was halted so heritage chiefs could inspect

Team leader Allyn Gore said they were excavating a trench in a customer’s property when they came across the tunnels near the historic abbey (pictured)

Initial inspections suggest the tunnel runs parrallel to the Angiddy Brook flowing through the Wye Valley.

Mr Gore says experts from heritage quango Cadw – Wales’ equivilent of English Heritage – were ‘very impressed’ and ‘quite fascinated’ by his team’s discovery.

Archeologists are set to launch a full exploration of the tunnels but Mr Gore believes it ‘could take years’ before they’re able to complete their investigations.

Tintern Abbey was founded in 1131 as Wales’ first Cistercian abbey but fell into ruin in the 17th century.

The site has been famously visited by poets such as Thomas Grey, William Wordsworth, and Allen Ginsberg and painters Gainsborough, Girtin and Tuner.

The gothic-style abbey attracts around 70,000 visitors a year.

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