This weekend, I took myself over to Bath and Sustrans’ new Two Tunnels project. This new cycle path reuses two old rail tunnels from the Bath to Evercreech line of the 1870’s- the longest of which stretches for just over a mile. This tunnel is well publicised as the longest cycle tunnel in Britain, and the low light levels (to maintain the bat roosting habitat), serve to give the tunnel a rather spooky atmosphere. This is punctuated by energy efficient LED lights at regular intervals, and the occasional coloured light and sound installation playing delightful music just as the tunnel reaches its deepest and darkest points. It is mysterious, contrary to its context, and strangely soothing.
Coming out of the tunnel at the Midford end, one immediately passes Tucking Mill- home of William Smith (1769-1839)- the grandfather of geology. Smith is often overlooked, but to put this local’s contribution to science and understanding in context, people believed the world to be around 5000 years old before his hypotheses. Below is his map of 1815 showing geological formations for England and Wales, which is written about in Simon Winchester’s aptly named book The Map that Changed The World.
The cycle path investment is worth it for this connection alone, but aside from this, the area boasts a beautiful lake, a large viaduct, unique architectural follies, the Dundas Aquaduct, the Kennet and Avon Canal, and roughly a million amazing picnic sites. All within some of Britain’s most beautiful country side.
The whole thing is extraordinary, and an absolute triumph for those involved. Bravo!