The Secret Tunnels of South Heighton


It is regretted that for legal reasons, explained more fully elsewhere on this site, there are no plans for further guided tours of the Secret Tunnels of South Heighton.

By way of compensation you are invited to take a Virtual Tour.


A grant from Newhaven Town Council and some valued assistance from the East Sussex Community Service Workshop enabled English Heritage to conduct a physical site assessment to determine its significance. English Heritage inspected the site in June 2000 and expressed firm recognition of the National Importance of the site having performed a vital role in the forefront of both offensive and defensive operations carried out in WWII.

These tunnels were excavated upon Glynde Estates and other private property in late 1941 under Emergency Powers Legislation for the Defence of the Realm. They were neither recorded nor registered at the time for reasons of absolute security. In accordance with English law, ownership of, and responsibility for, the tunnels became fragmented with the sale and development of the hillside c.1972 and has passed on to the freehold titles of the properties now above them. English Heritage has reportedly started to prepare a scheduling proposal. In August 2004 English Heritage commissioned a pinpoint digital mapping survey of the tunnels to enable an in-depth Land Registry search to determine current ownership of the tunnels.

A grant of 2300 awarded by the Millennium Festival Awards for All programme helped to finance the continuing research, publicity and initial administration work by the Friends. Additional grant-satisfactory funding will be needed to continue this work. Possible sources include English Heritage, Millennium Awards for All, Land Fill Tax, Local Heritage Initiative, National Lottery Charities Board and Interreg Funding.

This establishment is part of our National Heritage. It was used in anger for the Dieppe Raid, the Normandy Landings, the Liberation of France, air-sea rescue co-ordination, nightly harassment of craft in enemy-occupied harbours/waters, and maritime and Sussex coastal surveillance during Britain's darkest hours in history.


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