Wessex Archaeology

Wessex Archaeology was commissioned by the Derbyshire Archaeological Society  to undertake an archaeological evaluation and  building survey on the former railway tunnel and line at Fritchley, Derbyshire. The aim of the fieldwork was to investigate the date and type of construction of the tunnel and railway. The tunnel was subject to laser scanning and building inspection as well as the excavation of a single trench to the south of the tunnel to investigate the presumed original line of the railway.

The building inspection and survey of the tunnel has confirmed it was constructed over two main phases, the latter phase corresponding with the railways realignment in the 1840s.

The excavation of the trench revealed a single in situ sleeper. An area of weathered natural was observed to the west of the sleeper, probably representing the path in which the horses pulling the wagons along the plateway would have walked. This suggests that the Gangroad was built as a plateway similar to Outram’s other projects. However, in the construction of the new line in the 1840’s, the majority of the stonework from the old line appears to have been removed, presumably for re-use elsewhere. Certainly the walling of the later railway line to the north contains fragments of stone sleepers and it therefore unlikely that few of the original sleepers remain in situ.

Towards the end of the project Wessex Archaeology was commissioned to use Lidar satellite information to enable a more detailed relief of the old railway to be studied. The analysis of the output from this work is ongoing but it is anticipated it will provide the first accurate gradient profile of the line and will enable a better understanding of the inaccessible areas such as the Amber Wharf and the sidings on the various tips.

When this analysis has been completed the results will be made available here.

More information on the Tunnel. 

Interior of Fritchley tunnel and sealed south portal

 More information on the Trench.

Trebch excavation south of Fritchley tunnel


Wessex - Excavation Trench 1
Discovery of In situ stone sleeper block
Wessex - Excavation Trench 2
Wessex - Excavation Tunnel 1
Excavation to uncover tunnel north portal
Wessex - Excavation Tunnel 2
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